Lord, help me to realize that every meal on my table is ultimately supplied by You.
Read John 6:1–15
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 the sick. 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 toward 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, “Have 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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
In this new day, what differences do you really expect Jesus to make?
This familiar story (recorded in all four gospels) demonstrates a gloriously creative act of God incarnate. John records several distinctive details. Easily overlooked is his reference to Passover (4) with its celebration, among other things, of God’s feeding his people (Exod. 16). This makes an important back-story.
Only John records Jesus asking Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these
people to eat?” (5). It is a testing question. And what a test! After witnessing many miraculous signs (2), does Philip have enough faith to see that another miracle is possible? His prosaic answer reveals a very practical but closed mindset. Yet, it’s understandable, isn’t it? What difference can Jesus really be expected to make? Too often, when faced by problems, we close our minds to God’s possibilities. We need to be stretched to see how God can work beyond our expectations. He can always do immeasurably more than we imagine!
Further, John ends the story with this shocking detail: the people wanted to
“make [Jesus] king by force” (15), a dangerous move. Remember how he rejected the temptations of turning stones to bread in order to gain a cheap
kingship (Matt. 4:2–11). He will not abuse divine power for personal ends.
Yet, risking instant popular acclaim, Jesus here uses divine power to meet
genuine need—like providing manna in the desert. How easily the crowd
misunderstands and tries to elevate him as their political savior, which
would be disastrous for his Father’s mission; Jesus must totally reject it. In light of the Roman occupation, it would be disastrous also for Judea. But
feeding the crowd with bread is not the way to qualify as Savior of the
world. No. He is the Bread of Life, with “food that endures to eternal life” (John 6:27). Therein lies the extraordinary truth Jesus is preparing them for.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power…” (Eph. 3:20). Add a prayer request that is beyond your imagining.
Lord, Your supreme capability is beyond our comprehension. Feed each of us abundantly with both kinds of bread and always keep our minds open to Your possibilities.
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