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John 6:2-18

Context
6:2 A large crowd was following him because they were observing the miraculous signs he was performing on the sick. 6:3 So Jesus went on up the mountainside 1  and sat down there with his disciples. 6:4 (Now the Jewish feast of the Passover 2  was near.) 3  6:5 Then Jesus, when he looked up 4  and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread so that these people may eat?” 6:6 (Now Jesus 5  said this to test him, for he knew what he was going to do.) 6  6:7 Philip replied, 7  “Two hundred silver coins worth 8  of bread would not be enough for them, for each one to get a little.” 6:8 One of Jesus’ disciples, 9  Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 6:9 “Here is a boy who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what good 10  are these for so many people?”

6:10 Jesus said, “Have 11  the people sit down.” (Now there was a lot of grass in that place.) 12  So the men 13  sat down, about five thousand in number. 6:11 Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed the bread to those who were seated. He then did the same with the fish, 14  as much as they wanted. 6:12 When they were all satisfied, Jesus 15  said to his disciples, “Gather up the broken pieces that are left over, so that nothing is wasted.” 6:13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with broken pieces from the five barley loaves 16  left over by the people who had eaten.

6:14 Now when the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus 17  performed, they began to say to one another, “This is certainly the Prophet 18  who is to come into the world.” 19  6:15 Then Jesus, because he knew they were going to come and seize him by force to make him king, withdrew again up the mountainside alone. 20 

Walking on Water

6:16 Now when evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 21  6:17 got into a boat, and started to cross the lake 22  to Capernaum. 23  (It had already become dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.) 24  6:18 By now a strong wind was blowing and the sea was getting rough.

1 sn Up on the mountainside does not necessarily refer to a particular mountain or hillside, but may simply mean “the hill country” or “the high ground,” referring to the high country east of the Sea of Galilee (known today as the Golan Heights).

2 sn Passover. According to John’s sequence of material, considerable time has elapsed since the feast of 5:1. If the feast in 5:1 was Pentecost of a.d. 31, then this feast would be the Passover of a.d. 32, just one year before Jesus’ crucifixion.

3 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

4 tn Grk “when he lifted up his eyes” (an idiom).

5 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

6 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

7 tn Grk “Philip answered him.”

8 tn Grk “two hundred denarii.” The denarius was a silver coin worth about a day’s wage for a laborer; this would be an amount worth about eight months’ pay.

9 tn Grk “one of his disciples.”

10 tn Grk “but what are these”; the word “good” is not in the Greek text, but is implied.

11 tn Grk “Make.”

12 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author (suggesting an eyewitness recollection).

13 tn Here “men” has been used in the translation because the following number, 5,000, probably included only adult males (see the parallel in Matt 14:21).

14 tn Grk “likewise also (he distributed) from the fish.”

15 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

16 sn Note that the fish mentioned previously (in John 6:9) are not emphasized here, only the five barley loaves. This is easy to understand, however, because the bread is of primary importance for the author in view of Jesus’ upcoming discourse on the Bread of Life.

17 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

18 sn The Prophet is a reference to the “prophet like Moses” of Deut 18:15, by this time an eschatological figure in popular belief.

19 sn An allusion to Deut 18:15.

20 sn Jesus, knowing that his “hour” had not yet come (and would not, in this fashion) withdrew again up the mountainside alone. The ministry of miracles in Galilee, ending with this, the multiplication of the bread (the last public miracle in Galilee recorded by John) aroused such a popular response that there was danger of an uprising. This would have given the authorities a legal excuse to arrest Jesus. The nature of Jesus’ kingship will become an issue again in the passion narrative of the Fourth Gospel (John 18:33ff.). Furthermore, the volatile reaction of the Galileans to the signs prepares for and foreshadows the misunderstanding of the miracle itself, and even the misunderstanding of Jesus’ explanation of it (John 6:22-71).

21 tn Or “sea.” The Greek word indicates a rather large body of water, but the English word “sea” normally indicates very large bodies of water, so the word “lake” in English is a closer approximation.

22 tn Or “sea.” See the note on “lake” in the previous verse.

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

24 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.



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