John follows Jesus' speech (5:19-47) with further disclosure of Jesus as the one who can give and take life; he is the life-giver and the judge. Jesus has said that Moses "wrote about me" (5:46), and now we learn how this is the case. Under Moses' leadership Israel escaped through the Red Sea, traveled through the wilderness and miraculously received food there. These stories are now echoed in Jesus' miraculous feeding of the five thousand (6:1-15) and his rescue of his disciples as he walks to them on the sea (6:16-21). These miracles clearly reveal Jesus as sovereign over the forces of nature. But in his teaching that follows and the controversy it arouses, we discover that he is not merely one who works miracles within the realm of nature, nor merely a leader of God's people like Moses, but the source of eternal life itself (6:22-59). He fulfills the role of Moses and utterly transcends it.
The revelation at this point, however, is too difficult to accept even for most of Jesus' disciples (6:60-71). This gracious revealing is itself a test of hearts and thus a judgment. Jesus tests Philip (6:6), and then, as we see the reaction to his teaching and the events leading up to it, we find that the crowd and the disciples are all being put to the test. As God tested his people in the wilderness, so here the Son of God tests hearts. As with Israel, many grumble and fail, yet Jesus does find some who are receptive enough to pass the test.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
Upgrade to remove banner ads and unlock new features!
For the best Bible Gateway experience, consider an upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus. For less than the cost of a latte each month, you'll get reduced banner ads and a huge digital Bible study library. Try it free for 30 days!