James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.John 5:1-6:71
THIRD VISIT TO JUDEA
This visit like the second was occasioned by the Passover, and a year later (John 5:6). What miracle was wrought on this occasion (5:2-9)? With what effect on the unbelieving Jews (John 5:10-16)? How does Jesus justify such labor on the Sabbath day (John 5:17)? On what two-fold ground did His enemies seek to kill Him (John 5:18)? The latter of these grounds, because he said “God was His Father,” is deeply important. The Revised Version translates it because “He also called God His Own Father.” The Jews understood Him to declare God to be His Father in a sense in which He was not the Father of other men. This is why they said He made “Himself equal with God.” The importance of this is seen in that it contains a direct claim on Jesus’ part to be equal with God, i.e., a claim of absolute Deity.
The Jews so regarded His words, and Jesus took no pains to correct that impression, on the contrary, His words that follow are an argument, to prove that He was God. Almost all the verses down to John 5:31 prove this, but especially John 5:23. This discourse concludes with a supplementary one on the Four Witnesses (John 5:32-47). We have here cited by Jesus Himself, the witness of John the Baptist (John 5:32-35), the witness of His own marvelous works (John 5:36), and the witness of the Father (John 5:37-38), and the witness of the Holy Scriptures (John 5:39), but how vain so far as moving the wills of His unbelieving countrymen was concerned (John 5:40)!
Leaving Judea again, where do we next find Jesus (John 6:1-3)? What miracle is associated therewith (John 6:5-13)? This is one of the few miracles found in the other gospels which is also recorded by John, and for the reason doubtless of leading up to the discourse on the Living Bread. What effect had this miracle on those who saw it (John 6:14)? What did they propose to do with Jesus in consequence of their opinion (John 6:15)? What did the knowledge of their purpose lead Jesus to do? What bearing has His action on the incident in John 18:10-11 and His words before Pilate in the same chapter, John 5:36? To what place did Jesus depart? What miracle took place during the night (John 6:16-21)? Where next do we find Jesus (John 6:22-24)? It is at this point the discourse is given to which reference has been made, and which is one of those which give the gospel its distinctively spiritual character. Where was this discourse given (John 6:59)? How does it seem to have been received by the people generally (John 6:41; John 6:52)? How by the disciples (John 6:60; John 6:66)? What foreshadowing of His death does He reveal (John 6:66-71)? Why did He confine His ministry to Galilee just now (7:1)?
The importance of these two chapters grow on one as establishing the Deity of Christ, and the vital character of the work for man which he came into the world to do. As illustrating the latter, consider especially verses 37-40 in the discourse on the Living Bread: (1) the Father gives His chosen ones to the Son; (2) the Son receives all such; (3) the reason for His so doing is His devotion to His Father’s will; (4)’His will is that He lose none of those the Father gives Him; and (5) the means by which this choice of the Father becomes operative in individual cases is faith, “believing on” the Son.
Another way to treat this chapter is to divide it into four parts designated by the attitude of the multitude toward our Lord:
1. Discussion (four dialogues) (John 6:25-40); 2. Dissatisfaction, (John 6:41-51); 3. Dissension (John 6:52-59); and 4. Defection; (John 6:60-66).
1. What occasioned this visit to Judea?
2. State the circumstance under which Jesus claimed equality with God.
3. What four witnesses does He produce to substantiate his claim?
4. What distinction is accorded the miracle of the loaves and fishes?
5. Analyze John 6:37-40.
6. Analyze the chapter as a whole.