John 6:1-21

Today’s reading is John 6:1-21.
Open your Bible or journal to mark some observations.
+ Note/record everything quantified in this passage, every detail assigned a number.
+ Note/record all the ways Jesus displays his authority over the natural world.
+ Note/record the words Jesus speaks.
In these familiar accounts of Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand and walking on water, we come face to tender face with the full humanity and full divinity of Emmanuel, God with us. Our immeasurable, infinite, spirit God steps into a very measurable, finite, physical world. He inhabits flesh in a fixed point of time and space. He wears clothes and shoes cut from patterns, sized to fit. In this passage, we read that Passover is at hand—a day marked on a calendar, measured by time. The crowd follows Jesus to a specified place, a grassy area, up the mountain on the other side of the Sea of Galilee. More than 5000 hungry people gather near him. They need money to buy food. Philip notes that 200 denarii of bread wouldn’t begin to satisfy this crowd, and Andrew comments that five loaves and two fish are nothing for so many. Later, when Jesus’ disciples cross the sea, they row three or four miles to another town, Capernaum. Their steps on land and strokes across the water could be marked and measured on a map.
Being fully human, Jesus is no less fully God. When He asks Philip where to buy bread for the people to eat, Jesus already knows how He will carry out the impossible. He gives thanks for one boy’s meager lunch, and miraculously multiplies bread and fish so that the entire crowd eats their fill, and His disciples gather up twelve baskets of leftovers. Later, in the dark of evening, on rough seas and in strong winds, Jesus walks across the waves to meet His disciples where they row. After calming their fears, Jesus climbs into their boat, and immediately they arrive at their destination. Who is this man, that even the wind and waves obey Him?
Jesus’ words show deep compassion. He expresses concern for the people’s hunger; He calms the disciples’ fears. He sympathizes with human weakness, has been tempted in every way (Hebrews 4:15). Though He knows hunger, He disregards His own. Just two chapters earlier, Jesus dismissed His disciples’ encouragement to eat, saying “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work” (John 4:31-34).
The work of Jesus goes far beyond the feeding of thousands on the shores of Galilee. He feeds our souls, that we can be presently satisfied and rejoice in the promise of eternal life. He is Himself the Bread of Life, His body given for our salvation.
Just for today-

  • Jesus had compassion on those who were hurting, hungry and afraid. Where is God calling you to show compassion? Who can you offer a word of encouragement today?
  • With five loaves and two fish, Jesus fed a crowd of 5000 plus. Do you have time or resources to give that God might multiply for those in need?
Rebecca Janni | Author

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