What does John 6:50 mean?
ESV: This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.
NIV: But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die.
NASB: This is the bread that comes down out of heaven, so that anyone may eat from it and not die.
CSB: This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that anyone may eat of it and not die.
NLT: Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die.
KJV: This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
NKJV: This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus has been explaining how "bread that comes down from heaven" is not literal bread. Rather, it is a person (John 6:33), whose message is meant to bring people into eternal life (John 6:27–29), so long as they believe in the One sent by God. The miraculous manna which Israel received in the wilderness (Exodus 16) and the bread which Jesus created on the prior day (John 6:11–15) were only meant to be signs, or symbols, pointing towards a greater, eternal truth.

The manna which Israel ate in the wilderness was symbolic of Jesus. Manna was small, white, round, and arrived at night. These are symbols of humility, purity, eternity, and times of spiritual darkness, respectively. It could not be made or transferred; it had to be individually accepted. Manna was also found on the ground, leaving only two options: receive it as a gift or walk right over it (John 3:16–18).

Jesus' statement that "this is the bread that comes down from heaven" has two purposes. First, it emphasizes that Jesus is explaining the true meaning and the true purpose behind the symbol of bread. Secondly, Jesus is explicitly referring to Himself (John 6:51) as the fulfillment of this idea. In the wilderness, God sent a source of physical life from heaven in the form of bread. Now, God has sent the source of eternal life from heaven in the form of Jesus Christ.

To this point, Jesus has pointed out the need for belief in the One sent by God. This is controversial enough and has caused the people to grumble under their breath (John 6:41). In the next verse, however, Jesus will expand the symbolic meaning of "bread." He does this by equating the "bread of life" to His own flesh—symbolic of His upcoming death on the cross. This analogy will be immediately misinterpreted and the crowd will become even angrier.
Verse Context:
John 6:41–51 uncovers the true motivation of the crowd following Jesus: selfishness. This passage is part of a long dialogue where Christ clarifies the meaning of His miracles. Jesus has just explained that He, Himself, is the ''Bread of Life'' which people are meant to seek. In response, the people complain amongst themselves. Jesus will give further explanation of what He means by claiming to be the ''Bread of Life.'' This, as is turns out, will make the crowd even more agitated, as the people move from seeking, to complaining, to outright argument.
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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