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not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.

8. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith
unto him,

9. There is a lad here, which hath five barley-loaves, and two
small fishes : but what are they among so many ?

10. And Jesus said. Make the men sit down. Now there was
much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about
five thousand.

Both the disciples and the men did as they were bidden,
and all the rest was easy to him. If our faith do not fail
in whatever he commands us, his power will not.

11. And Jesus took the loaves ; and when he had given thanks,
be distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were
set down : and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.

VEIl, 15—27.] ST. JOHN. 413

We should give tlianks after the example of Christ, as
mueh as if every morsel was brought to us by a miracle,
as indeed it is by many. What blessings is Christ not
always ready to distribute by the mouths and hands of his
ministers, if wc were but as ready to receive them ?

12. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples. Gather
up the fragmenls that remain, that nothing he lost.

He said this, who made the loaves, and could make as
many more as he pleased. His words are suited to teach
all, economy in the midst of plenty, and to beware of
wasting any food which may satisfy the hunger of the
poor. Let none of Christ's words be lost.

13. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve
baskets with the fragments of the five barley-loaves, which re-
mained over and above unto them that had eaten.

14. Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that
Jesus did, said. This is of a truth that Prophet that should come
into the world.

Let us say this in faith, with our hearts, for our souls,
and of a truth he will be a prophet unto us.


Chap. vi. ver. 15 — 27.


15. When .Tesus diercfore perceived that they would come and
take him by force, to make him a kiug, he dcjjarted again into a
mountain himself alone.

This people knew not themselves, nor for what they
wanted Christ, and therefore they totally mistook his office
and business in the world, thinking he would appear among
them as a great temporal prince. They followed him with
nothing but the world in their hearts, and from such
persons he must depart.

414 ST. JOHN. [chap. VI.

16. And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto
the sea,

17. And entered into a ship, and went over the sea towards Ca-
pernaum : and it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them.

18. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew.

19. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty
furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto
the ship : and they were afraid.

20. But he saith unto them. It is I, be not afraid.

These last words of Christ are suited to revive the soul
which is in trouble for sin.

21. Then they willingly received him into the ship : and imme-
diately the ship was at the land whither they went.

So shall we come safe to our desired haven, whatever
storms we meet with by the way, if Christ is with us.

22. The day following, when the people which stood on the
other side of the sea, saw that there was none other boat there, save
that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went
not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone
away alone :

23 (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias, nigh unto
the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given
thanks :)

24. When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there,
neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Caper-
naum, seeking for Jesus.

25. And when they had found him on the other side of the sea,
they said unto him. Rabbi, when camest thou hither ?

26. Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you.
Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did
eat of the loaves, and were filled.

They did not enter into the true design of Christ's mi-
racles, and therefore might as well not have seen them. So
it may be that we hearing, hear not. Christ knows well
what is uppermost in our hearts. In vain do we seek, or
own him, for anything but himself, and his power in us,
turning us to God.

VER. 28 — 40.] ST. JOHN, 415

27. Labour not for the meat wliich pcrislictli, but for ibat meat
which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall
give unto }ou : for iiim hath God the Father sealed.

He does not mean, that we are not to labour at all for the
meat which perishetli, but not in the first place. He hath
meat of a better kind for us, and our great hunger must be
for that. If we live only for the body, though in never so
smooth a way, we perish.

By the miracle Christ had just wrought, and by all
others, God was confirming his mission. This was God's
sealing to him as the Messiah, and we seal with God, when
we consent to receive life from the Son of God, knowing how
much we need it. Has this time come to us, or not ?


Chap. vi. ver. 28—40.


28. Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might
work the works of God ?

If any one asks this question sincerely, and is ready to re-
ceive the answer from Christ's own mouth, he cannot pos-
sibly miss of salvation.

29. Jesus answered and said unto them. This is the work of
God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

•' This is the work of God," most pleasing to him, and
necessary to us, because it is the most important work for
our acceptance with him, and it puts us into the way of all
other holy working. " That ye believe on him whom he
hath sent." Not only as the person whom we are to hear
and obey ; but as the Lamb of God, that taketh away the
sin of the world," by the sacrifice of himself; and believing,
is effectually believing, in both respects.

41G ST. JOHN. [chap. VI.

30. They .said therefore unto him. What sign shewest thou then,
that we may see, and behave thee ? what dost thou work ?

This they ask, as if feeding five thousand persons with
five barley loaves and two fishes, was nothing. Let us not
mistake ; the world is not altered. The nature of man is
always the same, ready to cavil, backward to believe, and
hard to be convinced ; and if we never perceived this in
ourselves, we know not yet of what manner of spirit we are.

31. Our fathers did eat manna in the desert ; as it is written.
He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

32. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Moses gave you not that bread from heaven ; but my Father gi-
veth you the true bread from heaven.

The bread which Moses gave to the Israelites, was not
that which nourisheth to everlasting life. Neither Moses,
nor any other creature, angel or man, hath this to give.

33. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven,
and giveth life unto the world.

34. Then said they unto him. Lord, evermore give us this

This was a vain wish. It was a pleasing thing to hear of
the bread of life, and they could not but desire it in some
degree ; nevertheless they would not take it in the way in
which it was offered them. Let us look at ourselves.
When Christ is truly known, as great a benefit as he is,
there is enough in him to offend us.

35. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life : he that
cometh to me shall never hunger ; and he that believeth on me
shall never thirst.

He shall have a life from me which does not need to be
supported by meat and drink as our present life does, and
therefore shall have no himger and thirst for them.

36. But I said unto you. That ye also have seen me, and believe

If we put hearing in the place of seeing, the passage will

Vl'Al. 41 53.] ST. JOHN. 417

apply to US, and it is all one : and if wc believe not, our
condemnation will be the same,

37. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him
that Cometh to me I %vill in no wise cast out.

Every true believer will come to Christ ; and they are
given to Christ by the Father, because the faith that brings
them to Christ is his gift. .lesus will certainly take him to
himself who cometh to him. This word cannot fail us.
But let us remember that the reverse is true : liim that doth
not come to him, he will cast out, or reject for ever.

38. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, hut
the will of him that sent me.

39. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all
which he hath given me I should lose nothing, hut should raise it
up again at the last day.

40. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one
wliich seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting
lile : and I will raise him up at the last day.

The latter word explains tlie former. Believing on him
is seeing him, that is, with the eye of the soul, in his saving
presence, and the glory of his undertaking for sinners. The
Christian must have everlasting Hfe now ; else he cannot be
raised up to it at the last day. VVc are for ever, wliat we
are when wc lie down in our graves.


Chap. vi. vcr. 41—53.


41. The .lews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the
bread which came down from heaven.

Let us take notice that these murmurers were the very
men who said, " Lord, evermore give us this bread." If


418 ST. JOHN. [chap. VI.

they had really desired it, they would have had fewer ob-
jections to Christ.

42. And they said. Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose
father and mother we know ? how is it then that he saith, I came
down from heaven ?

43. Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not
among yourselves.

44. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent
me draw him : and I will raise him up at the last day.

The meaning is not that the Father will draw him irresis-
tibly. The words seem to have been spoken partly in re-
proof of the Jews ; as if he had said, whatever you pretend,
you have nothing of God in you ; though he would draw
you, you will not be drawn by him; you are hardened past
conviction ; and will neither hear his voice, nor yield to any
evidence, which would draw you to me. It is also a certain
truth, and here plainly asserted, that no man cometh to
Christ, except the Father draw him by his exciting, and
assisting grace.

45. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all tauglit of
God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of
the Father, cometh unto me.

They shall be all taught of God, that is, they must, as
well by inward illumination, as the outward teaching of the
Son. Every one taught of the Father, cometh to Christ,
as we may : and yet, alas ! how many will not.

46. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of
God, he hath seen the Father.

And therefore hearing, and learning of him, is hearing
and learning of the Father.

47. Verily, verily, I say unto you. He that bclieveth on me hath
everlasting life.

48. I am that bread of life.

Let us observe cai-efully, that believing on Christ, is the
same with " eating him as the bread of life," or " eating
his flesh, and drinking his blood." And as the body hath

VER. 41 03.] ST. JOHN. 419

its food, without which it must die, so it is with the soul ;
it must of all necessity be nourished with its proper food,
and that food is Christ. We may hence easily understand
what follows in this chapter. The great difficulty is to have
the true hunger and thirst for the food.

49. Your fathers did cat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

It was only food for the body. They did not get that
true life from it, which the grave cannot hold. But will
not all men be raised again ? Yes, but with this difference.,
that the wicked will be raised by the power of God, to re-
ceive their sentence of condemnation ; and believers will be
raised, by the same spirit dwelling in them, which raised
Christ from the dead. Rom. viii. 11.

50. This is tlie bread which coineth down iVoni heaven, that a
man may eat thereof, and not die.

That is, may have a never-ending life from it, though,
like all others, he must pass through the way of death to
the full enjoyment of it.

51. I am the living bread which came down from heaven : if any
man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever ; and the bread that 1
will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

By sacrificing it upon the cross for the sin of the world,
by a particular application of it to every one for the nou-
rishment of spiritual life, especially in the supper of the
Lord Jesus Christ.

52. The Jews therefore strove amongst themselves, saying, How
can this man give us his flesh to eat ?

In the way they supposed, he could not. They cavilled
at him from a mistake of their own. Christ only wants to
be understood.

53. Then Jesus said unto them. Verily, verily, I say unto you.
Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye
have no life in you.

Christ, both God and man, as sent and commissioned to
give life to poor perishing simiers, by all he did and suffer-
ed in our nature, and believed in for that end.

E E 2

420 ST. JOHiV. CHAP. VI,


Chap, vi, ver. 54—63.



54. Whoso eateth my flesh, and driuketh my blood, hath eternal
life ; and I will raise him up at the last day.

55. For mv flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

56. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth
in me, and I in him.

57. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Fa-
ther : so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.

Every one eats from the life he has, and that life is main-
tained by what he eats, relishes, and hungers for. It is
therefore of all questions the most interesting : What doth
the soul feed upon ? From whence doth it receive satisfac-
tion to its desires ? From God in Christ, or from the world,
and the flesh .''

58. This is that bread which came down from heaven : not as
your fathers did eat manna, and are dead : he that eateth of this
bread shall live for ever.

59. These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Ca-

60. Many therefore of his discijiles, when they had heard this,
said. This is an hard saying, who can hear it ?

So we say to this day, this, and that is hard : Christ's
yoke is intolerable. But he himself calls it easy. The se-
cret is, when we are in him by faith, it sits light and easy
upon us, and we have also the strength to bear it; till then
everything is hard, and if we put our necks into his yoke
one day, we take them out another.

61. When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured
at it, he said unto them. Doth this offend you P

VKll. 04 — 71.] ST. JOHN. 421

62. Wh;it and if ye shall sco the Son of man ascend up where
he was before ?

When he will have power to make good all he hath said
of our quickening by him. Or rather, he spoke this to ob-
viate their gross conceit of really, and materially, eating his
flesh. How could they eat his flesh when he was soon to
be removed out of their sight ?

63. It is the spirit that quickeneth ; the flesh profitetli nothing :
the words that I speak nnto yon, they arc spirit, and they are life.

Supposing they could and did eat it, in their mistaken
sense, it would profit them nothing. The Spirit of God
operating on the spirit of man to receive Christ for life,
here is profit; the quickening is by the souFs desire and
intention. Apply this to eating and drinking in the sacra-
ment. To receive Christ in it, there is something more to
be done, besides taking the bread and wine into our mouths.
" The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and
they are life :" that is, to be understood of spiritual life,
from spiritual eating.

The whole of this discourse, from versethetwenty-seventh,
amounts to this: Christ is to every soul, what bread, or flesh,
is to one perishing with hunger: and if we do not come
hungering and thirsting to him, as our relief, and receive
him into our hearts by faith, we die eternally.


Chap. vi. ver. 64 — 71.


64. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus
knew from the beginning, who they were that believed not, and
who should betray hiin.

Jesus knows how many of us will not believe. Do we

422 ST. JOHN. [chap. VI.

know every one for ourselves, as it is a matter of life and
death ?

65. And he said. Therefore said I unto you, That no man can
come unto me, except it were given him of my Father.

The power is offered to all, and if we do not come to him,
it is our own fault ; as, what we will not take, is in efl'ect
not given us.

66. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked
no more with him.

They left him quite ! O unhappy men ! Though we do
not truly belong to him, it is better not to turn our backs
on Mm, and his word altogether, because some time or other
he may lay hold of us.

67. Then said Jesus unto the twelve. Will ye also go away ?

Will you also forsake him, though all the world does '^
His flock is always a little one; but let not this daunt us ;
we have no choice but either to be with it, or perish with
the world.

68. Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we
go ? Thou hast the words of eternal life.

Generally, we think we may go anywhere but to Clirist.
liCt us allow our hearts to speak ; where, this moment,
does the strength of our desires carry us ? " Thou hast the
words of eternal life :" but let us take heed, that we do not
leave out repentance, faith, and newness of life, from these

69. And we believe, and are sure that thou art that Christ, the
Son of the living God.

He came into the world that we might all say this, and
saying it truly is salvation.

70. Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and
one of you is a devil ?

Christ chose Judas with the same intent and meaning as
he did the other apostles. But it was a sad thing for him.

CllAl'. VJl.J ST. JOHN. 423

as it will be for us, to choose Satan, and his service, when
we may have Christ.

71. He spake of Judas Iscaviot the son of Simon: fur he it was
that should betray him, being one of the twelve.

The forbearance of Jesus towards Judas, is calculated to
admonish us of our danger of coming short of the favour of
God at the last. May the Lord help us to put away the
sin tliat doth most easily beset us. — Edit.


Chap. vii. ver. 1 — 13.


1. After these things, Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would
not walk in Jewry, because tlie Jews sought to kill him.

2. Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand.

3. His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go
into Judica, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou

4. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he
himself seeketh to be known openly : If thou do these things, shew
thyself to the world.

They were in the common mistake of the Jews, that the
Messias would set up a worldly kingdom, to aggrandise
their nation, and free them fntm their enemies : and there-
fore, supposing he could not but have this end in view, they
wondered he did not declaie for it more openly.

5. For neither did his brethren believe in him.

An endeavour to shape Christ according to our own
wills, will, of necessity, for ever exclude belief. Neither
the brethren of Jesus, nor his nearest relations with their
worldly hearts, were nearer to belief than others.

424 ST. JOHN. [cHAr. VII.

6. Then Jesus said uiuo them. My time is nut yet come : but
your time is alway ready.

Christ's time was not yet come, of showing himself openly,
as he did afterward at his public entry into Jerusalem,
though they were in haste for it, and with a wrong view.

7. The world cannot hate you ; but me it liateth, because 1 tes-
tily of it, that the works thereof are evil.

The world cannot hate you, who are upon good terms
with it, neither knowing it, nor yourselves. " But me it
hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are
evil." This was point blank against their notion, that
Christ would be received with universal approbation by
the Jews, as their king. What is the office of Christ's
servants, but, like him, to bear their testimony against the
world ? And what will follow, if they are faithful to it .''
Here is the ground of the quarrel against them, whatever
else is pretended : and if they do not give occasion for it,
what are they .^

8. Go ye up unto this least : I go not up yet unto this feast ;
lor my time is not yet lull come.

He would not go with them, or not openly, and in the
manner they would have him, as is explained in verse the

9. When lie bad said these words unto them, be abode still in

10. But when his brethren were gone up, then went he
also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.

11. Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said. Where is

Let a person ask this question truly, and he will be sure
to find Jesus.

12. And there was much murmuring among the people con-
cerning him : for some said. He is a good man : others said. Nay ;
but he deceivetb the people.

13. Howbeit no man spake o])enly of him for fear of the

VEIL 14 — 24.] ST. JOHN. 425

So tlie truth, that is, the ministration of the gospel, is al-
ways treated ; and if Jesus himself could not please all,
let none expect to succeed better.


Chap. vii. vcr. 11- — 24.


14. Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the
temple, and taught.

This was his business in the world, and he was always
intent upon it. Happy are they who are ready to learn of

15. And the Jews marvelled, saying. How knoweth this man
letters, having never learned ?

In answer, he tells them plainly whence he had the skill
and ability to teach, and also what it was which hindered
them from learning of him.

16. Jesus answered llieui, and said, My doctrine is not iniin',
but his that sent me.

Christ tells them, that his doctrine comes directly from
God, and that it was not acquired in the ordinary "ay.

17. If any man will do his wdl, he shall know of ihe doctrine,
whether it ))e of Giod, or whether I speak of myself.

He that will do the will of God, is fitted by this dis-
position to discern, and receive the truth, and (xod will not
suffer him to be deceived. It does not follow that any
man shall know all things, or never be deceived in any-
thing ; but if we are deceived upon the whole, the fault is
in our own wills. If you are bliiitl in what concerns your
salvation, it is not for want of learning : you here know

426 ST. JOHN. [chap. VII.

from Christ where to look for tlie cause of your blind-

18. He that speaketli of liiinsell" seeketh his own glory: hut he
that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no un-
righteousness is in him.

A man who speaks for himself, shows that he speaks of
himself, and has his own ends in view in all he does. How
few can bear the test contained in the latter part of this
verse !

19. Did not Moses give you the \d\\, and yet none of 3'ou
keepeth the law ? Why go ye about to kill me ?

They had no such thoughts of themselves, as that they
were going about to kill Christ, and scorned the imputa-
tion, though it was strictly true. We have a piercing eye
upon us.

20. The people answered and said. Thou hast a devil : who
goeth about to kill thee ?

Christ had borne his testimony, that their deeds were
evil, by charging them with murder in their hearts. And
what did they do ? They reviled him horribly, and so the
matter ended. What are we the better than these Jews ?
If Christ does not bring us to self-conviction, and amend-
ment, we cannot but hate him. No doubt these men had
some form of confessing their sins to God; but, like us,
did not mean to be taken at their word. Tell one, who
calls himself a miserable sinner in his prayers, where-
in he is so, though never so charitably and respectfully,
and he will think no usage bad enough for you.

21. Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work,
and ye all marvel.

You all wonder at me for breaking the sabbath, as you

22. INIoses therefore gave luito you circumcision ; (not because
it is of Moses, but of the lathers ;) and ye on the sabbath day

Online LibraryThomas AdamAn exposition of the four Gospels (Volume 2) → online text (page 30 of 39)