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Gospel of John - Chapter 6 - Lesson 1

Posted on March 16, 2016 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)

John 6:1 After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick.


Jesus has moved from Judea in the south to the northern end of the Sea of Galilee. Many people followed Him there. The people were not following the Messenger for His message but to see what phenomenal sign He might do next. The crowd had particular interest in miraculous healing of the sick.


John 6:3 Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.


Jesus sat down with His disciples, perhaps to teach or perhaps to rest awhile. Remember, the microphone had not yet been invented, so a mountainside could provide a natural way of projecting His voice to the stadium worthy crowd. Several months had probably passed since Jesus healed the man by the pool because it is now time for anotherJewish feast.


John 6:5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” 6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.


Jesus looked up and saw the large crowd approaching Him and His disciples. Jesus was setting Philip up when He asked him where they could buy bread. Would Philip realize Jesus could solve the problem? Of course, Jesus, being omniscient (all-knowing), already knew that He was going to miraculously provide for supper.


John 6:7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.”


Two hundred denarii would barely buy each of them a bite, not even a snack, let alone a meal. That amount of money would have been eight months’ wages for the common man! So basically Philip is telling Jesus, “No way!” Philip realizes the crowd is too large and their funds too small.


John 6:8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, 9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”


Andrew points out what they do have and that it is far from enough. Maybe Andrew was suggesting a Galilean potluck stew. The church I grew up in called this a “hobo stew” when each church member brought whatever they had and tossed it in a giant pot. It also reminds us of the story of “Stone Soup.” If you do not know that children’s story, look it up. It’s a great lesson on sharing. Back to THIS story. A little boy shared his lunch, and must have been amazed at the outcome! Jesus was about to show them what a little can become in the Master’s hands.


This miracle is the only one recorded in all four gospels. See also, Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17.


John 6:10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number.


John tells us how many men there were, but since these were probably families coming out to see and hear Jesus, but there could have been as many as 20,000 people when you counted women and children. Both Mark and Luke specify that they sat in small groups of 50 or 100. Jesus had them do this in an orderly manner to make sure everyone was fed and no one was forgotten.


John 6:11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.


Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks for them, and then instructed the disciples to distribute them. He did the same thing with the fish, as much as they wanted. Wow! This denotes that Jesus has an endless supply and wants to satisfy their hunger, physically in this example, but more importantly spiritually as well. He did not ration the food but gave liberally. Jesus gave them the all you can eat buffet or at least an all you can eat fish sandwich. Bottom line – the Lord is able to supply everything we need, physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually. Notice that even though the crowd’s motives in coming out were just to see signs and miracles, Jesus in His mercy feeds them anyway.


John 6:12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten.


When everyone was loosening the sash on their robe, Jesus instructed the disciples to gather up the leftovers. He did not want any food wasted. They gathered twelve full baskets of bread fragments. One little boy had compassion on the crowd and gave up his small portion of food, and Jesus multiplied it. We do not know what they did with the baskets full of bread because scripture does not tell us, but Jesus did not want them wasted so we can be sure they were used by someone.


John 6:14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”


This was the miracle involving the largest number of people at one time. The Lord showed up and showed off. This was the fourth sign that John recorded to show that Jesus is God. The first was turning water into wine, and now this one is multiplying bread – the two elements of the Lord’s supper (communion). Hmmmm. (Selah – think about it). The people were probably thinking of the Prophet that Moses foretold but may or may not have understood that Prophet to be the Messiah. They were at least elevating Him to a higher status than that of a mere man.


John 6:15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.


Jesus knew the inward thoughts of the people after He fed them. The people were thinking of Jesus as their version of Messiah – military leader and king who would lead them to conquer the Roman oppressors. Right Person, wrong book – we’re not in Revelation yet. Since this was not Jesus’ purpose at that time, He went up to a mountain to pray by himself.

Q – As we learned in John chapter 1, Jesus created everything that there is, so it should not surprise us that He could create a meal for thousands of people from a few loaves and fishes. Are you trusting Jesus to supply all your needs? When anxiety tries to overtake you, are you taking your concerns to Jesus? (Philippians 4:6-7) We are to supposed to do this. However, beware of seeking only what Jesus can supply instead of seeking to serve Him. (Matthew 6:33)