“Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat (Jn. 6:5)?” …
With thousands of people approaching Jesus, this would seem like a reasonable question for Him to ask His disciple Philip. We learn from the Gospels that Philip was from the area near Bethsaida, and so one might rightly assume he would have a pretty good idea how to answer Jesus’ question. And yet, we see something immediately curious play out over the next verses.
He said this to test him, for He himself knew what He would do. Philip answered him, ‘Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.’ One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?’ (Jn. 6:6-9, ESV)
Translation? It was never really about the bread. Jesus absolutely fed well over 5,000 men present that day, but what He really wanted to make plain is simple: “I Am …” Or, according to His lengthier explanation in John 6:35 (ESV):
Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on Him God the Father has set His seal. … I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst. (Jn. 6:26-27, 35, ESV)
This is what Jesus wanted to communicate, and very few wanted to hear it.
After this many of His disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him. So Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?’ (Jn. 6:66-67, ESV)
And this is where we find ourselves in John 6. Jesus is not letting His identity remain secret any longer. He wants people to know exactly who He is, and what it means for those who want to follow Him. Here are some of my other takeaways from this week’s message and study in John 6:
- If God were exclusively to do “signs” in our life, there would be no room for faith. Growing in faith is part of becoming more like Jesus.
- Faith is a vital part of what we need to help us grow in our reliance on and trust in God.
- Having questions about God does not mean we cannot come to Jesus. God wants us to bring everything to Him, thus causing us to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus in the process of our growing understanding of who He is.
- Jesus does not always tell us everything outright, but He gives us more than enough to strengthen our faith in Him if we listen intently to what He says.
- God always knows the big picture. We do not.
- There is no holiness in poverty alone. But there is holiness in being content and satisfied with what we have.
- The 5,000 mentioned in this passage during this miracle were men … there were thousands more people present between women and children. (Jn. 6:10)
- Jesus always provides more than enough for people seeking Him out (Jn. 6:11-13)
- The vast crowds seeking Jesus out remained there clear through the next day. (Jn. 6:22-25)
- This is the first of seven “I Am” statements made by Jesus in the Gospel of John.
Now it is your turn! What are some of the things you discovered this week in John 6? What else did you get out of Pastor Mike’s sermon on Sunday and in your own study of the chapter?
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of Him who sent Me. And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. (Jn. 6:37-40, ESV)
Our study of the GOSPEL OF JOHN in review: