What does John 6:10 mean?
ESV: Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number.
NIV: Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there).
NASB: Jesus said, 'Have the people recline to eat.' Now there was plenty of grass in the place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.
CSB: Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place; so they sat down. The men numbered about five thousand.
NLT: Tell everyone to sit down,' Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.)
KJV: And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
NKJV: Then 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.
Verse Commentary:
Seeking to feed thousands of people, the disciples have suggested doing nothing (Mark 6:36), outrageous spending (John 6:7), and simple labor (John 6:9). Jesus' response will not completely contradict these, but it will correct the disciples' backwards approach. As shown in the next verse, Christ will still use human effort to accomplish a miracle (John 6:11–13), but only after appealing to God. Our work is not irrelevant to God's work, but it has to come second to our submission to His power and to His will.

This verse is very specific that "the men" numbered 5,000. Jesus instructs "the people" to sit down, using the Greek word anthrōpous, which literally refers to human beings—male or female. The phrase numbering the crowd, however, uses the Greek andres, which literally means "males." This all but guarantees there were some number of women and children in the crowd, as well. While Jesus' feeding of 5,000 people would have been miraculous enough, it's possible that the number gathered around Him at this point could have been as many as 15,000 to 20,000.
Verse Context:
John 6:1–15 describes Jesus' feeding thousands of people—the fourth of the gospel of John's seven ''signs'' of Christ's divinity. This is the only miracle recorded in all four of the gospel accounts. When the crowd complains of hunger, the disciples who are mentioned each react in unique ways. Starting with only a tiny lunch of bread and fish, Jesus miraculously divides the food, filling everyone, and leaving more left over than they had to begin with. The people are astounded by this, and immediately react by proclaiming Jesus as ''the Prophet'' who has been promised. Jesus, however, is not yet ready to be publicly announced. He also knows the true motivations of this crowd and will attempt to explain the real importance of the miracle to them the following day.
Chapter Summary:
In chapter 6, Jesus feeds thousands of people who had been following Him. He does this by miraculously dividing the contents of a small lunch, leaving more left over than He had to begin with. At first, the crowd is amazed and they enthusiastically praise Jesus. After sending the disciples across the Sea of Galilee, and rescuing them from a storm by walking on the water, Jesus once again addresses the crowd. This time, He emphasizes the spiritual lesson behind His prior miracle. In response, most of those who had been praising Jesus turn away from Him in disappointment.
Chapter Context:
John chapter 6 occurs some months after the events of chapter 5, bringing the narrative to about one year prior to Jesus' crucifixion. As with the rest of the Gospel of John, the purpose is not to repeat information from the other three Gospels, but to focus on Jesus' status as God incarnate. This chapter continues to expand the list of Jesus' miraculous signs and the witnesses to His divine nature. Here, Jesus also gives the first of seven ''I AM'' statements found in this Gospel. Chapter 7 will once again skip ahead to a major public step in Jesus' path to the cross.
Book Summary:
The disciple John wrote the gospel of John decades after the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls "signs"— to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
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