John 6:1-5 (NIV) 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?”
On verses 1-5: Notice that when Jesus sees the crowd, his heart goes out to them and he wants to serve them. When he sees the crowd, he probably envisions fields ripe for harvest. What do you see when you see crowds in your city? Like Jesus may you have a heart for the people around you. Like Jesus, may you desire for God to work powerfully in their lives. As we will see in this passage, multitudes will be blessed when the hearts of a few willing and courageous individuals match the heart of God.
John 6:6-7 (NIV) 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!”
On verses 6-7: Jesus asked Philip a question about where to get bread to feed the crowd, but Jesus already knew what he was going to do (v6). So why did Jesus ask? Once again we see that when Jesus asks you a question, it’s not because he doesn’t know the answer. Jesus asks you a question because he wants to reveal something to you that you didn’t readily see yourself. In this case, before Jesus would perform one of his most famous miracles, Jesus wanted Philip to see the magnitude of the miracle he was about to do.
John 6:8-11 (NIV) 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.
On verses 8-11: Notice that whereas the disciples looked down on what they had, Jesus gave thanks to the Father for what they had (“Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks…”). Jesus put what they had to use, as little as it might seem to others. What’s the lesson here? Rather than complaining about the little that you have, be thankful for what you have and put it to good use. Others will be impacted when you do.
John 6:12 (NIV) 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.”
On verse 12: I love that Jesus is not one to waste even the leftovers. Rather, he makes use even of the things others would discard and leave behind. Like a great coach who sees value where others don’t see it, Jesus has this way of maximizing his use of people and things.
Also, the little boy who gave away his five loaves and two fish was the unsung hero here. The story of his life is that when you give to God the little that you think you have, He can feed a multitude. Also, when you give to God first, He will make sure you are taken care of, in addition to you helping others in the process.
John 6:13 (NIV) 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
On verse 13: In the Bible 12 is often symbolic of perfection or completion. The 12 baskets of leftovers suggest that Jesus’ provision for the people was perfect and complete, perfectly sufficient to meet their needs. Likewise, when Jesus the bread of life broke himself on the cross for us, his provision for our needs was perfect and complete.
John 6:14-15 (NIV) 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.
On verses 14-15: While Jesus served the people, notice that Jesus would not let the people he served dictate his schedule or run his agenda. Jesus was a servant of all but a slave to nobody. Likewise, may you be humble to serve others, but may you also be careful not to allow yourself to be controlled by people who do not have your best interest in mind.
Lord Jesus, no one has as big a heart as you do. No one serves like you serve. No one provides the way you provide. Thank You that we get to serve such a big-hearted God. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!