JOHN 6:1-15 (NIV – UK)
Jesus feeds the five thousand
1 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing those who were ill. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples.4 The Jewish Passover Festival was near.
5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming towards him, he said to Philip, ‘Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?’ 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
7 Philip answered him, ‘It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!’
8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 ‘Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?’
10 Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, ‘Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.’ 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, ‘Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.’ 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
From five loaves of bread and two fish Jesus fed 5,000 men – a miracle of great power – yet what does it tell us about the one who performed it?
As the crowds came towards Jesus his first priority is to feed them (v. 5). This isn’t an insignificant detail. Jesus here displays in a physical and material way something which is also a spiritual reality – when we go to Jesus, we will be fed. And notice how much they are fed – until ‘they had all had enough’ (v. 12). Jesus offers enough food for us to be fully satisfied. But notice also how there was still an abundance left over, which was gathered up in baskets (v. 12-13). Jesus doesn’t just offer enough, but he offers more than enough – a cup that is full to overflowing. In Jesus there is more than enough to satisfy every need.
The people were sat at down on the grass, as Jesus was on the mountainside – they were sat at his feet – an appropriate position when we come to Jesus, receiving and learning. When the people had been fed by Jesus they said: ‘Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world’ – i.e. this is the Messiah. And they were correct. Yet simply acknowledging that Jesus is the Messiah is not quite enough. Many a person has acknowledged that Jesus is the Messiah, yet refused to give him their life. The response to Jesus must be to remain at his feet, feasting on him, receiving from him. Jesus is the Bread of Life – all our needs are met in him.
Question: Where do you go for spiritual nourishment? Where are you positioned? Are you sat at the feet of Jesus?