John Calvin Complete Commentary - John 6:2 - 6:2

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John Calvin Complete Commentary - John 6:2 - 6:2


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2.And a great multitude followed him. So great ardor in following Christ arose from this, that, having beheld his power in miracles, they were convinced that he was some great prophet, and that he had been sent by God. But the Evangelist here omits what the other three relate, that Christ employed a part of the day in teaching and in healing the sick, and that, when the sun was setting, his disciples requested him to send away the multitudes, (Mat_14:13; Mar_6:34; Luk_9:11;) for he reckoned it enough to give the substance of it in a few words, that he might take this opportunity of leading us on to the remaining statements which immediately follow.

Here we see, in the first place, how eager was the desire of the people to hear Christ, since all of them, forgetting themselves, take no concern about spending the night in a desert place. So much the less excusable is our indifference, or rather our sloth, when we are so far from preferring the heavenly doctrine to the gnawings of hunger, that the slightest interruptions immediately lead us away from meditation on the heavenly life. Very rarely does it happen that Christ finds us free and disengaged from the entanglements of the world. So far is every one of us from being ready to follow him to a desert mountain, that scarcely one in ten can endure to receive him, when he presents himself at home in the midst of comforts. And though this disease prevails nearly throughout the whole world, yet it is certain that no man will be fit for the kingdom of God until, laying aside such delicacy, he learn to desire the food of the soul so earnestly that his belly shall not hinder him.

But as the flesh solicits us to attend to its conveniences, we ought likewise to observe that Christ, of his own accord, takes care of those who neglect themselves in order to follow him. (118) For he does not wait till they are famished, and cry out that they are perishing of hunger, and have nothing to eat, but he provides food for them before they have asked it. We shall perhaps be told that this does not always happen, for we often see that godly persons, though they have been entirely devoted to the kingdom of God, are exhausted and almost fainting with hunger. I reply, though Christ is pleased to try our faith and patience in this manner, yet from heaven he beholds our wants, and is careful to relieve them, as far as is necessary for our welfare; and when assistance is not immediately granted, it is done for the best reason, though that reason is concealed from us.



(118) “Pour le suyvre.”