John 6:35-59

John 6:35-59
Narrative Lectionary 426


35 JesusA said to them, “I am the breadB of life.C

Notes on verse 35a

A “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.
B “bread” = artos. Perhaps from airo (raise, take up, lift, remove). This is bread or a loaf. It is a loaf as raised.
C “life” = zoe. From zao (to live, be alive). This is life including the vitality of humans, plants, and animals – it is life physical and spiritual and life everlasting.

Whoever comesD to me will never be hungry,E and whoever believesF in me will never be thirsty.G 36 But I said to you that you have seenH me and yet do not believe. 

Notes on verses 35b-36

D “comes” = erchomai. This is to come or go.
E “be hungry” = peinao. From peina (hunger); related to penomai (working for a living; laborer, poor person; to work for daily bread); from peno (to toil to survive day by day). This is to hunger, be needy, or desire earnestly. It can be being famished in a definitive sense or in comparison to someone or something else. Figuratively, this means to crave.
F “believes” = pisteuo. From pistis (faith, faithfulness, belief, trust, confidence; to be persuaded or come to trust); from peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is to believe, entrust, have faith it, affirm, have confidence in. This is less to do with a series of beliefs or doctrines that one believes and more to do with faithfulness, loyalty, and fidelity. It is trusting and then acting based on that trust.
G “be thirsty” = dipsao. 16x in NT. From dipsa (thirst); from dipsos (thirst). This is thirst in a literal or figurative sense. Can also mean keenly desire.
H “seen” = 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.

37 EverythingI that the FatherJ givesK me will comeL to me, and anyone who comesM to me I will never drive away;N 

Notes on verse 37

I “everything” = pas. This is all or every.
J “Father” = Pater. This is father in a literal or figurative sense. Could be elder, senior, ancestor, originator, or patriarch.
K “gives” = didomi. To give, offer, place, bestow, deliver. This is give in a literal or figurative sense.
L “come” = heko. This is to come or arrive as at a final destination or goal. It can also mean being present in a literal or figurative sense.
M “comes” = erchomai. Same as “comes” in v35. See note D above.
N “drive away” = ekballo. From ek (from, from out of) + ballo (to throw, cast, place, put, drop). This is to throw, put out, produce, expel, banish. It is eject in a literal or figurative sense.

38 for I have come downO from heaven,P not to doQ my own will,R but the will of him who sentS me. 

Notes on verse 38

O “come down” = katabaino. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + baino (to walk, go). 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.
P “heaven” = ouranos. May be related to oros (mountain, hill) with the notion of height. This is the air, the sky, the atmosphere, and heaven. It is the sky that is visible and the spiritual heaven where God dwells. Heaven implies happiness, power, and eternity.
Q “do” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
R “will” = thelema. From thelo (to desire, wise, will, intend). This is the act of will, choice, purpose, or decree.
S “sent” = pempo. This is to send, put forth, or dispatch. This often refers to a temporary errand. It is sending someone with a focus on the place they departed from. By contrast, another Greek word, hiemi, emphasizes the destination and yet another word, stello, focuses on the motion that goes with the sending.

39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should loseT nothing of allU that he has given me, but raise it upV on the lastW day.X 

Notes on verse 39

T “lose” = 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.
U “all” = pas. Same as “everything” in v37. See note I above.
V “raise…up” = anistemi. From ana (upwards, up, again, back, anew) + histemi (to make to stand, place, set up, establish, appoint, stand by, stand still, stand ready, stand firm, be steadfast). This is to raise up, rise, appear. It is to stand up literally or figuratively. Can also mean to resurrect.
W “last” = eschatos. Related to eschaton (end, last); perhaps from echo (to have, possess, hold). This is last, end, extreme, final. It is often used to discuss the end times, prophecies of the future, and the afterlife. The branch of theology focusing on all these topics is called “eschatology.”
X “day” = hemera. Perhaps from hemai (to sit). This is day, time, or daybreak.

40 This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who seeY the SonZ and believe in him may haveAA eternalBB life; and I will raise them up on the last day.”

Notes on verse 40

Y “see” = 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.
Z “Son” = Huios. This is son, descendant – a son whether natural born or adopted. It can be used figuratively for other forms of kinship.
AA “have” = echo. Related to “last” in v39. See note W above.
BB “eternal” = aionios. From aion (an age, length of time). This is age-long, forever, everlasting. Properly, that which lasts for an age. This is where eon comes from.

41 Then the JewsCC began to complainDD about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph,EE whose father and motherFF we know?GG How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 

Notes on verses 41-42

CC “Jews” = Ioudaios. From Ioudas (Judah, Judas); 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.
DD “complain” = gogguzo. 8x in NT. This is to murmur or grumble. It is an onomatopoeia to sound similar to the cooing of doves. Figuratively, it is simmering displeasure that is muffled – a dull, constant murmuring.
EE “Joseph” = Ioseph. From Hebrew Yoseph (he increases; Joseph); from yasaph (to add, increase, continue, exceed). This is Joseph, meaning “he increases.”
FF “mother” = meter. This is mother in a literal or figurative sense.        
GG “know” = 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.

43 Jesus answered them, “Do not complain among yourselves. 44 No one canHH comeII to me unless drawnJJ by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. 

Notes on verses 43-44

HH “can” = dunamai. This is to be able, or something that is possible. It can also be empowered or being powerful. The Greek word for “miracle” (dunamis) comes from this root.
II “come” = erchomai. Same as “comes” in v35. See note D above.
JJ “drawn” = helko. Related to “bread” in v35. 8x in NT. Perhaps from haireomai (to take, choose, or prefer) {probably related to airo (see note B above)}. This is to pull in or draw in. It can be drag in a literal or figurative sense. This places an emphasis on the power of the attraction.

45 It is writtenKK in the prophets,LL ‘And they shall all be taughtMM by God.’NN

Notes on verse 45a

KK “written” = grapho. This is to write or describe. It is where the word “graphic” comes from.
LL “prophets” = 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.
MM “taught” = didaktos. 3x in NT. From didasko (to teach, direct, instruct, or impart knowledge; in the New Testament, almost always used for teaching scripture); from dao (to learn). This is taught or instructed.
NN “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

EveryoneOO who has heardPP and learnedQQ from the Father comesRR to me. 46 Not that anyone has seenSS the Father except the one who is from God; he has seenTT the Father. 47 Very truly,UU I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 

Notes on verses 45b-48

OO “everyone” = pas. Same as “everything” in v37. See note I above.
PP “heard” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.
QQ “learned” = manthano. This is to learn, ascertain, understand. It is knowledge that one gets from personal experience and it implies reflecting on that experience. It can also focus on gaining knowledge by learning facts. This root is where the Greek word for disciple comes from (mathetes).
RR “comes” = erchomai. Same as “comes” in v35. See note D above.
SS “seen” = horao. Same as “seen” in v36. See note H above.
TT “seen” = horao. Same as “seen” in v36. See note H above.
UU “very truly” = amen + amen. From Hebrew amen (verily, truly, amen, truth, so be it, faithfulness); from aman (to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid). This word is literally firmness, but figuratively fidelity, faithfulness, honesty, responsibility, trust, truth, steadfastness. Properly, it is to be sure, certain, or firm. This is a word of emphasis indicating that something crucial follows.

49 Your ancestorsVV ateWW the mannaXX in the wilderness,YY and they died.ZZ 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 

Notes on verses 49-50

VV “ancestors” = pater. Same as “Father” in v37. See note J above.
WW “ate” = phago. This is to eat or figuratively to consume like rust does.
XX “manna” = manna. 4x in NT. From Hebrew man (manna, literally a whatzit); from mah (what, how, how long, why – a question or exclamation). This is manna, the miracle food from the wilderness wandering.
YY “wilderness” = eremos. Properly, a place that is not settled or farmed, not populated. It could be a deserted area or a desert place. It could be seen as secluded, solitary, or lonesome. Any kind of vegetation is sparse, but so are people generally.
ZZ “died” = apothnesko. From apo (from, away from) + thnesko (to die, be dead). This is to die off. It is death with an emphasis on the way that death separates. It can also mean to wither or decay.

51 I am the livingAAA bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever;BBB and the bread that I will give for the life of the worldCCC is my flesh.”DDD

Notes on verse 51

AAA “living” = zao. Related to “life” in v35. See note C above.
BBB “forever” = eis + ho + aion. Literally, “to the age.” Aion is related to “eternal” in v40. See note BB above.
CCC “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.
DDD “flesh” = sarx. May be from saroo (to sweep, cleanse by sweeping); from sairo (to brush off). This is flesh, the body, human nature, materiality, kindred. Flesh is not always evil in scripture (as when it refers to Jesus taking on a human body). However, it is generally used in a negative way for actions made selfishly and not through faith. This can mean animal flesh, i.e. meat, or refer to body in contrast to soul/spirit. Flesh can be a way of talking about how things or people are related or talking about human frailty (physical or moral).

52 The Jews then disputedEEE among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 

53 So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of ManFFF and drinkGGG his blood,HHH you have no life in you. 

Notes on verses 52-53

EEE “disputed” = machomai. 4x in NT. This is to fight, strive, dispute, quarrel, to war.
FFF “Man” = anthropos. Related to “seen” in v36. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (see note H above)}. This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
GGG “drink” = pino. This is to drink, literally or figuratively.
HHH “blood” = haima. This is blood in a literal sense as bloodshed. Figuratively, it can also be used to refer to wine or to kinship (being related).

54 Those who eatIII my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55 for my flesh is trueJJJ foodKKK and my blood is true drink.LLL 

Notes on verses 54-55

III “eat” = trogo. 6x in NT. This is gnaw, crunch, eat, eat a meal.
JJJ “true” = alethes. From a (not) + lanthano (concealed, hidden, unnoticed; to shut one’s eyes to, unwittingly, unawares). This is 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.
KKK “food” = brosis. 11x in NT. From bibrosko (to eat). This is food and the act of eating. It is eating in a literal or figurative sense.
LLL “drink” = posis. Related to “drink” in v53. 3x in NT. From pino (see note GGG above). This is a drink, whether the action of taking a drink or the drink itself.

56 Those who eatMMM my flesh and drink my blood abideNNN in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sentOOO me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eatsPPP me will live because of me. 

Notes on verses 56-57

MMM “eat” = trogo. Same as “eat” in v54. See note III above.
NNN “abide” = meno. This is to stay, remain, wait, await, continue, abide, endure. It can mean to literally stay in a place or to remain in a condition or to continue with hope and expectation.
OOO “sent” = apostello. Related to “raise…up” in v39. From apo (from, away from) + stello (to send, set, arrange, prepare, gather up); {probably from histemi (see note V above)}. This is to send forth, send away, dismiss, send as a messenger. It implies one that is sent for a particular mission or purpose rather than a quick errand. This is where “apostle” comes from.
PPP “eats” = trogo. Same as “eat” in v54. See note III above.

58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate,QQQ and they died. But the one who eatsRRR this bread will live forever.” 59 He said these things while he was teachingSSS in the synagogueTTT at Capernaum.UUU

Notes on verses 58-59

QQQ “ate” = phago. Same as “ate” in v49. See note WW above.
RRR “eats” = trogo. Same as “eat” in v54. See note III above.
SSS “teaching” = didasko. Related to “taught” in v45. See note MM above.
TTT “synagogue” = sunagoge. From sun (with, together with, closely associated) + ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide, go, drive). Literally, this is a bringing together, a place of assembly. The term can be used for the people or for the place where they assemble. It is also sometimes used of Christian churches in the New Testament. So, this is synagogue, assembly, congregation, or church. This is where the word “synagogue” comes from.
UUU “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.”

Image credit: “Challah” by Three Points Kitchen, 2011.

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