6 After this, Jesus crossed over the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias. 2-5 And a huge crowd, many of them pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem for the annual Passover celebration, were following him wherever he went, to watch him heal the sick. So when Jesus went up into the hills and sat down with his disciples around him, he soon saw a great multitude of people climbing the hill, looking for him.
Turning to Philip he asked, “Philip, where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” 6 (He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do.)
7 Philip replied, “It would take a fortune[a] to begin to do it!”
8-9 Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. “There’s a youngster here with five barley loaves and a couple of fish! But what good is that with all this mob?”
10 “Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus ordered. And all of them—the approximate count of the men only was five thousand—sat down on the grassy slopes. 11 Then Jesus took the loaves and gave thanks to God and passed them out to the people. Afterwards he did the same with the fish. And everyone ate until full!
12 “Now gather the scraps,” Jesus told his disciples, “so that nothing is wasted.” 13 And twelve baskets were filled with the leftovers!
14 When the people realized what a great miracle had happened, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!”
15 Jesus saw that they were ready to take him by force and make him their king, so he went higher into the mountains alone.
16 That evening his disciples went down to the shore to wait for him. 17 But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn’t come back, they got into the boat and headed out across the lake toward Capernaum. 18-19 But soon a gale swept down upon them as they rowed, and the sea grew very rough. They were three or four miles out when suddenly they saw Jesus walking toward the boat! They were terrified, 20 but he called out to them and told them not to be afraid. 21 Then they were willing to let him in, and immediately the boat was where they were going![b]
22-23 The next morning, back across the lake, crowds began gathering on the shore waiting to see Jesus.[c] For they knew that he and his disciples had come over together and that the disciples had gone off in their boat, leaving him behind. Several small boats from Tiberias were nearby, 24 so when the people saw that Jesus wasn’t there, nor his disciples, they got into the boats and went across to Capernaum to look for him.
25 When they arrived and found him, they said, “Sir, how did you get here?” 26 Jesus replied, “The truth of the matter is that you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you believe in me. 27 But you shouldn’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. No, spend your energy seeking the eternal life that I, the Messiah,[d] can give you. For God the Father has sent me for this very purpose.”
28 They replied, “What should we do to satisfy God?”
29 Jesus told them, “This is the will of God, that you believe in the one he has sent.”
30-31 They replied, “You must show us more miracles if you want us to believe you are the Messiah. Give us free bread every day, like our fathers had while they journeyed through the wilderness! As the Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven.’”
32 Jesus said, “Moses didn’t give it to them. My Father did.[e] And now he offers you true Bread from heaven. 33 The true Bread is a Person—the one sent by God from heaven, and he gives life to the world.”
34 “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day of our lives!”
35 Jesus replied, “I am the Bread of Life. No one coming to me will ever be hungry again. Those believing in me will never thirst. 36 But the trouble is, as I have told you before, you haven’t believed even though you have seen me. 37 But some will come to me—those the Father has given me—and I will never, never reject them. 38 For I have come here from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to have my own way. 39 And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them to eternal life at the Last Day. 40 For it is my Father’s will that everyone who sees his Son and believes on him should have eternal life—that I should raise him at the Last Day.”
41 Then the Jews began to murmur against him because he claimed to be the Bread from heaven.
42 “What?” they exclaimed. “Why, he is merely Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know. What is this he is saying, that he came down from heaven?”
43 But Jesus replied, “Don’t murmur among yourselves about my saying that. 44 For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him to me, and at the Last Day I will cause all such to rise again from the dead. 45 As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They shall all be taught of God.’ Those the Father speaks to, who learn the truth from him, will be attracted to me. 46 (Not that anyone actually sees the Father, for only I have seen him.)
47 “How earnestly I tell you this—anyone who believes in me already has eternal life! 48-51 Yes, I am the Bread of Life! When your fathers in the wilderness ate bread from the skies, they all died. But the Bread from heaven gives eternal life to everyone who eats it. I am that Living Bread that came down out of heaven. Anyone eating this Bread shall live forever; this Bread is my flesh given to redeem humanity.”
52 Then the Jews began arguing with each other about what he meant. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” they asked.
53 So Jesus said it again, “With all the earnestness I possess I tell you this: Unless you eat the flesh of the Messiah* and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. 54 But anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him at the Last Day. 55 For my flesh is the true food, and my blood is the true drink. 56 Everyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood is in me, and I in him. 57 I live by the power of the living Father who sent me, and in the same way those who partake of me shall live because of me! 58 I am the true Bread from heaven; and anyone who eats this Bread shall live forever, and not die as your fathers did—though they ate bread from heaven.” 59 (He preached this sermon in the synagogue in Capernaum.)
60 Even his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. Who can tell what he means?”
61 Jesus knew within himself that his disciples were complaining and said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what will you think if you see me, the Messiah,[f] return to heaven again? 63 Only the Holy Spirit gives eternal life.[g] Those born only once, with physical birth,* will never receive this gift. But now I have told you how to get this true spiritual life. 64 But some of you don’t believe me.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who didn’t believe and knew the one who would betray him.)
65 And he remarked, “That is what I meant when I said that no one can come to me unless the Father attracts him to me.”
66 At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.
67 Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you going too?”
68 Simon Peter replied, “Master, to whom shall we go? You alone have the words that give eternal life, 69 and we believe them and know you are the holy Son of God.”
70 Then Jesus said, “I chose the twelve of you, and one is a devil.” 71 He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would betray him.
- John 6:7 a fortune, literally, “200 denarii,” a denarius being a full day’s wage.
- John 6:21 immediately the boat was where they were going, literally, “straightway the boat was at the land.”
- John 6:22 waiting to see Jesus, implied.
- John 6:27 the Messiah, literally, “the Son of Man.” So also in v. 53.
- John 6:32 My Father did, implied.
- John 6:62 the Messiah, literally, “the Son of Man.”
- John 6:63 Only the Holy Spirit gives eternal life, literally, “It is the Spirit who quickens.” with physical birth, literally, “the flesh profits nothing”; see 1:13.