The Intervarsity Press summarizes John 5 as Jesus' keynote address,
providing structurally the context for the exploration in chapter six:
The heart of the revelation has now been given in Jesus' keynote address
(chap. 5), in which he claims to have the divine prerogatives of life-giver
and judge. These two rights will be depicted throughout the rest of the
Gospel, beginning immediately with the description of Jesus as the Bread of
Life--the one who not only gives life but sustains it. We also see judgment
taking place as people are unable to receive this revelation. First the Jews
and then most of Jesus' disciples are offended rather than enlightened. By the
end of the chapter only the Twelve are left. http://bible.gospelcom.net/
John 5 provides the theology in Jesus' keynote address, John 6
illustrates theology in action. Jesus walks among the multitudes giving life and
sustaining life. Jesus as Bread of Life fills spiritual need completely, just as
the water offered to the Samaritan woman at the well satisfied thirst eternally.
As Edersheim points out, the feeding of the multitude in John crowns all
of Jesus' public actions in meeting human needs.
The feeding of the multitude is recorded in all four Gospels, making it
highly probable that the event is historical fact. John records this event as
the last act of Jesus’ Galilean ministry. John records the event, then moves
quickly to uncharacteristically to yet another event, recorded this time in the Gospels
of Mark and Luke. The
second event seems an abrupt departure from John’s tendency to move from
narrative into theological interpretation. As John narrates, the disciples have
gathered with Jesus after the event of the day, the miraculous feeding, and
travel to the other side of the lake. From
the crowds, the reader learns that Jesus was known not to have gotten into the
boat with his disciples, yet only one small boat had been there at the time;
that Jesus is gone points to a mysterious vanishing. When John resumes the
story, Jesus discourses with his disciples about the bread of life. At this
point, John’s dialectic of the physical and spiritual illustrates itself in
the contrast between physical bread and spiritual bread. Unfortunately, verse 15
shows us the people misunderstanding the lesson of the mass feeding,
focusing instead upon the "sign" and interpreting it as confirmation
of the expected earthly messiah, fulfilling their expectations for an earthly
this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of
And a multitude followed him, because they saw the signs which he did on those
who were diseased
Jesus went up on the mountain, and there sat down with his disciples.
Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.
Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a multitude was coming to him, Jesus
said to Philip, "How are we to buy bread, so that these people may
This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.
Philip answered him, "Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for
each of them to get a little."
One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him,
"There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are
they among so many?"
Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in
the place; so the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to
those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.
And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, "Gather up the
fragments left over, that nothing may be lost."
they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five
barley loaves, left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign which
he had done, they said, "This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the
Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him
king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
reader should not lose sight of John’s structural genius in placing this
feeding of the multitude immediately after the unknown festival and the
Passover. This is, according to John, Jesus’ last miracle in his Galilean
mission. Edersheim sees this miracle as the crowning act of the doings of Jesus:
can its origin be accounted for by previous Jewish expectancy, or Old
Testament precedent. The only rational mode of explaining it is on the
supposition of its truth. This miracle, and what follows, mark the climax in our
Lord's doing, as the healing of the Syro-Phoenician maiden the utmost sweep of
His activity, and the Transfiguration the highest point in regard to the
miraculous about His Person. The only reason which can be assigned for the
miracle of His feeding the five thousand was that of all His working: Man's
need, and, in view of it, the stirring of the Pity and Power that were King
Herod, and the banquet that ended with the murder of the Baptist, and King
Jesus, and the banquet that ended with His lonely prayer on the mountain-side,
the calming of the storm on the lake, and the deliverance from death of His
is about the business of effecting the kingdom of God on earth.
His compassion for the weary multitude traveling to the Passover
illustrates once again the “true rest” accomplished in the presence of the
spiritual. That human beings must
look to spiritual solutions rather than physical suggests itself in Jesus’
question to Philip, "How are we to buy bread, so that these people may
eat?" Philip’s response is typically human in that he reports that a boy
among the crowds has two hundred denarii, not enough certainly to reports
that a boy among the crowds has two hundred denarii, not enough certainly to
feed the crowds. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, follows Philip’s example,
reporting that another boy 9 "has five barley loaves and two fish; but what
are they among so many?" That the crowds are fed and that twelve baskets
are filled with leftover fragments point to the miracle, miracle being what
always happens when the spirit is present. Edersheim explains this miracle as,
once again, linking the past Judaism to the new Judaism, the Pascal Lamb of the
past to the present Pascal Lamb in the person of Christ; it is the very mission
of Jesus to be about the work of gathering in the wandering, straying multitude:
what a sight to meet His gaze, these thousands of strong men, besides women and
children; and what thoughts of the past, the present, and the future, would be
called up by the scene! 'The Passover was night,' [c St. John vi. 4.] with its
remembrances of the Paschal night, the Paschal Lamb, the Paschal Supper, the
Paschal deliverance, and most of them were Passover-pilgrims on their way to
Jerusalem. These Passover-pilgrims and God's guests, now streaming out into this
desert after Him; with a murdered John just buried, and no earthly teacher,
guide, or help left! Truly they were 'as sheep having no shepherd. [d St. Mark
vi. 34.] The very surroundings seemed to give tot he thought the vividness of a
picture: this wandering, straying multitude, the desert sweep of country, the
very want of provisions. A Passover, indeed, but of which He would be the
Paschal Lamb, the Bread which He gave, the Supper, and around which He would
gather those scattered, shepherd less sheep into one flock of many 'companies,'
to which His Apostles would bring the bread He had blessed and broken, to their
sufficient and more than sufficient nourishment; from which, indeed, they would
carry the remnant-baskets full, after the flock had been fed, to the poor in the
outlying places of far-off heathendom. And so thoughts of the past, the present,
and the future must have mingled, thoughts of the Passover in the past, of the
Last, the Holy Supper in the future, and of the deeper inward meaning and
bearing of both the one and the other; thoughts also of this flock, and of that
other flock which was yet to gather, and of the far-off places, and of the
Apostles and their service, and of the provision which they were to carry from
His Hands, a provision never exhausted by present need, and which always leaves
enough to carry thence and far away.
John 6, following Jesus' withdrawal after the feeding of the multitude,
two miracles are recorded: Jesus' walking on the sea (19) and the
immediacy of the boat's arrival on the shores of Capernaum. The disciples
have departed the shores of Galilee for Capernaum without Jesus; enroute, they
are overtaken by a storm and are frightened to see Jesus walking on the sea and
drawing near to them:
17 got into a boat, and
started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come
to them.18 The sea rose because
a strong wind was blowing.19 When they had rowed
about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to
the boat. They were frightened,20 but he said to them,
"It is I; do not be afraid."
16 When evening came,
his disciples went down to the sea,
To ask the
question of whether or not a miracle has occurred misses John's
theology that holding rigorously to the physical results in a blindness to
spiritual matters: here, the physical reality is a storm at sea and frightened
disciples; the spiritual reality is Jesus' invitation to rest: "It is I; do
not be afraid." The
people who have "eaten their fill of the loaves" and seek Jesus
still miss the lesson taught, not understanding how Jesus got to Capernaum;
Jesus reminds them they labor for what perishes rather than eating the food that
endures to eternal life:
On the next day the people who remained on the other side of the sea saw that
there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with
his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone.
However, boats from Tiberias came near the place where they ate the bread after
the Lord had given thanks.
So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they
themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.
When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him,
"Rabbi, when did you come here?"
Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because
you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.
Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which
endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has
God the Father set his seal."
Having reminded his listeners that the physical perishes while the eternal
endures, Jesus commands them to set their eyes upon spiritual truths rather than
upon physical signs.
Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of
Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in
him whom he has sent."
work of God will always be the effecting of His kingdom, the work that changes
lives and history, the miracle that accompanies belief.
So they said to him, "Then what sign do you do, that we may see, and
believe you? What work do you perform?
Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, `He gave them
bread from heaven to eat.'"
Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who
gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
religious have wrongly interpreted Moses as the giver of bread, but they are
reminded that all life proceeds from God alone. God’s will is that people be
saved, that Jesus should “lose nothing.”
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the
They said to him, "Lord, give us this bread always."
Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not
hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.
But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.
All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not
For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who
and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that
he has given me, but raise it up at the last day.
For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes
in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
Intervarsity Commentary explains that Jesus, as he had done explicitly with the
Samaritan woman at the well in chapter four, identifies himself with Divinity,
the source of eternal life; in fact, this connection is made clearly in verse
35: "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he
who believes in me shall never thirst":
John follows Jesus' speech (5:19-47)
with further disclosure of Jesus as the one who can give and take life; he is
the life-giver and the judge. Jesus has said that Moses "wrote about
me" (5:46), and now we learn how this is the case. Under Moses'
leadership Israel escaped through the Red Sea, traveled through the wilderness
and miraculously received food there. These stories are now echoed in Jesus'
miraculous feeding of the five thousand (6:1-15) and his rescue of his
disciples as he walks to them on the sea (6:16-21). These miracles clearly
reveal Jesus as sovereign over the forces of nature. But in his teaching that
follows and the controversy it arouses, we discover that he is not merely one
who works miracles within the realm of nature, nor merely a leader of God's
people like Moses, but the source of eternal life itself (6:22-59). He
fulfills the role of Moses and utterly transcends it.
Further, the Intervarsity Commentary
understands the antinomy of verses 37 and 40:
Here is the antinomy of divine sovereignty and human responsibility. If we
only had verse 40, then the teaching of this Gospel regarding salvation would
be based in human decision. When we put the determinism of verse 37 alongside
the decisionism of verse 40 we see the two parts of the antinomy, both of
which are brought together in Jesus. Our response to him reveals the truth
about ourselves in relation to God and thus whether or not we share in God's
course, Jesus’ words bring on again the condemnation of those failing to
understand the nature of true conversion in the presence of spirit:
The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, "I am the bread which came
down from heaven."
They said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother
we know? How does he now say, `I have come down from heaven'?"
Jesus answered them, "Do not murmur among yourselves.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise
him up at the last day.
It is written in the prophets, `And they shall all be taught by God.' Every one
who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.
Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
then makes the link between the past and present explicit:
Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.
This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not
I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this
bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of
the world is my flesh."
as always to distinguish between the physical and spiritual, those who listen ask a
question similar to the one Nicodemus asked about spiritual birth:
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us
his flesh to eat?"
So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the
flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;
he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him
up at the last day.
For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats
me will live because of me.
reading John, one battles constantly the temptation to spiritualize the physical or to
make physical that which is meant spiritually.
This frequently happens when “eats my flesh and drinks my blood” is
used to point to the sacrament:
(6:53) 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
of Life, and have created great misunderstanding among interpreters.
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
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. 77tn (6:53)
That is, "no eternal life" (as opposed to physical life).
(6:54) Or "who chews"; Grk oJ trwvgwn (Jo trwgwn). The alternation
between ejsqivw (esqiw, "eat," v. 53) and trwvgw (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 (trwvgw) is the more graphic and vivid of the two ("gnaw" or
(6:54) 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
believes in him). Net Bible
The preexistence of the
Word at creation and the identification of the Word with Jesus necessitate
metaphor and understanding enlightened beyond the merely physical:
In fact, none of Jesus'
teaching makes sense unless we realize who he really is. He says as much in the
verses that follow about the Son of Man (v. 62), yet he is speaking very
cryptically when he refers to the ascension of the Son of Man to where he was
before. A reference to preexistence, mingled with associations from Daniel
7, would be very hard to grasp. The one standing before them was claiming to be
a person beyond their imagination. The strangeness of his reference to eating
his flesh and drinking his blood is matched by the claims he is making about
himself. In a sense he is saying, "You haven't seen anything yet. There
will be plenty more to come that will be offensive to fallen human reason."
For the ascent of the Son of Man to where he was before begins with the cross
(cf. 3:14), the ultimate source of offense. If they are offended by this talk
about eating his flesh and drinking his blood, how will they be able to tolerate
the cross, which lies behind Jesus' talk of giving his flesh and blood?
than metaphor, Jesus speaks archetypally:
There are several
hints in the text that Jesus is referring to the sacrament here. First, the
image of drinking Christ's blood (6:53) does not correspond to the starting
point, namely, to the feeding of the five thousand and the manna in the
wilderness. Jesus started with the simple image of bread, and now he brings in
the idea of blood and drink. Drinking blood is not a natural image for
receiving his revelation, though it might be suggestive of receiving his life,
since "the life of every creature is its blood" (Lev 17:14; Deut
12:23). But it is a very scandalous image for a Jew since drinking any blood,
let alone human blood, was forbidden by the law (Lev 3:17; 17:14; Deut 12:23).
Second, although the reference to "real" food and drink (6:55) means
this eating and drinking "fulfill the ideal, archetypal function of food
and drink" (Barrett 1978:299), it does not mean that this eating and
drinking are something other than actual eating and drinking. This is
archetypal, "real" (alethes) food and drink, just as
Nathaniel was "really" (alethos), archetypically, an
Israelite (1:47). Being archetypal did not mean Nathaniel was not also an
actual Israelite, nor would the flesh and blood's being archetypal food and
drink necessarily mean they are not also actual food and drink. If there is a
reference here to actual food and drink, then it must refer somehow to the
Eucharist since there is nothing else to which it would correspond. We know
from the Synoptics and Paul that Jesus commanded us to observe this rite and
that Christians did indeed do so. Christians then, as now, naturally find
reference here to the Eucharist unless controversies lead them to find some
connects bread, the Father, Jesus and life: “it is the spirit that gives
Jesus is the bread eternal come down from heaven, not the bread temporal eaten
by the children of Israel in the wilderness:
This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and
died; he who eats this bread will live for ever."
This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, "This is a hard saying;
who can listen to it?"
But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them,
"Do you take offense at this?
Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before?
One must note here that if the Bread
come down from heaven is not recognized, the Son of man ascending would also be
misunderstood by a people looking for a physical sign. The theologian explains:
It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I
have spoken to you are spirit and life.64
But there are some of you that do not believe." For Jesus knew from the
first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him.
And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it
is granted him by the Father."
After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.
Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?"
Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of
and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of
Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a
He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was to
who later tragically denies Christ, confesses "You are the Holy One of
Israel," a statement pointing to the poignancy of belief, identified by
Jesus as the mystery of grace in that "no one can come to me unless it is
granted by the Father." The Oxford Bible annotation explains the
great division between faith and unbelief:
. 62–63: The ascension, by which Jesus will be taken away as regards the flesh, will indicate that he has been speaking of spiritual realities and not the actual eating of his flesh. 64–65: These truths can be discerned only by faith, which is God’s gift, not a human achievement (Ephesians 2.8). 6.66–71: To receive God’s gift of faith is to know God in Christ; to refuse it is to become an ally of the devil. Faith and unbelief mark the great divisions among even the disciples.
Alfred Edersheim in book three on the
"Great Confession" points to the great demand on and training in faith
required of the disciples:
In that distant and obscure corner,
on the boundary-line between Jew and Gentile, had that greatest crisis in the
history of the world occurred, which sealed the doom of Israel, and in their
place substituted the Gentiles as citizens of the Kingdom. And, in this
respect also, it is most significant, that the confession of the Church
likewise took place in territory chiefly inhabited by Gentiles, and the
Transfiguration on Mount Hermon. That crisis had been the public challenge of
the Pharisees and Sadducees, that Jesus should legitimate His claims to the
Messiahship by a sign from heaven. It is not too much to assert, that neither
His questioners, nor even His disciples, understood the answer of Jesus, nor
yet perceived the meaning of His 'sign.' To the Pharisees Jesus would seem to
have been defeated, and to stand self-convicted of having made Divine claims
which, when challenged, He could not substantiate. He had hitherto elected(as
they, who understood not His teaching,would judge) to prove Himself the
Messiah by the miracles which He had wrought, and now, when met on His own
ground, He had publicly declined, or at least evaded, the challenge. He had
conspicuously, almost self-confessedly, failed! At least, so it would appear
to those who could not understand His reply and 'sign.' We note that a similar
final challenge was addressed to Jesus by the High-Priest, when he adjured Him
to say, whether He was what He claimed. His answer then was an assertion, not
a proof; and, unsupported as it seemed, His questioners would only regard it
But what of the disciples, who (as we
have seen) would probably understand 'the sign' of Christ little better than
the Pharisees? That what might seem Christ's failure, in not daring to meet
the challenge of His questioners, must have left some impression on them, is
not only natural, but appears even from Christ's warning of the leaven, that
is, of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Indeed, that this unmet
challenge and virtual defeat of Jesus did make lasting and deepest impression
in His disfavour, is evident from the later challenge of His own relatives to
go and meet the Pharisees at headquarters in Judaea, and to show openly, if He
could, by His works, that He was the Messiah. [a St. John vii. 1-5.] All the
more remarkable appears Christ's dealing with His disciples, His demand on,
and training of their faith. It must be remembered, that His last 'hard'
sayings at Capernaum had led to the defection of many, who till then had been
His disciples. [b St. John vi. 60-66; comp. St. Matt. xv. 12.] Undoubtedly
this had already tried their faith, as appears from the question of Christ:
'Will ye also go away? [c St. John vi. 67.] It was this wise and gracious
dealing with them, this putting the one disappointment of doubt, engendered by
what they could not understand, against their whole past experience in
following Him, which enabled them to overcome. And it is this which also
enables us to answer the doubt, perhaps engendered by inability to understand
seemingly unintelligible, hard sayings of Christ, such as that to the
disciples about giving them His Flesh to eat, or about His being the Living
Bread from heaven. And, this alternative being put to them: would they, could
they, after their experience of Him, go away from Him, they overcame, as we
overcome, through what almost sounds like a cry of despair, yet is a shout of
victory: 'Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.'
Edersheim has drawn heavily here upon
the account given by Matthew, and Matthew links the request for a sign to the
Pharisees and Sadducees; when the disciples need to understand the metaphorical,
then Jesus tells them to "beware the leaven of the Pharisees and
Sadducees," an illusion they understand immediately. Only after this does
Peter make his confession, "You are the Christ, the
Son of the living God."
And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show
them a sign from heaven.2
He answered them, "When it is evening, you say, `It will be fair weather;
for the sky is red.'3
And in the morning, `It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and
threatening.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you
cannot interpret the signs of the times.4
An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign shall be given
to it except the sign of Jonah." So he left them and departed.5
When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any
Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees
And they discussed it among themselves, saying, "We brought no
But Jesus, aware of this, said, "O men of little faith, why do you
discuss among yourselves the fact that you have no bread?9
Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves of the five
thousand, and how many baskets you gathered?10
Or the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered?11
How is it that you fail to perceive that I did not speak about bread? Beware
of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees."12
Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of
bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.13
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his
disciples, "Who do men say that the Son of man is?"14
And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others
Jeremiah or one of the prophets."15
He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"16
Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living
And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona! For flesh and
blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
like John, attributes to grace the revelation itself: "Blessed
are you, Simon Barjona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my
Father who is in heaven. Holy One of God, the Son of the living God, or Luke's
"the Christ of God," (9.20) the unity with God and God-ship itself is
Simon Peter responds on behalf of the Twelve: Lord, to whom shall we go? You
have the words of eternal life (v. 68). The others had been offended by Jesus'
words, but the Twelve accept Jesus' claim that his words are spirit and life (v.
63). They do not claim to have understood what Jesus' has been saying. They will
not be able to understand until after the crucifixion has taken place and the
Spirit has guided them into all truth regarding Jesus and all that he has done
and taught (14:26; 15:26; 16:13). But they do recognize that Jesus is speaking
from God: We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God (v.
68). The verbs translated believe and know are in the perfect
tense, which often suggests a state that began in the past and continues to the
present. This nuance fits this context, since Peter stands in contrast to those
who, although attracted to Jesus by the feeding miracle, were immediately
scandalized. The Twelve came to faith in Jesus some time ago and have hung in
with him since then, including through this most recent challenge to their faith
by his strange teaching.
wonder Jesus was misunderstood and resisted: he is both traditionalist and new
age, and he is misunderstood: paradoxically, old and new have become the one
evolving, unfolding will of God for the salvation of humankind.