Followed by a crowd of over five thousand, Jesus talks to Philip about the logistical problems of feeding the people. Behind the scenes, Andrew gleans pertinent information, for he steps up and says, “There’s a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?” (John 6:8-9) I wonder if Andrew asked around or if the kid happened to be eavesdropping and volunteered the info.
The people sit down on the grassy hillside. Jesus offers thanks for the boy’s lunch. In my imagination, he takes a loaf from the boy’s sack, breaks it in two and puts it in a basket, takes another loaf from the sack, breaks it, and repeatedly reaches into the sack, which always yields more. Jesus works faster and faster, filling one basket and another and another. A never-ending supply of bread and fish! The disciples pass around the food, which the people eat until they’re satisfied. When the disciples line up twelve baskets of leftovers on either side of Jesus, the astonished crowd buzzes with excitement. “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” (John 6:14)
Jesus leaves, but on the following day, the crowd finds him again. The conversation turns to bread, and they boast about the manna Moses gave their forefathers. Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” (John 6:32-33)
Perhaps they wonder what he means by that which comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world. Maybe they’re still thinking of how he satisfied their physical hunger when they respond, “Lord, always give us this bread.” (John 6:34) If I’d been there, I’d have wondered what he was leading up to.
Jesus makes it plain to them (and us), “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” (John 6:35)
From October readings for Days 18, 19, and 20
Jeremiah 49, 50, and 51
Song of Solomon 3, 4:1-7, and 4:8-16
John 6:1-15, 6:16-24, and 6:25-40
I Peter 2:18-25, 3:1-7, and 3:8-12