Then said Jesus to the twelve, Will you also go away?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Will ye also go away?—We have to think of the disciples grouped round Him, the Twelve—now a distinct body, and so well known that St. John names them for the first time without a note—being nearer to Him than the rest, and of these the first four (see Note on Matthew 10:2) the nearest. Many go away from Him. Men He had taught, borne with in all their weakness and darkness, watched as some light seemed to dawn upon them, hoped for, prayed for, lived for, and would die for, turn back. Yes; that heart, too, can feel the bitterness of disappointment. He looks at the Twelve close to Him, and says to them, Ye also do not wish to go away? The question expects the answer it receives. There He has hope still.
Will ye also go away? - Many apostatized, and it was natural now for Jesus to submit the question to the twelve. "Will you, whom I have chosen, on whom I have bestowed the apostleship, and who have seen the evidence of my Messiahship, will you now also leave me?" This was the time to try them; and it is always a time to try real Christians when many professed disciples become cold and turn back; and then we may suppose Jesus addressing us, and saying, Will ye also go away! Observe here, it was submitted to their choice. God compels none to remain with him against their will, and the question in such trying times is submitted to every man whether he will or will not go away.
Will ye also go away?—Affecting appeal! Evidently Christ felt the desertion of Him even by those miserable men who could not abide His statements; and seeing a disturbance even of the wheat by the violence of the wind which blew away the chaff (not yet visibly showing itself, but open to His eyes of fire), He would nip it in the bud by this home question.
will ye also go away? this he said, not as ignorant of what they were, or of what they would do in this case; he knew full well their faith in him, their love to him, and esteem of him, and close attachment to him, at least in eleven of then; nor did he say this, as having any fears or jealousies concerning them, by observing any thing in their countenances or gestures, which looked like a departure from him; but it was said out of a tender regard and strong affection for them: and it is as if he should have said, as for these men that have walked with me for some time, and have now turned their backs upon me, it gives me no concern; but should you, my dear friends and companions, go also, it would give me, as man, real pain and great uneasiness: or he might say this to show, that as they were not pressed into his service, but willingly followed him, and became his disciples, being made a willing people by him, in the day of his power on them; so they willingly continued with him, and abode by him; as also to strengthen their faith in him, and cause them the more to cleave to him, with full purpose of heart, when others left him; as well as to draw out from them expressions of their regard for him, and faith in him, which end was answered.Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 6:67. This giving up of their adherence to Christ was probably manifested in an immediate and physical withdrawal from His presence. For He turned to the Twelve with the words: μὴ καὶ ὑμεῖς θέλετε ὑπάγειν; “Sciebat id non facturos,” Lampe, who adds six reasons for the question, of which the most important are: “ut confessionem illam egregiam eliceret, qua se genuinos discipulos Jesu esse mox probaturi erant”; and “ut edoceret, se nonnisi voluntarios discipulos quaerere”. Probably also that they might be confirmed in their faith by the expression of it, and that He might be gladdened.67. the twelve] The first mention of them; S. John speaks of them familiarly as a well-known body, assuming that his readers are well acquainted with the expression (see on John 6:62). This is a mark of truth: all the more so because the expression does not occur in the earlier chapters; for it is probable that down to the end of chap. 4 at any rate ‘the Twelve’ did not yet exist.
Pilate and Mary Magdalene are introduced in the same abrupt way (John 18:29, John 19:25).
Will ye also go away?] Better, Surely ye also do not wish to go away? ‘Will’ is too weak; it is not the future tense, but a separate verb, ‘to will.’ There is a similar error John 7:17 and John 8:44. Christ knows not only the unbelief of the many, but the belief and loyalty of the few.John 6:67. Τοῖς δώδεκα, to the twelve) John takes for granted their names, and the very appellation Apostles, as known from the other evangelists.—μὴ καὶ ὑμεῖς, whether will ye also) It was not far from being so. It was well that it [the decision] rested on [was confined to] this point of time. Otherwise Judas might have carried away the rest with him.—ζέλετε, will ye?) Jesus compels no man, and by this very circumstance attaches His own the more closely to Him.Verses 67-71. -
(b) The loyalty of the twelve, with a note of prophetic warning. Verse 67. - Jesus therefore said unto the twelve. He spake to them because of the wide defection from his ranks. "The twelve" have never been mentioned before in the Gospel, but this passing reference reveals acquaintance with the fact on the part of the evangelist. He assumes the historic number as perfectly explicable to his readers. The reference to the twelve baskets in ver. 13 almost presupposes that there were the same number of disciples, and this pathetic appeal is in harmony with the synoptic account of their "call." Would ye also go away? Μὴ θέκλετε suggests a negative answer, "Ye cannot wish, can you?" (Meyer). Godet says, on the contrary, "If you wish, you can!" Westcott, "The form of the question implies that such desertion is incredible, and yet to be feared" (cf. John 7:47, 52; John 18:17, 25). The question is far from identical with that query which once more the Lord put to the twelve, after many subsequent months of varied activity and critical discourse, which showed how Jesus had at length broken with the narrow literalism of Judaic privilege, On that occasion he was summing up the varied convictions produced upon the Galilaean multitudes, and he asked, "But whom say ye that I am?" Here he is simply suggesting the possibility, but yet the incredibility, of his desertion by the twelve apostles, merely because he had affirmed the spiritual aims of his entire mission, and had made an unreserved offer of his Divine humanity to their need. The pathos of this inquiry shows how serious a crisis was being enacted. It has reference in its issues rather to himself than to the twelve. The critical school see in this verse the Johannine treatment of the great apostolic confession, and Weiss here agrees with it. Even Godet thinks that two such questions with their answers, under comparatively similar conditions, are improbable. He suggests that the ἐκ τούτου (ver. 66) points to a great scattering, and that months may have elapsed before the scene which John here condenses. It is more likely that John omits the later scene, and prefers to give this, which stands closely related with the immediate circumstances (cf. also Luke 9.). The context and surrounding of the scene in Matthew 16:13-17 and Mark 8:27-29 appear to differ in place, occasion, query, and answer, and in the corresponding teaching that followed. The question was "the anticipation of Gethsemane" (Edersheim).
John assumes that the number is known. It is implied in the twelve baskets of fragments. As in so many other instances in this Gospel, facts of the synoptic narrative are taken for granted as familiar.
Will ye also go away? (μὴ καὶ ὑμεῖς θέλετε ὑπάγειν)
The interrogative particle μὴ shows that a negative answer is expected. Surely ye will not. Will ye go is not the future tense of the verb to go, but is expressed by two words, do ye will (θέλετε), to go away (ὑπάγειν). Rev., would ye. On the verb to go away, see on they went (John 6:21).
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