Sunday 25 July 2021

Bible Book:

When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, 'Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?' He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. (vs 5-6)

John 6:1-21 Sunday 25 July 2021

Psalm 145 


In the first sign of today's passage, Jesus takes loaves and fishes and acts as any good Jewish host would. In the presence of hungry people he blesses the food, breaks it, and shares it around. It may have been a miracle, but from Jesus it was a far more down-to-earth, straightforward response to hunger than his disciples expected. They had worried questions about what they lacked. They were talking organisation and budgets. But Jesus was already getting on with what they had.

Although the text says there were 5,000 fed that day (hopefully including the boy who gave his lunch!) the first readers would have understood that to mean a much higher number – including women and children.

This story appears in all four gospels. It shows Jesus as the source not just of spiritual truths, but also of the 'daily bread' of life. He responded to real and tangible needs in a timely and thoughtful way. But it was more than that. By the end of John chapter 6, Jesus would go on to teach that he was "the bread of life" (v. 35). The feeding of the 5,000 anticipated what happens at Holy Communion: Jesus, as host, gave himself to feed the real hunger of real people, then as now.

Walking over water and carrying his disciples safely to shore, the second miracle gave another sign of who Jesus was. This time he shows it privately, having avoided the compulsion of the crowd to "take him by force to make him king" (v.  15). Where Jesus says "It is I; do not be afraid" (v. 20), the text of the original Greek says 'It is I am'. He reveals himself as God to his disciples by using the same form of words used in the Old Testament for the name of God (see Exodus 3:14).

They were awestruck. This meant that Jesus' love for them was the same love God showed the people in the wilderness after the flight from Egypt. And Jesus brought them immediately to the shore.

To Ponder:

    • What real needs do you have or see today, that look impossible to meet?
    • The boy had five loaves and two fishes to give to Jesus. How amazed would you be to see it feed 5,000?
    • If you regularly take bread and wine at Holy Communion, what does it mean to you?


First published in 2018.

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