6
The Feeding of the Five Thousand
1 After this#tn Again, μετὰ ταῦτα (meta tauta) is a vague temporal reference. How Jesus got from Jerusalem to Galilee is not explained, which has led many scholars (e.g., Bernard, Bultmann, and Schnackenburg) to posit either editorial redaction or some sort of rearrangement or dislocation of material (such as reversing the order of chaps. 5 and 6, for example). Such a rearrangement of the material would give a simple and consistent connection of events, but in the absence of all external evidence it does not seem to be supportable. R. E. Brown (John [AB], 1:236) says that such an arrangement is attractive in some ways but not compelling, and that no rearrangement can solve all the geographical and chronological problems in John. Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (also called the Sea of Tiberias).#sn This is a parenthetical note by the author. Only John in the New Testament refers to the Sea of Galilee by the name Sea of Tiberias (see also John 21:1), but this is correct local usage. In the mid-20’s Herod completed the building of the town of Tiberias on the southwestern shore of the lake; after this time the name came into use for the lake itself. 2 A large crowd was following him because they were observing the miraculous signs he was performing on the sick. 3 So Jesus went on up the mountainside#sn Up on the mountainside does not necessarily refer to a particular mountain or hillside, but may simply mean “the hill country” or “the high ground,” referring to the high country east of the Sea of Galilee (known today as the Golan Heights). and sat down there with his disciples. 4 (Now the Jewish feast of the Passover#sn Passover. According to John’s sequence of material, considerable time has elapsed since the feast of 5:1. If the feast in 5:1 was Pentecost of a.d. 31, then this feast would be the Passover of a.d. 32, just one year before Jesus’ crucifixion. was near.)#sn This is a parenthetical note by the author. 5 Then Jesus, when he looked up#tn Grk “when he lifted up his eyes” (an idiom). and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread so that these people may eat?” 6 (Now Jesus#tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. said this to test him, for he knew what he was going to do.)#sn This is a parenthetical note by the author. 7 Philip replied,#tn Grk “Philip answered him.” “Two hundred silver coins worth#tn Grk “two hundred denarii.” The denarius was a silver coin worth about a day’s wage for a laborer; this would be an amount worth about eight months’ pay. of bread would not be enough for them, for each one to get a little.” 8 One of Jesus’ disciples,#tn Grk “one of his disciples.” Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 “Here is a boy who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what good#tn Grk “but what are these”; the word “good” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. are these for so many people?”
10 Jesus said, “Have#tn Grk “Make.” the people sit down.” (Now there was a lot of grass in that place.)#sn This is a parenthetical note by the author (suggesting an eyewitness recollection). So the men#tn Here “men” has been used in the translation because the following number, 5,000, probably included only adult males (see the parallel in Matt 14:21). sat down, about five thousand in number. 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed the bread to those who were seated. He then did the same with the fish,#tn Grk “likewise also (he distributed) from the fish.” as much as they wanted. 12 When they were all satisfied, Jesus#tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. said to his disciples, “Gather up the broken pieces that are left over, so that nothing is wasted.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with broken pieces from the five barley loaves#sn Note that the fish mentioned previously (in John 6:9) are not emphasized here, only the five barley loaves. This is easy to understand, however, because the bread is of primary importance for the author in view of Jesus’ upcoming discourse on the Bread of Life. left over by the people who had eaten.
14 Now when the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus#tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. performed, they began to say to one another, “This is certainly the Prophet#sn The Prophet is a reference to the “prophet like Moses” of Deut 18:15, by this time an eschatological figure in popular belief. who is to come into the world.”#sn An allusion to Deut 18:15. 15 Then Jesus, because he knew they were going to come and seize him by force to make him king, withdrew again up the mountainside alone.#sn Jesus, knowing that his “hour” had not yet come (and would not, in this fashion) withdrew again up the mountainside alone. The ministry of miracles in Galilee, ending with this, the multiplication of the bread (the last public miracle in Galilee recorded by John) aroused such a popular response that there was danger of an uprising. This would have given the authorities a legal excuse to arrest Jesus. The nature of Jesus’ kingship will become an issue again in the passion narrative of the Fourth Gospel (John 18:33ff.). Furthermore, the volatile reaction of the Galileans to the signs prepares for and foreshadows the misunderstanding of the miracle itself, and even the misunderstanding of Jesus’ explanation of it (John 6:22-71).
Walking on Water
16 Now when evening came, his disciples went down to the lake,#tn Or “sea.” The Greek word indicates a rather large body of water, but the English word “sea” normally indicates very large bodies of water, so the word “lake” in English is a closer approximation. 17 got into a boat, and started to cross the lake#tn Or “sea.” See the note on “lake” in the previous verse. to Capernaum.#map For location see Map1-D2; Map2-C3; Map3-B2. (It had already become dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.)#sn This is a parenthetical note by the author. 18 By now a strong wind was blowing and the sea was getting rough. 19 Then, when they had rowed about three or four miles,#tn Grk “about twenty-five or thirty stades” (a stade as a unit of linear measure is about 607 feet or 187 meters).sn About three or four miles. The Sea of Galilee was at its widest point 7 mi (11.6 km) by 12 mi (20 km). So at this point the disciples were in about the middle of the lake. they caught sight of Jesus walking on the lake,#tn Or “sea.” See the note on “lake” in v. 16. John uses the phrase ἐπί (epi, “on”) followed by the genitive (as in Mark, instead of Matthew’s ἐπί followed by the accusative) to describe Jesus walking “on the lake.” approaching the boat, and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” 21 Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat came to the land where they had been heading.
22 The next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the lake#tn Or “sea.” See the note on “lake” in v. 16. realized that only one small boat#tc Most witnesses have after “one” the phrase “which his disciples had entered” (ἐκεῖνο εἰς ὃ ἐνέβησαν οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ, ekeino ei" }o enebhsan Joi maqhtai autou) although there are several permutations of this clause ([א* D] Θ [Ë13 33] Ï [sa]). The witnesses that lack this expression are, however, significant and diffused (Ì75 א2 A B L N W Ψ 1 565 579 1241 al lat). The clarifying nature of the longer reading, the multiple variants from it, and the weighty testimony for the shorter reading all argue against the authenticity of the longer text in any of its variations.tn Grk “one”; the referent (a small boat) has been specified in the translation for clarity. had been there, and that Jesus had not boarded#tn Grk “entered.” it with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. 23 But some boats from Tiberias#map For location see Map1-E2; Map2-C2; Map3-C3; Map4-D1; Map5-G4. came to shore#tn Or “boats from Tiberias landed”; Grk “came.” near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks.#tc D 091 a e sys,c lack the phrase “after the Lord had given thanks” (εὐχαριστήσαντος τοῦ κυρίου, eucaristhsanto" tou kuriou), while almost all the rest of the witnesses ({Ì75 א A B L W Θ Ψ 0141 [Ë1] Ë13 33 Ï as well as several versions and fathers}) have the words (though {l672 l950 syp pbo} read ᾿Ιησοῦ [Ihsou, “Jesus”] instead of κυρίου). Although the shorter reading has minimal support, it is significant that this Gospel speaks of Jesus as Lord in the evangelist’s narrative descriptions only in 11:2; 20:18, 20; 21:12; and possibly 4:1 (but see tc note on “Jesus” there). There is thus but one undisputed preresurrection text in which the narrator calls Jesus “Lord.” This fact can be utilized on behalf of either reading: The participial phrase could be seen as a scribal addition harking back to 6:11 but which does not fit Johannine style, or it could be viewed as truly authentic and in line with what John indisputably does elsewhere even if rarely. On balance, in light of the overwhelming support for these words it is probably best to retain them in the text. 24 So when the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats#tn Or “embarked in the boats.” and came to Capernaum#map For location see Map1-D2; Map2-C3; Map3-B2. looking for Jesus.
Jesus’ Discourse About the Bread of Life
25 When they found him on the other side of the lake,#tn Or “sea.” See the note on “lake” in v. 16. they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”#sn John 6:25-31. The previous miracle of the multiplication of the bread had taken place near the town of Tiberias (cf. John 6:23). Jesus’ disciples set sail for Capernaum (6:17) and were joined by the Lord in the middle of the sea. The next day boats from Tiberias picked up a few of those who had seen the multiplication (certainly not the whole 5,000) and brought them to Capernaum. It was to this group that Jesus spoke in 6:26-27. But there were also people from Capernaum who had gathered to see Jesus, who had not witnessed the multiplication, and it was this group that asked Jesus for a miraculous sign like the manna (6:30-31). This would have seemed superfluous if it were the same crowd that had already seen the multiplication of the bread. But some from Capernaum had heard about it and wanted to see a similar miracle repeated. 26 Jesus replied,#tn Grk “answered and said to them.” “I tell you the solemn truth,#tn Grk “Truly, truly, I say to you.” you are looking for me not because you saw miraculous signs, but because you ate all the loaves of bread you wanted.#tn Grk “because you ate of the loaves of bread and were filled.” 27 Do not work for the food that disappears,#tn Or “perishes” (this might refer to spoiling, but is more focused on the temporary nature of this kind of food).sn Do not work for the food that disappears. Note the wordplay on “work” here. This does not imply “working” for salvation, since the “work” is later explained (in John 6:29) as “to believe in the one whom he (the Father) sent.” but for the food that remains to eternal life – the food#tn The referent (the food) has been specified for clarity by repeating the word “food” from the previous clause. which the Son of Man will give to you. For God the Father has put his seal of approval on him.”#tn Grk “on this one.”
28 So then they said to him, “What must we do to accomplish the deeds#tn Grk “the works.” God requires?”#tn Grk “What must we do to work the works of God?” 29 Jesus replied,#tn Grk “answered and said to them.” “This is the deed#tn Grk “the work.” God requires#tn Grk “This is the work of God.” – to believe in the one whom he#tn Grk “that one” (i.e., God). sent.” 30 So they said to him, “Then what miraculous sign will you perform, so that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors#tn Or “forefathers”; Grk “fathers.” ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”#sn A quotation from Ps 78:24 (referring to the events of Exod 16:4-36).
32 Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the solemn truth,#tn Grk “Truly, truly, I say to you.” it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but my Father is giving you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the one who#tn Or “he who.” comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 So they said to him, “Sir,#tn Or “Lord.” The Greek κύριος (kurios) means both “Sir” and “Lord.” In this passage it is not at all clear at this point that the crowd is acknowledging Jesus as Lord. More likely this is simply a form of polite address (“sir”). give us this bread all the time!”
35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty.#tn Grk “the one who believes in me will not possibly thirst, ever.”sn The one who believes in me will never be thirsty. Note the parallelism between “coming to Jesus” in the first part of v. 35 and “believing in Jesus” in the second part of v. 35. For the author of the Gospel of John these terms are virtually equivalent, both referring to a positive response to Jesus (see John 3:17-21). 36 But I told you#tn Grk “But I said to you.” that you have seen me#tc A few witnesses lack με (me, “me”; א A a b e q sys,c), while the rest of the tradition has the word (Ì66,75vid rell). It is possible that the mss that lack the pronoun preserve the original wording here, with the rest of the witnesses adding the pronoun for clarity’s sake. This likelihood increases since the object is not required in Greek. Without it, however, ambiguity increases: The referent could be “me” or it could be “signs,” reaching back to vv. 26 and 30. However, the oblique form of ἐγώ (egw, the first person personal pronoun) occurs some two dozen times in this chapter alone, yet it vacillates between the emphatic form and the unemphatic form. Although generally the unemphatic form is used with verbs, there are several exceptions to this in John (cf. 8:12; 12:26, 45, 48; 13:20; 14:9). If the pronoun is a later addition here, one wonders why it is so consistently the unemphatic form in the mss. Further, that two unrelated Greek witnesses lack this small word could easily be due to accidental deletion. Finally, the date and diversity of the witnesses for the pronoun are so weighty that it is likely to be authentic and should thus be retained in the text. and still do not believe. 37 Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never send away.#tn Or “drive away”; Grk “cast out.” 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. 39 Now this is the will of the one who sent me – that I should not lose one person of every one he has given me, but raise them all up#tn Or “resurrect them all,” or “make them all live again”; Grk “raise it up.” The word “all” is supplied to bring out the collective nature of the neuter singular pronoun αὐτό (auto) in Greek. The plural pronoun “them” is used rather than neuter singular “it” because this is clearer in English, which does not use neuter collective singulars in the same way Greek does. at the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father – for everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him to have eternal life, and I will raise him up#tn Or “resurrect him,” or “make him live again.” at the last day.”#sn Notice that here the result (having eternal life and being raised up at the last day) is produced by looking on the Son and believing in him. Compare John 6:54 where the same result is produced by eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood. This suggests that the phrase in 6:54 (eats my flesh and drinks my blood) is to be understood in terms of the phrase here (looks on the Son and believes in him).
41 Then the Jews who were hostile to Jesus#tn Grk “Then the Jews.” In NT usage the term ᾿Ιουδαῖοι (Ioudaioi) may refer to the entire Jewish people, the residents of Jerusalem and surrounding territory, the authorities in Jerusalem, or merely those who were hostile to Jesus. (For further information see R. G. Bratcher, “‘The Jews’ in the Gospel of John,” BT 26 [1975]: 401-9.) Here the translation restricts the phrase to those Jews who were hostile to Jesus (cf. BDAG 479 s.v. ᾿Ιουδαῖος 2.e.β), since the “crowd” mentioned in 6:22-24 was almost all Jewish (as suggested by their addressing Jesus as “Rabbi” (6:25). Likewise, the designation “Judeans” does not fit here because the location is Galilee rather than Judea. began complaining about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven,” 42 and they said, “Isn’t this Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus replied,#tn Grk “answered and said to them.” “Do not complain about me to one another.#tn Or “Do not grumble among yourselves.” The words “about me” are supplied to clarify the translation “complain to one another” (otherwise the Jewish opponents could be understood to be complaining about one another, rather than complaining to one another about Jesus). 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him,#tn Or “attracts him,” or “pulls him.” The word is used of pulling or dragging, often by force. It is even used once of magnetic attraction (A. Oepke, TDNT 2:503).sn The Father who sent me draws him. The author never specifically explains what this “drawing” consists of. It is evidently some kind of attraction; whether it is binding and irresistible or not is not mentioned. But there does seem to be a parallel with 6:65, where Jesus says that no one is able to come to him unless the Father has allowed it. This apparently parallels the use of Isaiah by John to reflect the spiritual blindness of the Jewish leaders (see the quotations from Isaiah in John 9:41 and 12:39-40). and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’#sn A quotation from Isa 54:13. Everyone who hears and learns from the Father#tn Or “listens to the Father and learns.” comes to me. 46 (Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God – he#tn Grk “this one.” has seen the Father.)#sn This is best taken as a parenthetical note by the author. Although some would attribute these words to Jesus himself, the switch from first person in Jesus’ preceding and following remarks to third person in v. 46 suggests that the author has added a clarifying comment here. 47 I tell you the solemn truth,#tn Grk “Truly, truly, I say to you.” the one who believes#tc Most witnesses (A C2 D Ψ Ë1,13 33 Ï lat and other versions) have “in me” (εἰς ἐμέ, eis eme) here, while the Sinaitic and Curetonian Syriac versions read “in God.” These clarifying readings are predictable variants, being motivated by the scribal tendency toward greater explicitness. That the earliest and best witnesses (Ì66,75vid א B C* L T W Θ 892 pc) lack any object is solid testimony to the shorter text’s authenticity. has eternal life.#tn Compare John 6:40. 48 I am the bread of life.#tn That is, “the bread that produces (eternal) life.” 49 Your ancestors#tn Or “forefathers”; Grk “fathers.” ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This#tn Or “Here.” is the bread that has come down from heaven, so that a person#tn Grk “someone” (τις, tis). may eat from it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats from this bread he will live forever. The bread#tn Grk “And the bread.” that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
52 Then the Jews who were hostile to Jesus#tn Grk “Then the Jews began to argue.” Here the translation restricts the phrase to those Jews who were hostile to Jesus (cf. BDAG 479 s.v. ᾿Ιουδαῖος 2.e.β), since the “crowd” mentioned in 6:22-24 was almost all Jewish (as suggested by their addressing Jesus as “Rabbi” (6:25). See also the note on the phrase “the Jews who were hostile to Jesus” in v. 41. began to argue with one another,#tn Grk “with one another, saying.” “How can this man#tn Grk “this one,” “this person.” give us his flesh to eat?” 53 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the solemn truth,#tn Grk “Truly, truly, I say to you.” unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,#sn Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood. These words are at the heart of the discourse on the Bread of Life, and have created great misunderstanding among interpreters. Anyone who is inclined toward a sacramental viewpoint will almost certainly want to take these words as a reference to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, or the Eucharist, because of the reference to eating and drinking. But this does not automatically follow: By anyone’s definition there must be a symbolic element to the eating which Jesus speaks of in the discourse, and once this is admitted, it is better to understand it here, as in the previous references in the passage, to a personal receiving of (or appropriation of) Christ and his work. you have no life#tn That is, “no eternal life” (as opposed to physical life). in yourselves. 54 The one who eats#tn Or “who chews”; Grk ὁ τρώγων (Jo trwgwn). The alternation between ἐσθίω (esqiw, “eat,” v. 53) and τρώγω (trwgw, “eats,” vv. 54, 56, 58; “consumes,” v. 57) may simply reflect a preference for one form over the other on the author’s part, rather than an attempt to express a slightly more graphic meaning. If there is a difference, however, the word used here (τρώγω) is the more graphic and vivid of the two (“gnaw” or “chew”). my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.#sn Notice that here the result (has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day) is produced by eating (Jesus’) flesh and drinking his blood. Compare John 6:40 where the same result is produced by “looking on the Son and believing in him.” This suggests that the phrase here (eats my flesh and drinks my blood) is to be understood by the phrase in 6:40 (looks on the Son and believes in him). 55 For my flesh is true#tn Or “real.” food, and my blood is true#tn Or “real.” drink. 56 The one who eats#tn Or “who chews.” On the alternation between ἐσθίω (esqiw, “eat,” v. 53) and τρώγω (trwgw, “eats,” vv. 54, 56, 58; “consumes,” v. 57) see the note on “eats” in v. 54. my flesh and drinks my blood resides in me, and I in him.#sn Resides in me, and I in him. Note how in John 6:54 eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood produces eternal life and the promise of resurrection at the last day. Here the same process of eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood leads to a relationship of mutual indwelling (resides in me, and I in him). This suggests strongly that for the author (and for Jesus) the concepts of ‘possessing eternal life’ and of ‘residing in Jesus’ are virtually interchangeable. 57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so the one who consumes#tn Or “who chews”; Grk “who eats.” Here the translation “consumes” is more appropriate than simply “eats,” because it is the internalization of Jesus by the individual that is in view. On the alternation between ἐσθίω (esqiw, “eat,” v. 53) and τρώγω (trwgw, “eats,” vv. 54, 56, 58; “consumes,” v. 57) see the note on “eats” in v. 54. me will live because of me. 58 This#tn Or “This one.” is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the bread your ancestors#tn Or “forefathers”; Grk “fathers.” ate, but then later died.#tn Grk “This is the bread that came down from heaven, not just like your ancestors ate and died.” The cryptic Greek expression has been filled out in the translation for clarity. The one who eats#tn Or “who chews.” On the alternation between ἐσθίω (esqiw, “eat,” v. 53) and τρώγω (trwgw, “eats,” vv. 54, 56, 58; “consumes,” v. 57) see the note on “eats” in v. 54. this bread will live forever.”
Many Followers Depart
59 Jesus#tn Grk “He”; the referent (Jesus) is specified in the translation for clarity. said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue#sn A synagogue was a place for Jewish prayer and worship, with recognized leadership (cf. Luke 8:41). Though the origin of the synagogue is not entirely clear, it seems to have arisen in the postexilic community during the intertestamental period. A town could establish a synagogue if there were at least ten men. In normative Judaism of the NT period, the OT scripture was read and discussed in the synagogue by the men who were present (see the Mishnah, m. Megillah 3-4; m. Berakhot 2). in Capernaum.#map For location see Map1-D2; Map2-C3; Map3-B2. 60 Then many of his disciples, when they heard these things,#tn The words “these things” are not present in the Greek text but are implied. Direct objects in Greek were often omitted when clear from the context, and must be supplied for the English reader. said, “This is a difficult#tn Or “hard,” “demanding.” saying!#tn Or “teaching”; Grk “word.” Who can understand it?”#tn Or “obey it”; Grk “hear it.” The Greek word ἀκούω (akouw) could imply hearing with obedience here, in the sense of “obey.” It could also point to the acceptance of what Jesus had just said, (i.e., “who can accept what he said?” However, since the context contains several replies by those in the crowd of hearers that suggest uncertainty or confusion over the meaning of what Jesus had said (6:42; 6:52), the meaning “understand” is preferred here. 61 When Jesus was aware#tn Grk “When Jesus knew within himself.” that his disciples were complaining#tn Or “were grumbling.” about this, he said to them, “Does this cause you to be offended?#tn Or “Does this cause you to no longer believe?” (Grk “cause you to stumble?”)sn Does this cause you to be offended? It became apparent to some of Jesus’ followers at this point that there would be a cost involved in following him. They had taken offense at some of Jesus’ teaching (perhaps the graphic imagery of “eating his flesh” and “drinking his blood,” and Jesus now warned them that if they thought this was a problem, there was an even worse cause for stumbling in store: his upcoming crucifixion (John 6:61b-62). Jesus asked, in effect, “Has what I just taught caused you to stumble? What will you do, then, if you see the Son of Man ascending where he was before?” This ascent is to be accomplished through the cross; for John, Jesus’ departure from this world and his return to the Father form one continual movement from cross to resurrection to ascension. 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascending where he was before?#tn Or “he was formerly?” 63 The Spirit is the one who gives life; human nature is of no help!#tn Grk “the flesh counts for nothing.” The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.#tn Or “are spirit-giving and life-producing.” 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus had already known from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)#sn This is a parenthetical comment by the author. 65 So Jesus added,#tn Grk “And he said”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity. “Because of this I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has allowed him to come.”#tn Grk “unless it has been permitted to him by the Father.”
Peter’s Confession
66 After this many of his disciples quit following him#tn Grk “many of his disciples went back to what lay behind.” and did not accompany him#tn Grk “were not walking with him.” any longer. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “You don’t want to go away too, do you?”#tn Questions prefaced with μή (mh) in Greek anticipate a negative answer. This can sometimes be indicated by using a “tag” at the end in English (here it is “do you?”). 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We#tn Grk “And we.” have come to believe and to know#sn See 1 John 4:16. that you are the Holy One of God!”#tc The witnesses display a bewildering array of variants here. Instead of “the Holy One of God” (ὁ ἅγιος τοῦ θεοῦ, Jo {agio" tou qeou), Tertullian has ὁ Χριστός (Jo Cristo", “the Christ”); C3 Θ* Ë1 33 565 lat read ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ (Jo Cristo" Jo Juio" tou qeou, “the Christ, the Son of God”); two versional witnesses (b syc) have ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ (“the Son of God”); the Byzantine text as well as many others (Ψ 0250 Ë13 33 Ï) read ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ζῶντος (Jo Cristo" Jo Juio" tou qeou tou zwnto", “the Christ, the Son of the living God”); and Ì66 as well as a few versions have ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ ἅγιος τοῦ θεοῦ (“the Christ, the Holy One of God”). The reading ὁ ἅγιος τοῦ θεοῦ is, however, well supported by Ì75 א B C* D L W as well as versional witnesses. It appears that Peter’s confession in the Synoptic Gospels (especially Matt 16:16) supplied the motivation for the variations. Although the witnesses in Matt 16:16; Mark 8:29; and Luke 9:20 vary considerably, the readings are all intra-synoptic, that is, they do not pull in “the Holy One of God” but reflect various permutations of “Christ”/“Christ of God”/“Christ, the Son of God”/“Christ, the Son of the living God.” The wording “the Holy One of God” (without “Christ”) in important witnesses here is thus unique among Peter’s confessions, and best explains the rise of the other readings.sn You have the words of eternal life…you are the Holy One of God! In contrast to the response of some of his disciples, here is the response of the twelve, whom Jesus then questioned concerning their loyalty to him. This was the big test, and the twelve, with Peter as spokesman, passed with flying colors. The confession here differs considerably from the synoptic accounts (Matt 16:16, Mark 8:29, and Luke 9:20) and concerns directly the disciples’ personal loyalty to Jesus, in contrast to those other disciples who had deserted him (John 6:66). 70 Jesus replied,#tn Grk “Jesus answered them.” “Didn’t I choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is the devil?”#tn Although most translations render this last phrase as “one of you is a devil,” such a translation presupposes that there is more than one devil. This finds roots in the KJV in which the Greek word for demon was often translated “devil.” In fact, the KJV never uses the word “demon.” (Sixty-two of the 63 NT instances of δαιμόνιον [daimonion] are translated “devil” [in Acts 17:18 the plural has been translated “gods”]. This can get confusing in places where the singular “devil” is used: Is Satan or one of the demons in view [cf. Matt 9:33 (demon); 13:39 (devil); 17:18 (demon); Mark 7:26 (demon); Luke 4:2 (devil); etc.]?) Now regarding John 6:70, both the construction in Greek and the technical use of διάβολος (diabolos) indicate that the one devil is in view. To object to the translation “the devil” because it thus equates Judas with Satan does not take into consideration that Jesus often spoke figuratively (e.g., “destroy this temple” [John 2:19]; “he [John the Baptist] is Elijah” [Matt 11:14]), even equating Peter with the devil on one occasion (Mark 8:33). According to ExSyn 249, “A curious phenomenon has occurred in the English Bible with reference to one particular monadic noun, διάβολος. The KJV translates both διάβολος and δαιμόνιον as ‘devil.’ Thus in the AV translators’ minds, ‘devil’ was not a monadic noun. Modern translations have correctly rendered δαιμόνιον as ‘demon’ and have, for the most part, recognized that διάβολος is monadic (cf., e.g., 1 Pet 5:8; Rev 20:2). But in John 6:70 modern translations have fallen into the error of the King James translators. The KJV has ‘one of you is a devil.’ So does the RSV, NRSV, ASV, NIV, NKJV, and the JB [Jerusalem Bible]. Yet there is only one devil…The legacy of the KJV still lives on, then, even in places where it ought not.” 71 (Now he said this about Judas son of Simon Iscariot,#sn At least six explanations for the name Iscariot have been proposed, but it is probably transliterated Hebrew with the meaning “man of Kerioth” (there are at least two villages that had that name). See D. A. Carson, John, 304. for Judas,#tn Grk “this one”; the referent (Judas) has been specified in the translation for clarity. one of the twelve, was going to betray him.)#sn This parenthetical statement by the author helps the reader understand Jesus’ statement one of you is the devil in the previous verse. This is the first mention of Judas in the Fourth Gospel, and he is immediately identified (as he is in the synoptic gospels, Matt 10:4, Mark 3:19, Luke 6:16) as the one who would betray Jesus.
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