6:1Some 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 signs he had performed by healing the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Festival 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?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
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 they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 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.
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.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, 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. 
Why did Jesus perform this sign? He apparently had thought about it, as John indicates that He knew what He was going to do before He started questioning His disciples.
The people interpreted Jesus’ miracle as an indication that He was positioning himself politically. As king he could supply free food for the nation. This clearly was not Jesus’ intent. But what was His intent? Is there significance beyond the feeding of the crowd? A significance that extends beyond providing this meal, or even meals for life?
All of the signs in John’s Gospel point in two directions. They point to who Jesus is, and they point to the New Creation that He will bring. John doesn’t refer to these as miracles, but as signs because they point beyond the event and gift itself to something more significant. Jesus wanted people to understand the meaning of the signs, and sometimes expressed frustration when they didn’t seem to get it.
This sign points to Jesus as the new Moses, a fulfillment and perfection of what God was doing in Moses. John points us in this direction by mentioning the Passover connection and the 12 baskets of leftovers (think 12 tribes). As will be clear in the following discussion in this chapter, the people are to see a connection between the manna supplied in the time of Moses, and the bread supplied by Jesus. Jesus is “The Prophet,” the one like Moses whom Moses promised would come. (Deuteronomy 18:15)
But the sign also points forward. The goal of Jesus life, death and resurrection is to bring LIFE. This is the life fully connected to God that begins now as a gift through faith, that lasts forever, and reaches its ultimate fulfillment in the resurrection and new creation. In the new creation, there will be no hunger, no want, no thirst, no need. All will be graciously provided. In fact it will be an abundance. In the feeding of the 5000, Jesus provides a preview.
So what does this say to me? What I am always struck with in contemplating this account is the call to trust Jesus. He is certainly capable of supplying all our needs. He wants us to rely on Him each day for what we need, and so calls us to pray for daily bread, certainly a connection to the manna and to this incident. I can trust Jesus to provide for today, for life, and for eternity.
Lord Jesus, lead me to trust in You completely. Free me from worry, doubt and fear regarding the necessities of life. Help me find my comfort and confidence in You alone.
What is the Word leading you to pray about today?
To subscribe to Abide Daily Devotion e-mail please click here