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Observe, 4. How speedily Christ relieves them of their fears, by telling them who he was: It is I, be not afraid. It is a sufficient support in all our afflictions to be assured of Christ's gracious presence with us. Say but, O Saviour, It is I, and then let evils do their worst; that one word, It is I, is sufficient to allay all storms, and to calm a thousand tempests. Observe lastly, With what joy and gladness the disciples received and entertained Christ in this hour of their distress: They -willingly received him into the ship. Though the company of Christ is always sweet and welcome to his disciples and friends, yet never is it so very agreeable and desirable to them as in the hour of trial and temptation: then they willingly receive him, and joyfully welcome and entertain him.
22 The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone ; 23 (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias, nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks;) 24 When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. 25 And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabhi, when earnest thou hither? 26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. 27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
Our blessed Saviour having wrought the foregoing miracle, feeding five thousand with five loaves, the people followed him in troops from place to place. Christ, who knew their hearts, tells them plainly what
was their end; they followed him indeed, but not for any spiritual excellences they saw in him, or soul-advantages they expected from him, but for bread; only to have their bellies fed with the loaves, not their souls satisfied with the bread of life. O! how seldom is Christ sought for ho own sake, viz. Jesus quarilur propter Jesus. Aug. How natural is it for men to seek Christ for sinister ends and by-respects! But to seek him only for outward advantages, is the basest of by-ends, and that which the soul of Christ exceedingly abhors. Labour not for the meat which perisheth. This prohihition must not be understood absolutely, but comparatively; not as if Christ intended to take them off from their lawful labours, and the business of their callings; but his meaning is, Labour not in the first and chief place for earthly things, which are all perishing, but for bread for your souls to live eternally by ; even for the food of my heavenly doctrine, which will make them that feed upon it immortal: and this the Son of man stands ready to give unto you. For him hath God the Father sealed; that is, by a special commission and authority, hath empowered him to dispense all spiritual blessings to them that want and crave theni. Learn hence, 1. That all the things of this life are perishing and fading. The best of outward comforts and enjoyments are meat that perisheth. 2. That it is the greatest of follies to labour intensely and inordinately for, and to set ourselves with all our might and strength to pursue and follow after, perishing things. 3. That Jesus Christ's holy doctrine, his heavenly grace, is food that never perisheth, nor diminishedi, how many soever partake of it; but makes all that partake thereof, to be partakers of eternal life therewith. 4. That Jesus Christ is authorized, sealed, and commissioned by his Father, to give eternal life to such as industriously labour after him, and will not be satisfied without him. Him hath God the Father sealed: that is, Jesus Christ was sealed to the office of Mediator by God the Father: Christ was sealed at his baptism, sealed by his doctrine, sealed by his miracles, sealed by his resurrection, sealed by his unction of supereminent and unparalleled sanctification. Lord! where will the rejecters of Christ then appear at the great day, who have despised the authority of him whom the Father commissioned to give eternal life to whomsoever he pleaseth!
28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, That ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
Here the Jews, who were strict observers of the ceremonial law of Moses, and rested thereupon for salvation, enquire of our Saviour what they should do that they might please God? Christ directs them to the great duty of believing on himself, to own and acknowledge him to be the true Messiah, and as such to rely upon him alone for salvation: This is the work of God, that ye believe, Sec. Learn hence, That for a penitent, humbled sinner to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, is a work highly pleasing and acceptable unto God. Christ calls faith the work of God, upon a threefold account: it is the work of his efficiency and operation; 'tis the work of his commanding; and 'tis the work of his approbation and acceptation; a work that God is highly pleased with, and greatly delighted in: This is the work of God.
30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? What dost thou work? 31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
Here the Jews tell our Saviour, that before they will believe in him, they must see some sign from him, to confirm his doctrine, and prove him to be the Messias. They acknowledge Christ had wrought a great miracle in feeding five thousand persons with five barley-loaves, but Moses fed their fathers in the wilderness, who were no less than six hundred thousand persons, with excellent manna from heaven, and this for forty years together; from whence they would seem to conclude that they had more reason to believe Moses than Christ; not considering that Moses was but an instrument to obtain by prayer the manna at the hands of God; but Christ was an agent, and that, by a creating power inherent in himself, he multiplied the five loaves to the feeding of five thousand. Note here, from the Jews requiring a sign before they would believe, That he who publishes a new doctrine to the world ought to confirm
his mission by some miraculous operation. 2. That God honoured Moses, his messenger, very much, and Christ his minister much more, in that both of them wrought great and special miracles for the confirmation of their mission. 3. That the Jews' not believing Christ to be the true Messias, upon so many attestations, and after his divine mission was confirmed by such miraculous operations, rendered their infidelity inexcusable, and their obstinacy invincible.
32 Then Jesus said unto tlinn, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which com. eth down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
Upon the Jews mentioning manna to our blessed Saviour, he takes occasion to make a comparison betwixt himself the bread of life, and manna, the bread of Moses; and that in three particulars. 1. It was not Moses that gave lhe Israelites that manna, it was God at the prayer of Moses; but it was God that now offered them the bread of life, were they willing to accept it. 2. The manna was not given from heaven, that is, from the celestial heaven, but only from the air and clouds, which frequently in scripture is called heaven; but Christ the bread of life was given and sent by the Father from the highest heaven, even the heaven of glory. 3. Manna was not true spiritual food effectively and of itself, but bodily food only; but Christ is real and spiritual bread, which gives life to lost and dead men; which manna did not, could not do. And whereas manna was peculiar to Israel alone, Christ gives life to all sorts of persons, Gentiles as well as Jews: The bread of God giveth life unto the world. Learn hence, That as Christ is the truth and substance of all types in the Old Testament, so particularly the manna was an illustrious type of Christ. In many things they agree; and in some they differ. They agree in their original; manna came down from above, so did Christ; manna was freely given, so is Jesus Christ the free gift of God; manna was not fit to be eaten as it lay in the field, but must be ground in a mill, or beaten in a mortar, and baked in an oven, before it was fit for food. Christ was ground by his sufferings, bruised on the cross, scorched in the fiery oven of his
- Father's wrath, that he might become a fit - . «Saviour for us. Again, as the manna was gathered by the Israelites daily and equally; it was rained down about their tents, and every man had his omer. Thus is Christ in the ministry of the word daily offered to a lost world, and all that believe in him shall share alike in the benefits of the justification, sanctification, and glorification from him. But now the manna and Christ differ in this; and the true excels the type thas: There is a quickening, enlivening virtue, a life-giving and a life-upholding . , - power in Christ, the bread of life, which i was never found in manna, the bread of , , Israel. And whereas manna only fed the "'"" body of an Israelite, and this only for a f little time in the wilderness; Christ nouYisheth the soul, the souls of all believers, be they Jew or Gentile, bond or free, and this 'not for a time, but for eternity: The bread of God is he -which cometh down from heaven, andgivelh life unto the world.
34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 36 But I said unto you, that ye also have seen me, and believe not.
Observe here, 1. How the carnal Jews, hearing of the bread which Christ had commended so highly, and conceiving of it carnally, desire they may partake of it constantly: Lord, evermore give us this bread. The commendation of spiritual things may move the affections and quicken the desires of natural persons; but if their desires be not spiritual and serious, diligent and laborious, constant and ahiding, they are no evidence of the truth of grace. Observe, 2. Christ discovers another excellent effect of this bread of life, which he had been recommending; that such as feed of it shall never hunger more: that is, inordinately, after the perishing satisfactions of this world ; but shall find an all-sufficient fulness in him, and complete refreshment from him, for the preserving and perpetuating of their spiritual life: He that cometh unto me shall never hunger, 8fc. Observe, 3. How justly Christ upbraids the Jews for their obstinate infidelity: Ye have seen me, says our Saviour, yet ye believe not. Ye have seen me in the flesh, you
have heard my doctrine, you have seen my miracles; I have done amongst you those works which never any man did, to convince you that I am the Messiah, yet you will not own me to be such, nor believe in me. O the strength of infidelity and unbelief! The devil has as great an advantage upon men by making them strong in unbelief, as God hath by making his people strong in faith.
37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
Our blessed Saviour having lamented the obstinate infidelity of the Jews in the foregoing verse, who, though they had seen him, would not believe on him; be doth in this verse comfort himself with the assured expectation, that there would be a number, which should certainly and infallibly come unto him: All that the Father hath given me, shall come unto me, frc. Here observe, 1. An account of the persons that shall come to Christ, All that the Father hath given him. There is a double gift of us to Christ. 1. In God's etemal purpose and counsel. 2. In our effectual vocation and calling, when our hearts are by the Holy Spirit of God persuaded and enabled to accept of Christ, as he is freely tendered us in the gospel. Observe, 2. The gracious entertainment which Christ gives to those that come unto him: He wili in no wise cast them out; where the positive is included in the negative, I will not cast them out: that is, I will kindly receive, and graciously entertain them. Leant hence, 1. That both God the Father and Christ his Son are unfeignedly willing, and cordially desirous, of the salvation of lost sinners. That federal transaction which was betwixt the Father and the Son from everlasting, about the salvation of lost sinners, evidently declares this. Learn, 2. That the merciful and compassionate Jesus will in no wise cast out or reject, but kindly entertain and receive, every penitent sinner that doth believingly apply unto him for pardon of sin and eternal life: / will in no wise cast out; that is, I will not cast them out of my pity and compassion, out of my love and affection, out of my prayer and intercession, out of my care and protection: I will not cast them out of my covenant; I will never cast them out of my kingdom; for my nature inclines me, my promise "hinds me, and my office as Mediator engages me, to the contrary
38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, That of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, That every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
In these words our Saviour gives us the confirmation of the foregoing promise, that he will in no wise cast out those that come unto him, by assuring us, that it was the great end for which he came into the world. His Father sent him to do his will, and not his own; that is, not to do his own will without his Father's, but to do his own will and his Father's. For Christ, as God, hath a co-ordinate will with his Father's, and as man, a will subordinate to the will of his Father. Now it is the will of both Father and Son, that such as believe in him should be preserved from perishing, and be raised up by Christ at the last day. Learn hence, 1. That the Lord Jesus Christ stands not only inclined by his own mercy and goodness to save repenting and believing sinners, but doth also stand obliged thereunto by virtue of a trust committed to him from the Father. Therefore Christ mentions the will of him that sent him, as a reason of his fidelity in this matter. Learn,
2. That the Father's will and good pleasure is the original source, the fountain and first spring, from whence the salvation of believers doth proceed and flow. It is the Father's -will that sent me, that every one that seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life. Learn,
3. That such as are given to Christ by the Father, and put as his trust into his keeping, he looks upon them as his charge, and stands engaged for the preservation of them This is my Father's will, that of all which he hath given me, I should lose nothing. Yet hath the Father so committed the care of believers to his Son, as that he keeps them still in his own hand, John x. 21, 28. My Father which gave them to me, is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. Learn, 4. From those words, / will raise him up at the last day, that the Lord Jesus Christ is truly,
essentially, and really God. That person who can by his own almighty power raise the dead, must certainly be God. And this power Christ had. He raised others from the dead, and his own dead body from the grave also, by his own power; and therefore Christ says, I am the resurrection and the life; and I will raise him up at the last day. Doubtless he that spake these words, and made these promises, knew his own power to perform them; and that power must be omnipotent, and that act of omnipotence doth prove him to be God. 'Tis true, the disciples raised the dead, who yet were not God, but with this difference, they rai;ed the dead by Christ's power; but Chr st raised others and himself also by his own power.
41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. 42 And thev said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know ? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? 43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.
Although Christ had in the foregoing verses plainly asserted himself to be the true bread that came down from h aven for the benefit of the world, yet the Jews, understanding his words carnally, arc offended with him, and murmur at him, for pretending to come down from heaven, when they knew him to be the son of Joseph and Mary. They understood nothing of his divine nature, nor of his miraculous conception by the overshadowiug of the Holy Ghost, and therefore were highly offended at him. Thence learn, That ignorance of Christ's divine nature was the ground and occasion of that contempt which was cast upon his person. Observe farther, The proof which Christ gave of his divine nature, in his knowing the hearts and thoughts of these murmuring Jews: Jesus said, Murmur not among yourselves. Christ knows and observes the most secret murmurings and repinings that are found in the breasts of the children of men; and this his knowledge is an evidence and proof of his divinity, that he is truly and really God.
44 No man can come to me, ex
ccpt the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
In which words we have something necessarily implied, and something positively expressed. The misery of man in his natural and unsanctified state is here implied; he is far distant from Christ, and unable of himself to come unto him. By nature we are strangers, yea, enemies unto God; enemies to the holiness of his nature, and to the righteousness of his laws: and as the state of unregeneracy is a state of enmity, so consequently must it be a state of impotency: Without me (therefore says Christ) ye can do nothing, John xv. 5. that is, without interest in me, and influences of grace derived from me. Again, the truths we have expressed are these: 1. That all those who come unto Christ are drawn unto him. 2. That the drawing of sinful souls unto Jesus Christ is the special and peculiar work of God. This drawing is a powerful act but not a compulsory act; God doth not draw any against their wills to Christ, but he inclines the wills of sinners to come unto him. He draws by effectual persuasion, and not by violent compulsion. 3. That all those who are drawn to Christ here, shall be raised up gloriously by him hereafter: J will raise him up at the last day. Such as are brought to Christ by the Father, Christ shall never abandon them, till he has raised them up at the last day, and presented them blameless and complete before his Father; where they shall ever be with the Lord.
45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. 46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God; he hath seen the Father. 47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
In these words our blessed Saviour confirms his former assertion, concerning the Father's drawing, from the prophecies of the Old Testament, which, speaking of the lays of the Messias, foretold that persons should be taught of God to embrace the Messias; whence Christ inferreth, that every one who is thus taught, shall come
unto him, and believe in him. Learn hence, 1. That the teachings of God are absolutely necessary to every man that cometh unto Christ in the way of faith. 2. That such shall not miscarry in the way of faith, who are under the special teachings and instructions of God: They shall he all taught of God, and he teacbeth to profit, and that not only authoritatively, but efficaciously and effectually. Those whom God undertakes to teach, receive from him both an car to hear, and an heart to understand. They shall be all taught of God, and they that are taught have beard and learned of the Father.
48 I am that bread of life. 49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man mav eat thereof, and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
In these verses our blessed Saviour resumes his former doctrine, namely, that he is the object of saving faith, and the bread of life, which he compares with the manna, the bread of Israel, Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, which manna was an illustrious type of Christ. Thus both came down from heaven; both were freely given of God without any merit or desert of man; both in a miraculous manner -, both at first unknown what they were, and whence they came; both equally belonging to all; both sufficient for all,
Cr and rich. The manna, white in co, so clear is our Lord's innocence; pleasant like honey, so sweet are his benefits; beaten and broken before eaten, Christ on his cross bleeding and dying; given only in the wilderness, and ceasing as soon as they came into the land of promise; as sacraments shall vanish, when we enjoy the substance in heaven. But though manna was thus excellent, yet the eaters of it were dead; but such as feed upon Christ, the bread of life, shall live eternally in bliss and glory. T am the living bread which came down from heaven: If any man cat of this bread he shall live for ever. Here we learn, 1. What a miserable