The feeding of the multitude is the only miracle of Jesus that is present in all four gospel writings. This snapshot of a day in the life of Jesus gives us so much insight as to who he is and how we should respond to him.
First of all, he knows our physical and spiritual needs and is ready to fulfill them when we come to him. There are no limits to the blessings that God brings us through Jesus. Not only did the people have enough to eat, there were twelve baskets of leftovers. Jesus is more than enough for us as well.
Next, notice that John writes, “he distributed them (the loaves) to those who were seated.” Jesus is an active Lord. He does not sit and give orders, he gets up and serves. What an inspiration for us! As we follow in the steps of Christ, we have a calling to get up and serve as well.
It is also important to notice the role that giving thanks plays in this miracle. Jesus gave thanks for the small amount of bread and fish. He gave thanks for what he had without asking for more and that little became enough. Of course, Jesus knew what was about to happen but he sets a great example for us in this moment. When we live in constant thankfulness to God for His grace and mercy, little things become plenty. When we trust God to give us what we need, we can live with peace and joy rather than worry. We are prepared to follow him with our basket of blessings, no matter how full or empty it may seem. Somehow, it’s always enough for the day.
The people were amazed and moved. They saw the truth about Jesus. However, they wanted to make him an earthly king. We know that the idea of Jesus as an earthly king is much smaller than who Jesus really is. The people’s view was very limited. Our view is limited at times as well. We must strive to not make Jesus our Lord on our terms but to allow him to be the Lord of our entire life.
In John’s telling of this miracle, he mentions that it is near the time of Passover. John once again is pointing the reader to the connection between the old law and the new salvation through Jesus. John chapter 5 ends with Jesus telling the people that if they truly believed Moses, then they would believe him. The mountain setting and later the water remind us of the events of the Israelites’ exodus under Moses’s leadership. The bread and the fish point toward manna and quail. Moses also instructed the people on what to with the leftovers. In verse 14 the people understand. Just like the exodus and the first Passover was a liberation of God’s people, the people see Jesus as the fulfillment of the one Moses spoke of and they are ready for a revolution.
However, the revolution of God’s love is a much more personal one than what the people imagined. It is a daily choice to turn oneself over to him. We have the opportunity to revolutionize our hearts in giving it to Him each day and each moment. May we always be willing to serve The Lord on His terms instead of our own.