Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

John 6 Introduction - 6:15
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: John 6 Introduction
One of John’s major goals in writing this gospel was to reveal Jesus’ identity by selecting certain miracles (“signs”), and then showing us how they fulfilled Old Testament prophecy. John has just quoted Jesus as saying, “for the works which the Father has given Me to finish, the works which I do, witness concerning Me that the Father has sent Me” (Jn 5:36); and then later, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote of Me” (Jn 5:46) (literal). So now, in chapter six he describes two miracles which both testified that the Father sent Jesus and also remind us of miracles performed by Moses. Toward the end of his life Moses had prophesied that God would “raise up for you a Prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to Him” (Dt 18:15); and the Book of Deuteronomy closes with this statement, “Since then (Moses’ death) no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, for all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to perform… in the sight of all Israel” (Dt 34:10-12).

Monday: John 6 Introduction - v1
Intro (continued): From the time of Moses’ death onward Israel waited for that “Prophet,” for that second-Moses, but none came. Then Jesus arrived and multiplied five barley loaves and two fish until they fed what must have been a total of ten to fifteen thousand people (Mt 14:21), and John carefully recorded for us the crowd’s conclusion: “when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, ‘This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world’” (Jn 6:14). In other words, they understood that this sign, in a very specific way, revealed Jesus to be that Prophet whom Moses said would come. v1: If the feast mentioned in the last chapter (5:1) was Purim (Feb/Mar), then this miracle of feeding the multitude in chapter six would have taken place about a month later, since John tells us it was “near the Passover” (Mar/Apr) (v4). By this point in time all twelve disciples have been appointed (Mk 6:14-29; Lk 9:1-9), and Jesus has gone to the northeast corner of the Sea of Galilee, or Sea of Tiberias as it later came to be called, to rest.

Tuesday: John 6:1
v1 (continued): This is the only one of Jesus’ major miracles which is reported by all four gospels. If we add to John’s description details provided by Matthew (Mt 14:13-21), Mark (Mk 6:30-44) and Luke (Lk 9:10-17), a vivid picture of that wonderful event emerges. It took place after the twelve disciples reported to Jesus the results of their ministries when He sent them out two by two (Mt 10:1, 5; Mk 6:6-13; Lk 9:1-6). By then a dangerous political atmosphere had also developed. Herod Antipas had begun to suspect that Jesus was John the Baptist who had come back to life after being executed, and he wanted to interview Jesus (Mt 14:1-2; Mk 6:14-16; Lk 9:7-9). So in order to withdraw from the crowds and move beyond Herod’s reach, Jesus led His disciples to a remote place south of the village of Bethsaida, the hometown of Peter, Andrew, James, John and Philip.

Wednesday: John 6:1-4
vs1-4: The region east and south of Bethsaida was outside the control of Herod Antipas and away from Jewish population centers. A flat plain extends from the hills of the Golan Heights on the east to the shore of the lake. Jesus and His disciples sailed there by boat, but the people along the shore were still able to recognize them and ran ahead to meet them. By the time the boat arrived a large crowd stood waiting on the beach. When He saw the crowd Jesus felt compassion rather than frustration. He saw them as “sheep without a shepherd” (Mk 6:34). He understood that they were pursuing Him because they were hungry for God. The spiritual leaders who were supposed to care for them had failed (Eze 34:1-31). So instead of resting, Jesus began to teach many different topics and to heal those who were sick, and He continued throughout the day until late in the afternoon.

Thursday: John 6:5-7
vs5-7: Finally His disciples came to Him and said in effect, “It’s getting late and there is no place nearby for such a great crowd to purchase food. Send them away to search for food in the farms and villages in the surrounding area.” Six of the disciples had grown up in Bethsaida, so they would have been very familiar with what was available in that region. Jesus’ response shocked them. He turned to Philip and said, “They don’t need to go looking for food; you give them something to eat!” (paraphrase). This command overwhelmed them all, as He knew it would. John says He already knew the miracle He was going to do but that He said this in order to test Philip. About five thousand men were present, and that number did not include all the women and children who were there (Mt 14:21). So the total size of the multitude may have reached ten to fifteen thousand individuals. Philip replied, “How could we possibly feed all these people? It would take almost twenty thousand dollars (200 days’ wages) to purchase enough bread to give each one no more than a small portion” (paraphrase).

Friday: John 6:8-11
vs8-11: But Jesus did not change His mind. He told His disciples to go out into the crowd and ask if anyone had brought some bread along with them. They began asking, but their search turned up only five small loaves of barley bread and two small, cooked or pickled fish. Andrew discovered a very young boy who volunteered what likely had been the supper his mother sent with him. Jesus told them to bring Him the loaves and fish and then ordered the crowd to recline on the grass as if they were dining at a table. They were told to cluster in groups of fifty or one hundred. It was spring time, so the area was covered with a pleasant layer of green grass. When all were ready, Jesus took the loaves and fish, looked up to heaven and prayed a prayer of thanksgiving to God and then began to break the loaves into smaller pieces. He probably put those pieces into baskets and handed them to His disciples, so they could carry them out and place them down in front of the various groups. Then He did the same thing with the fish. The miracle itself must have occurred during the process of breaking off small pieces of bread or fish. Each loaf and each fish must have decreased in size very slowly, so slowly that baskets of bread and fish could be produced from five small loaves and two small fish. And the miracle continued long enough to allow empty baskets to be replenished until everyone had eaten as much as they wanted.

Saturday: John 6:12-15
vs12-13: With people seated in groups of fifty or one hundred, it was easy to count the size of the crowd. Then when everyone was finished eating Jesus instructed His disciples to go back to each group to collect any unused pieces of bread or fish, “so that nothing may be lost (ruined, spoiled)” (Jn 6:12). He wanted nothing to be wasted, and they were able to collect twelve baskets of leftover fragments. vs14-15: This miracle was undeniable. Everyone watched the entire process, and everyone ate bread and fish until they were full. There in a remote meadow on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee, that crowd felt like they were the ancient people of Israel eating manna in the wilderness. Jesus had fed them as miraculously as Moses had fed their ancestors, and when they realized that fact they remembered what Moses had promised, that someday God would send them a prophet as powerful as Moses himself (Dt 18:15-19). And rapidly a conclusion swept through the crowd: Jesus must be that Prophet! Surely someone as powerful as Jesus could lead them to freedom from the Romans, just as Moses had led their ancestors out of bondage in Egypt. To add to this fervor, they were about to celebrate Passover (Jn 6:4), a feast that remembered the night that God delivered them from Egypt (Ex 12:1-14, 21-28). Jesus quickly recognized what was happening. A mob-like atmosphere was beginning to stir. The crowd intended to seize Him and force Him to become their king, their new Moses. So Jesus acted quickly. First He made His disciples get into their boat which was waiting by the shore and told them to row westward, back to Capernaum. Then He addressed the crowd and told them to go home, and somehow in the confusion He slipped away unseen into the nearby hills to pray. By this time it was growing dark, and a strong wind had begun to blow in from the west. The crowd lost track of Him, but people by the beach watched to see if He might try to sail away in one of the boats which had pulled up along the shore. 

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