John 6:1 After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias.
2 And a multitude followed him, because they saw the signs which he did on those who were diseased.
3 Jesus went up on the mountain, and there sat down with his disciples.
4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.
5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a multitude was coming to him, Jesus said to Philip, “How are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?”
6 This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.
7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.”
8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him,
9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are they among so many?”
10 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.
11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.
12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost.”
13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten.
14 When the people saw the sign which he had done, they said, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!”
15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
•What is the general theme of the passage?
After this? Jesus had told these same people just a chapter ago “Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” After this…the crowd is still following. They probably were on their own journey into Jerusalem because “Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.” They “followed” the custom of worship and they “followed” the shiny object of miracles. Jesus had no illusions about the crowd or their needs. They needed food and He could do that. They wanted a sign and He could do that too.
• What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus did not assume His authority. He was the miracle worker but He included His disciples in the process of questions and answers because the goal was revealing that God was living up to His word through Jesus. That was the Miracle they needed to see.
• What does it say about people?
It seems unlikely that out of this huge crowd, only “one lad” came prepared with food. It also seems likely that while many of them had provision they were guarding for their own journey, they weren’t interested in sharing. These people might not even have realized they were part of a miracle at the moment they reached into that one basket for their share of “five barley loaves and two fish.” But by the time that one basket had been passed hand to hand to feed five thousand people, there was a miracle some of them would never forget, there were 12 baskets left over!
• Is there truth here for me?
Sometimes miracles happen in the most basic ways. I don’t want to miss the historical fact that this miracle was not just for that one moment — because there were leftovers! Many have already eaten their share before me but Jesus continually refills the miraculous nourishment of His Word. There’s plenty, take some and pass it on!