Summary: Jesus feeds thousands
This is a Test
John is unique. Unlike any other gospel. John is new, different. Different stories, different teachings, different characters. Events occur mostly in Judea not Galilee, no parables at all - but sermon like conversations.
Written 60 years or more after the resurrection, the author is working hard to correct false teaching that had begun to spread, gnosticism in the earliest stages was questioning the physical being of Jesus, making Him out to be a spirit. John will have none of that. Jesus is fully human AND fully God.
You'll find no stories about Satan, demons or exorcisms, no Sermon on the Mount, and no predictions of end times or apocalyptic teachings.
You won't even find the story of the last supper in John. Unless ... We'll get to that later.
In fact, almost no story in John aligns clearly with any of the gospel stories in Matt. Mark or Luke, but here in the 6th chapter we find TWO. Next week we'll read the story of Jesus walking on the water to his disciples. This week we'll read the lone miracle recorded in every gospel. Feeding 5000. So if John places this story in his story, there must be something very important in it.
Remember, John uses the Jewish festivals to reveal who Jesus is. Here - the Passover feast was coming up John uses the miracle of the feeding the 5000 to institute a Passover idea.
Read John 6:1-15
JN 6:1 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 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, "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, "Have 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.
Why are the people following? -
Jesus healed the sick.
Rice Christians complaint.
Have compassion on them.
Vs. 3 Jesus sat down with His disciples - rabbi style
Phil - where shall we buy bread?
Rabbis don't ask questions without knowing the answers
Phil was a bean counter, numbers man
Has Jesus asked anything of you as a test
Give an example
We're broke - according to Phil's calculator
While Phil is doing the math, Andy's hunting down a solution
Bringing back 5 small loaves and two sardines (bring them if I can)
How can we give thanks for that.
How many people would look at that solution as a stupid one -
What did Jesus do when he figured out their plans to make him a king? Go on a retreat!
What Passover idea did John use this story to tell?
Historically, the church fathers considered the missing story of the Lord's Supper or the Last Supper to be embodied in this story.
Think about the 4 elements of communion
Bless - Eucharist - literally Thanksgiving - John carefully chooses this word
Break - This is my body, broken for you
Give - take eat -
Gather leftovers - None lost - eat all of it
What is different with the communion story in this setting
Far more people are invited into the meal
John may have believed that this miracle was a teaching more than satisfying hunger.
Next Step - Serve communion
Is Jesus asking anything of you?
Does your solution seem ridiculously small?
Can you give thanks for what you have been given?