It’s the story we have all known for years, the feeding of the five thousand! But before you get bored, look again at John 6:1-21. It is strange how Jesus, who often refused to perform public miracles, here feeds a very large number. True, they need the food, but there is much more to it than that!
Jesus deliberately involves other people – the boy with loaves and fish, the disciples. It is God’s power, but they are being taught to be participants. Then John notes it was Passover time. He’s not just giving a date – he is remembering the significance of the first Passover, as God’s people escaped cruel slavery, shared a meal, marked their homes with blood, and began to learn new ways. There will be another Passover meal to be shared in Jerusalem before the betrayal and death. The timing is significant.
Even the gathering of leftovers has a point. God can, and did, provide – and generously! But if God’s Kingdom meets needs, let us not get lazy. Jesus will not be made King. (How ironic for the Messiah, yet this is not the time, or the way). He will again show his power on the lake, and go on teaching about how he chooses to use it, and what sort of a King he will be.
We shall continue reading this chapter for a couple of weeks yet – it has much more to say. But start by seeing how much more than a free picnic is remembered here.