John 6:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 6:4, NIV: "The Jewish Passover Festival was near."

John 6:4, ESV: "Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand."

John 6:4, KJV: "And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh."

John 6:4, NASB: "Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near."

John 6:4, NLT: "(It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration.)"

John 6:4, CSB: "Now the Passover, a Jewish festival, was near."

What does John 6:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This verse provides a clue regarding the timeline of chapters 5, 6, and 7. Passover is a celebration held close to April, while chapter seven's Feast of Tabernacles is held closer to October. This places events of chapter 6 about six months prior to those of chapter 7. Also based on New Testament context, this particular Passover would have been the year prior to Jesus' crucifixion.

One reason for Jesus' time here in Galilee is the very fact of His growing popularity. The end of chapter 5 saw Jesus disputing with religious leaders in Jerusalem over His Sabbath-day healing at the Pool of Bethesda. Other verses mention the tension between Christ and the Jewish priests, meaning at this stage of Jesus' ministry, it is safer and wiser to mostly stay away from Jerusalem.

Jesus is about to perform a major miracle, which makes the reference to Passover especially important. The point of the Passover celebration, for the Jewish people, is remembrance of their rescue from slavery in Egypt. There is a heavy focus on food, especially unleavened bread, in these Passover rites. Over the course of this chapter, Jesus will miraculously provide a meal of bread for the people who would have been especially sensitive to themes of divine intervention and rescue from oppression.

At the same time, Jesus' later explanation of His role as the Bread of Life would have run directly counter to Jewish interpretations of Passover. This would have contributed to their offense at His teaching, causing most to abandon Him (John 6:66).