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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 6

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1 SOME time later Jesus withdrew to the farther shore of the sea of Galilee (or Tiberias), 2and a large crowd of people followed him because they had seen the signs he performed in healing the sick. 3Jesus went up the hillside and sat down with his disciples. 4It was near the time of Passover, the great Jewish festival. 5Looking up and seeing a large crowd coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread to feed these people?’ 6He said this to test him; Jesus himself knew what he meant to do. 7Philip replied, ‘We would need two hundred denarii a 6:7 denarii: see p. xxvii. to buy enough bread for each of them to have a little.’ 8One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, 9‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what is that among so many?’ 10Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass there, so the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 11Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to the people as they sat there. He did the same with the fish, and they had as much as they wanted. 12When everyone had had enough, he said to his disciples, ‘Gather up the pieces left over, so that nothing is wasted.’ 13They gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves that were left uneaten.

14When the people saw the sign Jesus had performed, the word went round, ‘Surely this must be the Prophet who was to come into the world.’ 15Jesus, realizing that they meant to come and seize him to proclaim him king, withdrew again to the hills by himself.

16At nightfall his disciples went down to the sea, 17and set off by boat to cross to Capernaum. Though darkness had fallen, Jesus had not yet joined them; 18a strong wind was blowing and the sea grew rough. 19When they had rowed about three or four miles they saw Jesus walking on the sea and approaching the boat. They were terrified, 20but he called out, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ 21With that they were ready to take him on board, and immediately the boat reached the land they were making for.

22 NEXT morning the crowd was still on the opposite shore. They had seen only one boat there, and Jesus, they knew, had not embarked with his disciples, who had set off by themselves. 23 b 6:23 Some witnesses omit over which the Lord gave thanks. Boats from Tiberias, however, had come ashore near the place where the people had eaten the bread over which the Lord gave thanks. 24When the crowd saw that Jesus had gone as well as his disciples, they went on board these boats and made for Capernaum in search of him. 25They found him on the other side. ‘Rabbi,’ they asked, ‘when did you come here?’ 26Jesus replied, ‘In very truth I tell you, it is not because you saw signs that you came looking for me, but because you ate the bread and your hunger was satisfied. 27You should work, not for this perishable food, but for the food that lasts, the food of eternal life.

‘This food the Son of Man will give you, for on him God the Father has set the seal of his authority.’ 28‘Then what must we do’, they asked him, ‘if our work is to be the work of God?’ 29Jesus replied, ‘This is the work that God requires: to believe in the one whom he has sent.’

30They asked, ‘What sign can you give us, so that we may see it and believe you? What is the work you are doing? 31Our ancestors had manna to eat in the desert; as scripture says, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” ’ 32Jesus answered, ‘In very truth I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33The bread that God gives comes down from heaven and brings life to the world.’ 34‘Sir,’ they said to him, ‘give us this bread now and always.’ 35Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36But you, as I said, have seen c 6:36 you…have seen: some witnesses add me. and yet you do not believe. 37All that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never turn away. 38I have come down from heaven, to do not my own will, but the will of him who sent me. 39It is his will that I should not lose even one of those he has given me, but should raise them all up on the last day. 40For it is my Father's will that everyone who sees the Son and has faith in him should have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.’

41At this the Jews began to grumble because he said, ‘I am the bread which came down from heaven.’ 42They said, ‘Surely this is Jesus, Joseph's son! We know his father and mother. How can he say, “I have come down from heaven”?’ 43‘Stop complaining among yourselves,’ Jesus told them. 44‘No one can come to me unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45It is written in the prophets: “They will all be taught by God.” Everyone who has listened to the Father and learned from him comes to me.

46‘I do not mean that anyone has seen the Father; he who has come from God has seen the Father, and he alone. 47In very truth I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48I am the bread of life. 49Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, yet they are dead. 50I am speaking of the bread that comes down from heaven; whoever eats it will never die. 51I am the living bread that has come down from heaven; if anyone eats this bread, he will live for ever. The bread which I shall give is my own flesh, given for the life of the world.’

52This led to a fierce dispute among the Jews. ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ they protested. 53Jesus answered them, ‘In very truth I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood you can have no life in you. 54Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55My flesh is real food; my blood is real drink. 56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood dwells in me and I in him. 57As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58This is the bread which came down from heaven; it is not like the bread which our fathers ate; they are dead, but whoever eats this bread will live for ever.’

59 JESUS said these things in the synagogue as he taught in Capernaum. 60On hearing them, many of his disciples exclaimed, ‘This is more than we can stand! How can anyone listen to such talk?’ 61Jesus was aware that his disciples were grumbling about it and asked them, ‘Does this shock you? 62Then what if you see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh can achieve nothing; the words I have spoken to you are both spirit and life. 64Yet there are some of you who have no faith.’ For Jesus knew from the outset who were without faith and who was to betray him. 65So he said, ‘This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it has been granted to him by the Father.’

66From that moment many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. 67So Jesus asked the Twelve, ‘Do you also want to leave?’ 68Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? Your words are words of eternal life. 69We believe and know that you are God's Holy One.’ 70Jesus answered, ‘Have I not chosen the twelve of you? Yet one of you is a devil.’ 71He meant Judas son of Simon Iscariot. It was he who would betray him, and he was one of the Twelve.


a 6:7 denarii: see p. xxvii.

b 6:23 Some witnesses omit over which the Lord gave thanks.

c 6:36 you…have seen: some witnesses add me.

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