Gospel of John – Tidbits from Chapter 6

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Passover/Exodus parallels in John 6:
John 6:4 tells us the Passover was near. The events that follow are the feeding of the 5000, Jesus walking on water, and then questions about mana and eating Jesus body.

If you remember back to the book of Exodus the order of events went something like this:

  • Passover meal
  • Crossing the Red Sea
  • Mana in the wilderness
  • Entering the Promised Land

John 6 parallels that very well:

  • Jesus feeds 5000 people bread (6:1-15)
  • Jesus walks on water (6:16-24)
  • The people ask him for something like mana (6:25-31 more on that in a minute). Jesus tells them he is the mana from heaven (6:32-33)
  • No promised land/heaven mention but Jesus continues to talk about having life.

Joshua 5:10-12 tells us the last time mana came from heaven was the day after passover. The Jews believed when the Messiah came mana would come at Passover again. Another parallel with exodus and the wilderness journey is in 6:41. “At this the Jews there began to grumble about him…” This is the same word in the LXX used in the wilderness wanderings when the people complained over and over in Exodus and Numbers.

Temptation of Christ Parallels in John 6:
Some, including Raymond Brown, have noted many parallels between John 6 and both the Temptation of Christ as well as the Last Supper as neither are told in the Gospel of John. I am not sure where I read it but someone astutely pointed out the parallels from John 6:15-7:3 and the temptation of Christ:

  1. Temptation 1 in Matthew 4:3 – Lust of the flesh. Turn this stone into bread. John 6:30-31 the people ask him to create mana for them.
  2. Temptation 2 in Matthew 4:6 – Pride of life. Throw yourself down and angels will rescue you. John 7:3 – his brothers tell him to go to Judea so people can “see the works you do”
  3. Temptation 3 in Matthew 4:9 – Lust of the eyes. All the kingdoms of the world if he will bow and worship Satan. John 6:15 – they are going to make him king by force.

Jesus resists them all and instead continues to point people to God rather than take pride in himself. This is a very biblical list of types of sin. It is echoed in 1 John 2:16 and even in Genesis 3:6):

  • Fruit was good for food – Lust of the flesh
  • Pleasing to the eye – Lust of the eyes
  • Desirable for gaining wisdom – Pride of life

Last Supper in John 6:
There are many eucharistic elements in this chapter. This is seen especially in 6:11, “Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted.” And again in the Bread of Life Discourse where Jesus tells them they must “eat the flesh of the Son of Man and rink his blood” (6:54).

I am’s in John 6:
Walking on the water Jesus tells them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” This literally says, “I am.” The next is in 6:35 – “I am the bread of life.” This also goes back to Exodus in 3:14. Another similar statement is made in 6:27, “On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Many including N.T. Wright have pointed out the authority that comes with something that is sealed. Jesus has the authority of the Father because the Father has sealed him. In addition to that a seal in wax is the mirror reflection of the seal itself. Jesus represents to us the Father, God in the flesh.

0 Responses

  1. I don’t know if you’re familiar with them or not, but there’s a (old) set of commentaries simply called “The Pulpit Commentaries.” I don’t use them much, but when studying “I Am the Bread of Life” I had a chance to read through the exegesis on John 6. The authors detail several of your points, including Jesus authority as given by the Father. If you can read it, I’d start with the last few verses of John 5 where Jesus begins the discourse on the power of His words and His ability to give life.

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