John 6:1-15

During His ministry, Jesus performed countless miracles and taught numerous individuals and groups. The one miracle preserved in all four gospel accounts is Jesus feeding the multitude (cf. Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:33-44; Luke 9:12-17; John 6:1-15). The details surrounding this miracle are different in each of the gospels, but the result of this specific miracle gives us a greater appreciation for Jesus’ compassion, power, and deity.

Jesus’ compassion was not merely an external response to the people’s constant call for miracles and healing, but rather He was inwardly motivated to care for His sheep (Mark 6:33-34). The compassion of Jesus is demonstrated throughout His ministry from healing a leper, to raising a widow’s son, to feeding five thousand men, not including women and children, and ultimately through His own death, burial, and resurrection. Man’s greatest need was for a Savior – Jesus!

Jesus’ power was also demonstrated throughout His ministry, but there was something special about this particular miracle. Jesus had the people to sit down on the green grass (cf. John 6:4; Mark 6:39). He took the five loaves and two fish, blessed them, and continued to give to His disciples until the people were satisfied. Then He called for His disciples to retrieve any leftovers and every account tells us – “So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten” (John 6:13). The abundance of this miracle demonstrates that the same God who fed Israel in the wilderness for 40 years is the same God who fed this multitude in the wilderness of Galilee.

Finally, Jesus’ deity is clearly on display throughout this miracle. Jesus being motivated by His compassion is a manifestation of God’s rich mercy and grace. Jesus used His foreknowledge to test Philip, when He asked, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?” (John 6:5-7). In the gospel of Luke, this miracle was the transition point for Jesus to ask His disciples – “Who do the people say that I am?” (Luke 9:18).  Each of these build the case for Jesus being exactly who He had proclaimed Himself to be - the Son of God! If only those who witnessed these things would have realized the One who stood before them and had fed them in the wilderness. Just as those of Jesus’ day - we too can miss the mark by not reading, believing, obeying, and following Jesus as our Lord and Savior!