John 6:1-21

John 6:1-21
Ordinary B35


After this JesusI went to the other sideII of the SeaIII of Galilee,IV also called the Sea of Tiberias.V 

Notes on verse 1

I “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
II “to the other side” = peran. Related to pera (on the far side); from peiro (to pierce). This is over, beyond, the opposite side.
III “Sea” = thalassa. Perhaps from hals (sea, salt, a boy of saltwater) or halas (salt; can be figurative for prudence). This is the sea, a lake, or seashore.
IV “Galilee” = Galilaia. From Hebrew galil (cylinder, circuit, district); from galal (to roll in a literal or figurative sense, roll away, roll down, wallow, remove, trust). This is Galilee, meaning perhaps region or cylinder.
V “Tiberias” = Tiberias. 3x in NT. From Tiberios (Tiberius, as the emperor); from Latin Tiberius (Tiberius, which means from the Tiber); from Tiberis (the river Tiber); perhaps from Proto-Indo-European *teh₂- (“to flow, to melt”). This is Tiberias, a city in Galilee or another name for the Sea of Galilee. See

A largeVI crowd kept followingVII him, because they sawVIII the signsIX that he was doingX for the sick.XI 

Notes on verse 2

VI “large” = polus. This is much, often, plenteous – a large number or a great extent.
VII “kept following” = akoloutheo. From a (with, fellowship, union) + keleuthos (road, way). This is to accompany or follow someone, especially the way a disciple does.
VIII “saw” = theoreo. From theaomai (to behold, look upon, see, contemplate, visit); from thaomai (to gaze at a spectacle; to look at or contemplate as a spectator; to interpret something in efforts to grasp its significance); from theoros (a spectator or envoy). This is gazing, beholding, experiencing, discerning. It is looking at something to analyze it and concentrate on what it means. This is the root of the word “theatre” in that people concentrate on the action of the play to understand its meaning.
IX “signs” = semeion. From the same as semaino (to give a sign, signify, indicate, make known); from sema (a sign or mark). It is literally a sign of any kind. It also refers to a sign given by God to confirm or authenticate a message or prophecy. It is not necessarily miraculous, but it can be. The Gospel of John generally uses this word instead of miracle.
X “doing” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
XI “sick” = astheneo. From asthenes (not having strength or weak in a moral sense; sick); {from a (not) + sthenes (strong, vigor); {from the base of sthenoo (to strengthen so that one can be mobile); from sthenos (strength)}}. This is sick, feeble, languishing, impotent. Can also refer to moral weakness.

3 Jesus went up the mountain and sat downXII there with his disciples.XIII Now the Passover,XIV the festivalXV of the Jews,XVI was near. 

Notes on verses 3-4

XII “sat down” = kathemai. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + hemai (to sit). This is to sit, be enthroned, or reside.
XIII “disciples” = mathetes. From matheteuo (to make a disciple of); from manthano (to learn key facts, gain knowledge from experience; generally implies reflection as part of the learning process); from math– (thinking things through). This is a disciple, learner, or student. It is where we get “mathematics” from.
XIV “Passover” = Pascha. From Aramaic corresponding to Hebrew pesach (Passover or the offering for Passover); from pasach (to stop, pass over, skit over, to spare). This is Passover – used for the feast, the lamb of sacrifice, the day, and the festival itself. This is where the term “paschal” comes from as in the “paschal lamb.”
XV “festival” = heorte. This is a holiday or feast.
XVI “Jews” = Ioudaios. From Ioudas (Judah, Juadas); from Hebrew Yehudah (Judah, son of Jacob, his tribal descendants, a name for the southern kingdom. Literally, it means praised); probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Jewish, a Jew, or Judea.

When he looked upXVII and sawXVIII a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip,XIX

Notes on verse 5a

XVII “looked up” = epairoho + ophthalmos. Literally “he lifted…the eyes.” Epairo is 19x in NT. From epi (on, upon, among, what is fitting) + airo (raise, take up, lift, remove). This is to lift up or raise in a literal or figurative sense. Figuratively, it could mean to exalt oneself. Ophthalmos is from optanomai (to appear, be seen by). This is eye or sight. It is used figuratively for the mind’s eye, a vision, or for envy.
XVIII “saw” = theaomai. Related to “saw” in v2. See note VIII above.
XIX “Philip” = Philippos. From philos (dear, beloved, a friend, an associate; friendship with personal affection, a trusted confidante; love from personal experience with another person) + hippos (horse). This is Philip, meaning one who loves horses or is fond of horses.

“Where are we to buyXX breadXXI for these people to eat?”XXII He said this to testXXIII him, for he himself knewXXIV what he was going toXXV do. 

Notes on verses 5b-6

XX “buy” = agorazo. From agora (assembly, forum, marketplace, town square, thoroughfare); from ageiro (to gather). This is to go and buy something at market with a focus on goods being transferred. It can also mean to purchase or redeem.
XXI “bread” = artos. Related to “looked up” in v5. Perhaps from airo (see note XVII above). This is bread or a loaf. It is a loaf as raised.
XXII “eat” = phago. This is to eat or figuratively to consume like rust does.
XXIII “test” = peirazo. Related to “to the other side” in v1. From peira (trial, experiment, attempt, experience, assaying); from the base of peran (see note II above). This is to test, try, tempt, or make proof of. It is to test, scrutinize, or assay something. It could also be examine, entice, prove, or discipline.
XXIV “knew” = eido. This is to know, consider perceive, appreciate, behold, or remember. It means seeing with one’s eyes, but also figuratively, it means perceiving – seeing that becomes understanding. So, by implication, this means knowing or being aware.
XXV “going to” = mello. Perhaps from melo (something that one is worried or concerned about, something one pays attention to or thinks about). Properly, this is ready, about to happen, to intend, delay, or linger. This is just on the point of acting.

Philip answered him, “Six months’ wagesXXVI would not buy enoughXXVII bread for each of them to getXXVIII a little.”XXIX 

Notes on verse 7

XXVI “six months’ wages” = diakosioi + denarion. Literally “200 denarii worth.” Diakosioi is 8x in NT. From dis (twice, utterly, again); {from duo (two, both)} + hekaton (hundred).This is two hundred. Denarion is 16x in NT. From Latin deni (ten each) + arius (belonging to). This is a silver Roman coin.
XXVII “enough” = arkeo. 8x in NT. This is to be content or satisfied. It can also mean to ward off.
XXVIII “get” = lambano. It does not refer to passive receiving of something, but active acceptance or taking of something whether it is offered or simply nearby. It focuses on individual decision and action.
XXIX “little” = brachus. 7x in NT. This is little, few, a short time.

One of his disciples, Andrew,XXX SimonXXXI Peter’sXXXII brother,XXXIII said to him, 

Notes on verse 8

XXX “Andrew” = Andreas. 13x in NT. From aner (man, male, sir, husband). This is Andrew, meaning manly.
XXXI “Simon” = Simon. From Hebrew Shimon (Simon – Jacob’s son and his tribe); from shama (to hear, often implying attention and obedience). This is Simon, meaning “he who hears.”
XXXII “Peter’s” = Petros. Related to petra (large rock that is connected and or projecting like a rock, ledge, or cliff; can also be cave or stony ground). This is Peter, a stone, pebble, or boulder.
XXXIII “brother” = adelphos. From a (with, community, fellowship) + delphus (womb). This is a brother in a literal or figurative sense. It is also used of another member of the Church.

9 “There is a boyXXXIV here who has fiveXXXV barleyXXXVI loavesXXXVII and twoXXXVIII fish.XXXIX But what are they among so many people?” 

Notes on verse 9

XXXIV “boy” = paidarion. 1x in NT. Diminutive of pais (child, youth, servant, slave); perhaps from paio (to strike or sting). This is little boy or child.
XXXV “five” = pente. This is five. It may be symbolically associated with the Temple or redemption.
XXXVI “barley” = krithinos. 2x in NT – both in this passage. From krithe (barley). This is related to barley or made from barley. Barley was more commonly eaten by poor folk (wealthier people ate wheat). It was often fodder for horses.
XXXVII “loaves” = artos. Same as “bread” in v5. See note XXI above.
XXXVIII “two” = duo. Related to “six month’s wages” in v7. See note XXVI above.
XXXIX “fish” = opsarion. 5x in NT. Diminutive of opson (cooked food) OR from optos (roasted, cooked); {related to hepso (to steep)}. This is fish or little fish. It can also refer to a cooked sauce or salted fish served as a condiment.

10 Jesus said, “MakeXL the peopleXLI sit down.”XLII Now there was a great dealXLIII of grassXLIV in the place;XLV

Notes on verse 10a

XL “make” = poieo. Same as “doing” in v2. See note X above.
XLI “people” = anthropos. Related to “Andrew” in v8. Probably from aner (see note XXX above) + ops (eye, face). This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
XLII “sit down” = anapipto. 12x in NT. From ana (up, again, back, among, anew) + pipto (to fall literally or figuratively). This is to fall back, recline, lie down. One reclined at the dinner table.
XLIII “great deal” = polus. Same as “large” in v2. See note VI above.
XLIV “grass” = chortos. 15x in NT. This is food, grass, hay, wheat. It can also be a place of feeding, garden, court, or pasture.
XLV “place” = topos. This is a place or region. It is a smaller space that can only hold a limited number of people whereas chora is a larger place. Figuratively it could be an opportunity.

so they sat down,XLVI about five thousandXLVII in all. 11 Then Jesus tookXLVIII the loaves, and when he had given thanks,XLIX

Notes on verses 10b-11a

XLVI {untranslated} = ho +aner + arithmos. Literally “the men, the number.” Aner is related to “Andrew” in v8 & “people” in v10. See note XXX above. Arithmos is related to “looked up” and “bread” in v5. 18x in NT. From airo (see note XVII above). This is a number or total that has been counted to together. It is where the word “arithmetic” comes from.
XLVII “five thousand” = pentakischilioi. Related to “five” in v9. 6x in NT. From pentakis (five times); {from pente (see note XXXV above)} + chilioi (thousand literal and figurative; can mean total inclusion). This is five times one thousand or 5,000.
XLVIII “took” = lambano. Same as “get” in v7. See note XXVIII above.
XLIX “given thanks” = eucharisteo. From eu (good, well, well done, rightly) + charis (grace, kindness, favor, gratitude, thanks; being inclined to or favorable towards – leaning towards someone to share some good or benefit; literal, figurative, or spiritual; grace as abstract concept, manner, or action); {from chairo (to rejoice, be glad; used to say hello; properly, delighting in the grace of God or experiencing God’s favor); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards)}. This is giving thanks, being thankful. It is a recognition that God’s grace is good and actively showing gratitude. It can also be used for saying grace before eating. This is where “eucharist” comes from.

he distributedL them to those who were seated;LI so also the fish, as much as they wanted.LII 

Notes on verse 11b

L “distributed” = diadidomi. 4x in NT. From dia (through, because of, across, thoroughly) + didomi (give, offer, place, bestow, deliver; give in a literal or figurative sense). This is to distribute, divide, or deal out.
LI “seated” = anakeimai. 14x in NT. From ana (up, again, back, among, between, anew) + keimai (to lie, recline, be set, appointed, destined; to lie down literally or figuratively). This is to recline, particularly as one does for dinner. It can also be reclining as a corpse.
LII “wanted” = thelo. This is to wish, desire, will, or intend. It is to choose or prefer in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean inclined toward or take delight in. It can have a sense of being ready to act on the impulse in question.

12 When they were satisfied,LIII he told his disciples, “Gather upLIV the fragmentsLV left over,LVI so that nothing may be lost.”LVII 

Notes on verse 12

LIII “were satisfied” = empiplemi. Related to “large” in v2. 5x in NT. From en (in, at, by, with, among) + the same as pleistos (greatest, great in number, most); {from polus (see note VI above)}. This is to fill or satisfy in a literal or figurative sense.
LIV “gather up” = sunago. From sun (with, together with, closely associated) + ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide, go, drive). This is to lead together and so to assemble, bring together, welcome with hospitality, or entertain. In the sense of assembly, this is the root of the word “synagogue.”
LV “fragments” = klasma. 9x in NT. From klao (to break in pieces as one breaks bread). This is a fragment or broken piece.
LVI “left over” = perisseuo. From perissos (abundant, more, excessive, advantage, vehemently); from peri (all-around, encompassing, excess). This is more than what is ordinary or necessary. It is abounding, overflowing, being leftover, going above and beyond. It is super-abounding in number or quality.
LVII “be lost” = apollumi. From apo (from, away from) + ollumi (to destroy or ruin; the loss that comes from a major ruination). This is to destroy, cut off, to perish – perhaps violently. It can also mean to cancel or remove.

13 So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten,LVIII they filledLIX twelveLX baskets.LXI 

Notes on verse 13

LVIII “eaten” = bibrosko. 1x in NT. Related to bora (food) OR perhaps from bosko (to feed or pasture a flock; figuratively, to nourish spiritually). This is to eat.
LIX “filled” = gemizo. 8x in NT. From gemo (to be full, swell, at capacity, actions taken to fulfill a goal). This is to fill up or load, be swamped as a boat with water.
LX “twelve” = dodeka. Related to “six months’ wages” in v7 & “two” in v9. From duo (see note XXVI above) + deka (ten). This is two and ten, which is to say twelve.
LXI “baskets” = kophinos. 6x in NT. This is a basket made of wicker.

14 When the people sawLXII the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeedLXIII the prophetLXIV who is to come into the world.”LXV

Notes on verse 14

LXII “saw” = horao. To see, perceive, attend to, look upon, experience. Properly, to stare at and so implying clear discernment. This, by extension, would indicate attending to what was seen and learned. This is to see, often with a metaphorical sense. Can include inward spiritual seeing.
LXIII “indeed” = alethos. 18x in NT. From alethes (true, unconcealed; true because it is in concert with fact and reality – attested. Literally, what cannot be hidden; truth stands up to test and scrutiny and is undeniable, authentic); from a (not) + lanthano (concealed, hidden, unnoticed; to shut one’s eyes to, unwittingly, unawares). This is truly, really, surely, truthfully, indeed. Properly, this is saying “in accordance with fact…” – what one is about to say can be proven and is true to reality.
LXIV “prophet” = prophetes. From pro (before, in front of, earlier than) + phemi (to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view); {from phao (to shine) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear)}. This is a prophet or poet – one who speaks with inspiration from God.
LXV “world” = kosmos. Perhaps from the base of komizo (to carry, convey, recover); from komeo (to take care of). This is order, the world, the universe, including its inhabitants. Literally, this is something that is ordered so it can refer to all creation. It can also refer to decoration in the sense that something is better ordered and, thus, made more beautiful. This is where “cosmos” and “cosmetics” come from.

15 When Jesus realizedLXVI that they were about toLXVII come and take him by forceLXVIII to make him king,LXIX he withdrewLXX again to the mountain by himself.

Notes on verse 15

LXVI “realized” = ginosko. This is to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn. It is knowledge gained through personal experience.
LXVII “were about to” = mello. Same as “going to” in v6. See note XXV above.
LXVIII “take…by force” = harpazo. 14x in NT. Perhaps from haireomai (to choose, take); probably related to airo (raise, take up, lift, remove). This is to grab with force, seize, pluck, get through robbery, snatch up. This is taking something openly and violently – not subtly or in secret.
LXIX “king” = basileus. Probably from basis (step, hence foot; a pace); from baino (to walk, to go). This is king, emperor, or sovereign.
LXX “withdrew” = anachoreo. 14x in NT. From ana (up, again, back, among, anew) + choreo (to make space, receive, have room for, progress, depart so as to make room; figuratively, living open-heartedly); {from choros (a particular space or place); from chora (space, land, region, fields, open area); from chasma (gap, gulf, chasm, open space); from chasko (to gape, yawn)}.  This is to withdraw, depart, retire, or leave. It can give a sense of seeking safety from harm or of retiring.

16 When eveningLXXI came,LXXII his disciples went downLXXIII to the sea, 

Notes on verse 16

LXXI “evening” = opsios. 15x in NT. From opse (after, late, in the end, in the evening); from opiso (back, behind, after); from the same as opisthen (after, back, from the rear); probably from opis (back). This is afternoon, evening, nightfall, or late.
LXXII “came” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.
LXXIII “went down” = katabaino. Related to “king” in v15. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + baino (see note LXIX above). This is to come down whether from the sky to the ground or from higher ground to lower. It can be used in a literal or figurative sense.

17 gotLXXIV into a boat,LXXV and started acrossLXXVI the sea to Capernaum.LXXVII

Notes on verse 17a

LXXIV “got” = embaino. Related to “king” in v15 & “went down” in v16. 17x in NT. From en (in, at, by, with, among) + baino (see note LXIX above). This is to walk on, embark, enter a ship.
LXXV “boat” = ploion. From pleo (to sail, voyage); probably from pluno (to plunge – so to wash); from pluo (to flow). This is a boat, ship, or vessel.
LXXVI “across” = peran. Same as “to the other side” in v1. See note II above.
LXXVII “Capernaum” = Kapernaoum. 16x in NT. From Hebrew kaphar (village with walls); {from the same as kephir (a young lion, village); from kaphar (to appease, cover, pacify, cancel)} + Nachum (Nahum, “comfortable”); {from nacham (a strong breath or sigh; to be sorry, to pity, console, comfort, or repent; also to comfort oneself with thoughts of vengeance)}. This is Capernaum, meaning “Nahum’s village.”

It wasLXXVIII now dark,LXXIX and Jesus had not yet come to them. 18 The sea became roughLXXX because a strongLXXXI windLXXXII was blowing.LXXXIII 

Notes on verses 17b-18

LXXVIII “was” = ginomai. Same as “came” in v16. See note LXXII above.
LXXIX “dark” = skotia. 16x in NT. From skotos (darkness literal or figurative – as moral or spiritual darkness, sin and what comes from it; obscurity); from skia (shadow, thick darkness, outline; figurative for a spiritual situation that is good or bad). This is darkness or dimness. Figuratively, it can be a spiritual darkness. This is obscurity in a literal or figurative sense.
LXXX “became rough” = diegeiro. Related to “buy” in v5. 6x in NT.  From dia (through, for the sake of, across, thoroughly) + egeiro (o awake, raise up or lift up; to get up from sitting or lying down, to get up from sleeping, to rise from a disease or from death; figuratively, rising from inactivity or from ruins); {from ageiro (see note XX above)}. This is to wake up completely, awake, stir up, arouse – literal or figurative.
LXXXI “strong” = megas. This is big in a literal or figurative sense – great, large, exceeding, abundant, high, mighty, perfect, strong, etc.
LXXXII “wind” = anemos. From aer (air that we breathe); from aemi (to breathe or blow). This is wind or a gust of air. It can also be used figuratively for empty doctrines.
LXXXIII “blowing” = pneo. 7x in NT. This is to breathe or to blow as a breeze.

19 When they had rowedLXXXIV about three or four miles,LXXXV they sawLXXXVI Jesus walkingLXXXVII on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified.LXXXVIII 

Notes on verse 19

LXXXIV “rowed” = elauno. 5x in NT. This is to propel or carry – to drive forward with oars or like the wind does. It can also refer to being driven by a demon.
LXXXV “three or four miles” = stadion + eikosi + pente + e+ triakonta. Literally “stadia, 25 or 30.” Stadion is 7x in NT. From the same as histemi (to stand, place, establish, appoint, stand ready, be steadfast). This is a stadium, which was a unit of length. By implication, this would refer to a racing track for a foot race. Eikosi is 11x in NT. This is twenty. Pente is the same as “five” in v9. See note XXXV above. Triakonta is 11x in NT. From treis (three). This is thirty or hole.
LXXXVI “saw” = theoreo. Same as “saw” in v2. See note VIII above.
LXXXVII “walking” = peripateo. Related to “boy” in v9. From peri (about, concerning, around, encompassing) + pateo (to read, trample on; to trample literally or figuratively); {from patos (trodden) OR from paio (see note XXXIV above)}. This is to walk. Going from Hebrew figurative language, to walk referred to how you conducted your life, how you chose to live. This word is most literally walking around. Figuratively, it is living, behaving, following, how you occupy yourself. This is where “peripatetic” comes from.
LXXXVIII “were terrified” = phobeo. From phobos (panic flight, fear, fear being caused, terror, alarm, that which causes fear, reverence, respect); from phebomai (to flee, withdraw, be put to flight). This is also to put to flight, terrify, frighten, dread, reverence, to withdraw or avoid. It is sometimes used in a positive sense to mean the fear of the Lord, echoing Old Testament language. More commonly, it is fear of following God’s path. This is where the word phobia comes from.

20 But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”LXXXIX 21 Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediatelyXC the boat reachedXCI the landXCII toward which they were going.XCIII

Notes on verses 20-21

LXXXIX “be…afraid” = phobeo. Same as “were terrified” in v19. See note LXXXVIII above.
XC “immediately” = eutheos. From euthus (immediately, upright, straight and not crooked); {perhaps from eu (good, well, well done, rightly) + tithemi (to place, lay, set, establish)}. This is directly, soon, at once.
XCI “reached” = ginomai. Same as “came” in v16. See note LXXII above.
XCII “land” = ge. This is earth, land, soil, region, country, the inhabitants of an area.
XCIII “going” = hupago. Related to “gather up” in v12. From hupo (by, under, under the authority of) + ago (see note LIV above). This is to lead under so to depart, go away, or die. It is to lead away under the command of someone else, being given a mission or objective to carry out.

Image credit: “Loaves and FIshes” by John August Swanson, 2003.

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