Most Christians know the narrative about when Jesus took 5 loaves of bread and two fish and fed 5,000 men, plus all the women and children who were with them. But do we know why Jesus did such a thing?
Some scholars estimate that there were 15,000-20,000 people who flocked to the hillsides countryside of Galilee, "because they saw the signs he was doing on the sick" (John 6:2). They wanted to see Jesus heal people or they wanted to be healed. They wanted to be a part. Now, many say that number seems too large. To them, I ask if they've ever seen the lines that assemble for a free Slurpee day at Seven-11 or how many people dress up like cows and line up for a free chicken sandwich at Chick-fil-A. Even just recently, Build-a-Bear had to shut down because thousands of people cued up around a local mall to save $12 on a stuffed animal. If thousands of people would gather for these simple, trivial things, how many more would line up to be healed or see such a miracle?
Jesus took five small loaves of bread and broke them and passed them. He did the same with two fish. Think about that moment. How long does it take to pass the unbroken rolls around the dinner table at Thanksgiving? How about when you go out to eat at a place where they give you bread you have to cut or tear apart? Think about even how long it takes just to pass the bread and cup for the Lord's Supper at church? With this in mind, how many hours did the disciples watch the bread and fish just keep coming? That must have been overwhelming!
Back to our initial question: Why did Jesus feed all these people bread?
The answer is found in John 6:14. It reads, "When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, 'This is indeed the Prophet who is come into the world!'" It wasn't about their physical hunger (because Jesus rebukes them for that later). It was to show them that Jesus is the Prophet they were waiting for. The last and final Prophet the Moses told them about. The Perfect Prophet who would never die. The Prophet forever, never to have a successor.
This Sunday, I'm going to discuss the manna from heaven in the Old Testament, Moses' prophecy in Deuteronomy 28, and why Jesus feeding the masses proves he is the Christ who they were waiting for. He's God and our Savior. He's the living Prophet who speaks to us. Prophet Jesus is the one who reveals Truth and God's will to the world.
I hope you'll join us for worship and a study in God's Word as we continue with our series, "The Seven Signs of Jesus." See you Sunday!
For the Kingdom!
Pastor Bryan Catherman