More than social work: the feeding of the five thousand

This is a famous miracle.  It’s highly likely that you know the account of Jesus’s feeding five thousand men and their families with five barley loaves and two fish.  You can read more about it in John 6

When we think through this story, we can rightly conclude that Jesus was displaying His omnipotence.  He can take such a small amount of food and feed multitudes and have leftovers, to boot.  We can also see God’s compassion and mercy.  But is there something else going on here?

The next day, Jesus would say to the crowds, 

I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. – John 6:35

This was less popular than the miracle.  Many would leave Him after this sermon. Isn’t that unbelievable?  Just the day before, He fed thousands of people with five loaves and two fish, and they wanted to make Him king, but today, they grumble against Him and leave Him.  How fickle is the human heart apart from grace.  

Later, during the Passover meal before the crucifixion, He would establish the Lord’s Supper, saying the bread was His body broken for them.  

So, we see bread scattered throughout the book of John, which leads us back to the miracle.  What was the feeding of the five thousand all about?  It wasn’t just about meeting physical needs through a miracle.  It was pointing forward to the gospel.  Jesus is the bread, and the grace and mercy that He offers is abundant.  And anyone who will eat will be satisfied forever.  


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