Summary: The is the forth sign in the book of John, the feeding of the five thousand. Jesus reveals himself to be the bread of life.
Jesus is the Bread of Life
I have been covering the seven signs of John. In the first sign, the turning of the water into wine, Jesus revealed how he is able to take useless ritual, and turn it into an everlasting covenant. In the second sign, the healing of the officials son, Jesus demonstrates how He is the word of God. In the third sign, the healing of the man at the pool, we discovered that Jesus is the one who is able to forgive sins. We now come on to the forth sign of the book of John, the feeding of the five thousand.
We have said that in the Gospel of John, he makes no secret of why he write this account of Jesus’ life.
... that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
We said that John wrote the Gospel so that people may know who Jesus is, that He is Christ, the Son of God, and so that people might have life by believing in Him. John therefore picks out events in Jesus’ life that display Him for who He is. John himself admits, in the verse before the one that we have just read, and at the end of his book, that there are many other things that he could have included. But instead John includes those miracles and teachings he records as evidence of who Jesus is to the people. Included are seven miracles which John explains are signs to show that Jesus is the one the prophets spoke of in the old testament. Through these signs John displays how Jesus is the fulfilment of the old testament.
Today we start at chapter 6 of the book of John. This sign, like the six, has certain properties. Firstly there is a test show the level of peoples faith before the miracle, then Jesus performs the sign as a revelation of who He is, and then finally John records the teaching of Jesus in relation to this sign. He shows how the combination of these three things affects the people.
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 miraculous signs he had performed on the sick.
3:Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples.
4:The Jewish Passover Feast 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, "Eight months’ wages would not 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 the men sat down, about five thousand of them.
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 miraculous sign that Jesus did, 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.
... The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.
We can see all through both the old and new testament the Lord loves to test His people to find out where their hearts are. When we read Johns account of this miracle it is not long before He puts somebody to the test. This time, it is His disciple Philip with the honour. Jesus asks him..."Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" Why does Jesus ask Philip? Firstly we find that Philip was a local. In the other accounts of this miracle we discover that it took place in a location called Bethsaida. This is the very place that we find in John 1:44, Philip, as well as Andrew and Peter all lived. Philip would have known the local town and shops well. Philip however can’t comprehend the question, ’Where’ can we buy the food, but instead, can only think of ’How?’