What does John 6:70 mean?
ESV: Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.”
NIV: Then Jesus replied, 'Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!'
NASB: Jesus answered them, 'Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.'
CSB: Jesus replied to them, "Didn't I choose you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil."
NLT: Then Jesus said, 'I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.'
KJV: Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
Peter's statement in the last few verses proclaimed Jesus as divine (John 6:68–69). This is one of the seven "witnesses" to Jesus' godly nature given in the gospel of John. While most people walked away from Jesus, abandoning His teachings when they became hard to accept (John 6:60, 66), Peter did not. His reasoning for this is both simple and straightforward: there is no other source for truth, so how could he look anywhere else (John 6:68–69)?
And yet, in his declaration, Peter made a faulty assumption. His statement used the term "we," which in that context means the inner circle of twelve men learning from Christ. But this group includes Judas Iscariot, who would eventually become a traitor and betray Jesus to His death.
Other Scripture points out that Jesus knew the real motives of everyone around Him (John 2:24–25; Mark 2:8). This is what allowed Him to say, in no uncertain terms, that the people who sought Him out in Capernaum weren't there for truth—they were there for free food (John 6:26). God's reasons for doing what He does, or allowing what He allows, are ultimately His alone. Christ knows that Judas is not really a believer, but He has kept Him in the inner circle, in order to complete His mission.
John 6:60–71 shows the drastic impact of Jesus' teaching on the crowd: most walk away. When confronted with spiritual needs and a spiritual message, most people will turn it down. What society wants is spectacle, material things, and a political savior. The more Jesus insists on being the means to eternal life, the angrier the crowd becomes, until the vast majority simply abandon Him. The twelve disciples, on the other hand, seem willing to follow Jesus, though they are also struggling to accept His recent claims. Peter's declaration will be the third of John's seven witnesses to Jesus' divinity.
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.
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.
The gospel of John was written by the disciple John, decades later than the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. 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”—in order to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in all of 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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