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John 6:31-59

Context
6:31 Our ancestors 1  ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 2 

6:32 Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the solemn truth, 3  it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but my Father is giving you the true bread from heaven. 6:33 For the bread of God is the one who 4  comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 6:34 So they said to him, “Sir, 5  give us this bread all the time!”

6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty. 6  6:36 But I told you 7  that you have seen me 8  and still do not believe. 6:37 Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never send away. 9  6:38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. 6:39 Now this is the will of the one who sent me – that I should not lose one person of every one he has given me, but raise them all up 10  at the last day. 6:40 For this is the will of my Father – for everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him to have eternal life, and I will raise him up 11  at the last day.” 12 

6:41 Then the Jews who were hostile to Jesus 13  began complaining about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven,” 6:42 and they said, “Isn’t this Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 6:43 Jesus replied, 14  “Do not complain about me to one another. 15  6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, 16  and I will raise him up at the last day. 6:45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ 17  Everyone who hears and learns from the Father 18  comes to me. 6:46 (Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God – he 19  has seen the Father.) 20  6:47 I tell you the solemn truth, 21  the one who believes 22  has eternal life. 23  6:48 I am the bread of life. 24  6:49 Your ancestors 25  ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 6:50 This 26  is the bread that has come down from heaven, so that a person 27  may eat from it and not die. 6:51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats from this bread he will live forever. The bread 28  that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

6:52 Then the Jews who were hostile to Jesus 29  began to argue with one another, 30  “How can this man 31  give us his flesh to eat?” 6:53 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the solemn truth, 32  unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, 33  you have no life 34  in yourselves. 6:54 The one who eats 35  my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 36  6:55 For my flesh is true 37  food, and my blood is true 38  drink. 6:56 The one who eats 39  my flesh and drinks my blood resides in me, and I in him. 40  6:57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so the one who consumes 41  me will live because of me. 6:58 This 42  is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the bread your ancestors 43  ate, but then later died. 44  The one who eats 45  this bread will live forever.”

Many Followers Depart

6:59 Jesus 46  said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue 47  in Capernaum. 48 

1 tn Or “forefathers”; Grk “fathers.”

2 sn A quotation from Ps 78:24 (referring to the events of Exod 16:4-36).

3 tn Grk “Truly, truly, I say to you.”

4 tn Or “he who.”

5 tn Or “Lord.” The Greek κύριος (kurios) means both “Sir” and “Lord.” In this passage it is not at all clear at this point that the crowd is acknowledging Jesus as Lord. More likely this is simply a form of polite address (“sir”).

6 tn Grk “the one who believes in me will not possibly thirst, ever.”

sn The one who believes in me will never be thirsty. Note the parallelism between “coming to Jesus” in the first part of v. 35 and “believing in Jesus” in the second part of v. 35. For the author of the Gospel of John these terms are virtually equivalent, both referring to a positive response to Jesus (see John 3:17-21).

7 tn Grk “But I said to you.”

8 tc A few witnesses lack με (me, “me”; א A a b e q sys,c), while the rest of the tradition has the word (Ì66,75vid rell). It is possible that the mss that lack the pronoun preserve the original wording here, with the rest of the witnesses adding the pronoun for clarity’s sake. This likelihood increases since the object is not required in Greek. Without it, however, ambiguity increases: The referent could be “me” or it could be “signs,” reaching back to vv. 26 and 30. However, the oblique form of ἐγώ (egw, the first person personal pronoun) occurs some two dozen times in this chapter alone, yet it vacillates between the emphatic form and the unemphatic form. Although generally the unemphatic form is used with verbs, there are several exceptions to this in John (cf. 8:12; 12:26, 45, 48; 13:20; 14:9). If the pronoun is a later addition here, one wonders why it is so consistently the unemphatic form in the mss. Further, that two unrelated Greek witnesses lack this small word could easily be due to accidental deletion. Finally, the date and diversity of the witnesses for the pronoun are so weighty that it is likely to be authentic and should thus be retained in the text.

9 tn Or “drive away”; Grk “cast out.”

10 tn Or “resurrect them all,” or “make them all live again”; Grk “raise it up.” The word “all” is supplied to bring out the collective nature of the neuter singular pronoun αὐτό (auto) in Greek. The plural pronoun “them” is used rather than neuter singular “it” because this is clearer in English, which does not use neuter collective singulars in the same way Greek does.

11 tn Or “resurrect him,” or “make him live again.”

12 sn Notice that here the result (having eternal life and being raised up at the last day) is produced by looking on the Son and believing in him. Compare John 6:54 where the same result is produced by eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood. This suggests that the phrase in 6:54 (eats my flesh and drinks my blood) is to be understood in terms of the phrase here (looks on the Son and believes in him).

13 tn Grk “Then the Jews.” In NT usage the term ᾿Ιουδαῖοι (Ioudaioi) may refer to the entire Jewish people, the residents of Jerusalem and surrounding territory, the authorities in Jerusalem, or merely those who were hostile to Jesus. (For further information see R. G. Bratcher, “‘The Jews’ in the Gospel of John,” BT 26 [1975]: 401-9.) Here the translation restricts the phrase to those Jews who were hostile to Jesus (cf. BDAG 479 s.v. ᾿Ιουδαῖος 2.e.β), since the “crowd” mentioned in 6:22-24 was almost all Jewish (as suggested by their addressing Jesus as “Rabbi” (6:25). Likewise, the designation “Judeans” does not fit here because the location is Galilee rather than Judea.

14 tn Grk “answered and said to them.”

15 tn Or “Do not grumble among yourselves.” The words “about me” are supplied to clarify the translation “complain to one another” (otherwise the Jewish opponents could be understood to be complaining about one another, rather than complaining to one another about Jesus).

16 tn Or “attracts him,” or “pulls him.” The word is used of pulling or dragging, often by force. It is even used once of magnetic attraction (A. Oepke, TDNT 2:503).

sn The Father who sent me draws him. The author never specifically explains what this “drawing” consists of. It is evidently some kind of attraction; whether it is binding and irresistible or not is not mentioned. But there does seem to be a parallel with 6:65, where Jesus says that no one is able to come to him unless the Father has allowed it. This apparently parallels the use of Isaiah by John to reflect the spiritual blindness of the Jewish leaders (see the quotations from Isaiah in John 9:41 and 12:39-40).

17 sn A quotation from Isa 54:13.

18 tn Or “listens to the Father and learns.”

19 tn Grk “this one.”

20 sn This is best taken as a parenthetical note by the author. Although some would attribute these words to Jesus himself, the switch from first person in Jesus’ preceding and following remarks to third person in v. 46 suggests that the author has added a clarifying comment here.

21 tn Grk “Truly, truly, I say to you.”

22 tc Most witnesses (A C2 D Ψ Ë1,13 33 Ï lat and other versions) have “in me” (εἰς ἐμέ, eis eme) here, while the Sinaitic and Curetonian Syriac versions read “in God.” These clarifying readings are predictable variants, being motivated by the scribal tendency toward greater explicitness. That the earliest and best witnesses (Ì66,75vid א B C* L T W Θ 892 pc) lack any object is solid testimony to the shorter text’s authenticity.

23 tn Compare John 6:40.

24 tn That is, “the bread that produces (eternal) life.”

25 tn Or “forefathers”; Grk “fathers.”

26 tn Or “Here.”

27 tn Grk “someone” (τις, tis).

28 tn Grk “And the bread.”

29 tn Grk “Then the Jews began to argue.” Here the translation restricts the phrase to those Jews who were hostile to Jesus (cf. BDAG 479 s.v. ᾿Ιουδαῖος 2.e.β), since the “crowd” mentioned in 6:22-24 was almost all Jewish (as suggested by their addressing Jesus as “Rabbi” (6:25). See also the note on the phrase “the Jews who were hostile to Jesus” in v. 41.

30 tn Grk “with one another, saying.”

31 tn Grk “this one,” “this person.”

32 tn Grk “Truly, truly, I say to you.”

33 sn Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood. These words are at the heart of the discourse on the Bread of Life, and have created great misunderstanding among interpreters. Anyone who is inclined toward a sacramental viewpoint will almost certainly want to take these words as a reference to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, or the Eucharist, because of the reference to eating and drinking. But this does not automatically follow: By anyone’s definition there must be a symbolic element to the eating which Jesus speaks of in the discourse, and once this is admitted, it is better to understand it here, as in the previous references in the passage, to a personal receiving of (or appropriation of) Christ and his work.

34 tn That is, “no eternal life” (as opposed to physical life).

35 tn Or “who chews”; Grk ὁ τρώγων (Jo trwgwn). The alternation between ἐσθίω (esqiw, “eat,” v. 53) and τρώγω (trwgw, “eats,” vv. 54, 56, 58; “consumes,” v. 57) may simply reflect a preference for one form over the other on the author’s part, rather than an attempt to express a slightly more graphic meaning. If there is a difference, however, the word used here (τρώγω) is the more graphic and vivid of the two (“gnaw” or “chew”).

36 sn Notice that here the result (has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day) is produced by eating (Jesus’) flesh and drinking his blood. Compare John 6:40 where the same result is produced by “looking on the Son and believing in him.” This suggests that the phrase here (eats my flesh and drinks my blood) is to be understood by the phrase in 6:40 (looks on the Son and believes in him).

37 tn Or “real.”

38 tn Or “real.”

39 tn Or “who chews.” On the alternation between ἐσθίω (esqiw, “eat,” v. 53) and τρώγω (trwgw, “eats,” vv. 54, 56, 58; “consumes,” v. 57) see the note on “eats” in v. 54.

40 sn Resides in me, and I in him. Note how in John 6:54 eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood produces eternal life and the promise of resurrection at the last day. Here the same process of eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood leads to a relationship of mutual indwelling (resides in me, and I in him). This suggests strongly that for the author (and for Jesus) the concepts of ‘possessing eternal life’ and of ‘residing in Jesus’ are virtually interchangeable.

41 tn Or “who chews”; Grk “who eats.” Here the translation “consumes” is more appropriate than simply “eats,” because it is the internalization of Jesus by the individual that is in view. On the alternation between ἐσθίω (esqiw, “eat,” v. 53) and τρώγω (trwgw, “eats,” vv. 54, 56, 58; “consumes,” v. 57) see the note on “eats” in v. 54.

42 tn Or “This one.”

43 tn Or “forefathers”; Grk “fathers.”

44 tn Grk “This is the bread that came down from heaven, not just like your ancestors ate and died.” The cryptic Greek expression has been filled out in the translation for clarity.

45 tn Or “who chews.” On the alternation between ἐσθίω (esqiw, “eat,” v. 53) and τρώγω (trwgw, “eats,” vv. 54, 56, 58; “consumes,” v. 57) see the note on “eats” in v. 54.

46 tn Grk “He”; the referent (Jesus) is specified in the translation for clarity.

47 sn A synagogue was a place for Jewish prayer and worship, with recognized leadership (cf. Luke 8:41). Though the origin of the synagogue is not entirely clear, it seems to have arisen in the postexilic community during the intertestamental period. A town could establish a synagogue if there were at least ten men. In normative Judaism of the NT period, the OT scripture was read and discussed in the synagogue by the men who were present (see the Mishnah, m. Megillah 3-4; m. Berakhot 2).

48 map For location see Map1 D2; Map2 C3; Map3 B2.



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