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?”
Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!…Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted (about five thousand men were there).
“Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
Jesus often taught object lessons to his followers—there was a physical connection to the spiritual truths he taught. Here he uses bread, the staple of a mediteranean diet. Five thousand plus people gathered to be healed and to hear Jesus teach. They were far from a town and the only food for miles was the lunch of a boy (five small loaves and two fish). Jesus miraculously provides food for all—with leftovers!
In between these passages, Jesus and his disciples go across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum and some of those who were fed the previous day follow him there and ask for more miracles…
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
Some of those who followed Jesus were simply looking for the benefits he provided like physical healing. Despite the fact Jesus healed diseases, cast out demons, and fed five thousand with five small loaves of bread, they still didn’t believe he was who he said he was. They asked for more signs.
We are by nature skeptics. We want proof, yet when we get it we want more…
“Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6 (NIV)
Jesus claims to be the bread of life—partake of him and you will live. This was a hard teaching for many.
“But what about you? Who do you say I am”