John 6:35, 41-51

John 6:35, 41-51
Ordinary B37


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 comes to me will never be hungry,D and whoever believesE in me will never be thirsty.F

Notes on verse 35b

D “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.
E “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.
F “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.

41 Then the JewsG began to complainH about him because he said, “I am the bread that came downI from heaven.”J 

Notes on verse 41

G “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.
H “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.
I “came 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.
J “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.

42 They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the sonK of Joseph,L whose fatherM and mother we know?N How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 

Notes on verse 42

K “son” = huios. This is son, descendant – a son whether natural born or adopted. It can be used figuratively for other forms of kinship.
L “Joseph” = Ioseph. From Hebrew Yoseph (he increases; Joseph); from yasaph (to add, increase, continue, exceed). This is Joseph, meaning “he increases.”
M “father” = pater. This is father in a literal or figurative sense. Could be elder, senior, ancestor, originator, or patriarch.
N “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 canO come to me unless drawnP by the Father who sentQ me; and I will raise that person upR on the lastS day. 

Notes on verses 43-44

O “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.
P “drawn” = helko. Related o “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.
Q “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.
R “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.
S “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.”

45 It is writtenT in the prophets,U ‘And they shall all be taughtV by God.’W Everyone who has heardX and learnedY from the Father comes to me. 

Notes on verse 45

T “written” = grapho. This is to write or describe. It is where the word “graphic” comes from.
U “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.
V “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.
W “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
X “heard” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.
Y “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).

46 Not that anyone has seenZ the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly,AA I tell you, whoever believes has eternalBB life. 48 I am the bread of life. 

Notes on verses 46-48

Z “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.
AA “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.
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.

49 Your ancestorsCC ateDD the mannaEE in the wilderness,FF and they died.GG 

Notes on verse 49

CC “ancestors” = pater. Same as “father” in v42. See note M above.
DD “ate” = phago. This is to eat or figuratively to consume like rust does.
EE “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.
FF “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.
GG “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.

50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the livingHH bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever;II and the bread that I will giveJJ for the life of the worldKK is my flesh.”LL

Notes on verses 50-51

HH “living” = zao. Related to “life” in v35. See note C above.
II “forever” = eis + ho + aion. Literally “to the age.” Aion is related to “eternal” in v47. See note BB above.
JJ “give” = didomi. To give, offer, place, bestow, deliver. This is give in a literal or figurative sense.
KK “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.
LL “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).

Image credit: “General Images of Jesus Teaching” by the LUMO Project.

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