John 6 = Feeding of the 5,000+
Bible Background: The Feeding of the 5,000 is perhaps Jesus’ most memorable miracle, and the only one recorded in all 4 gospels! But John doesn’t “do” ‘miracles’. John calls them ‘signs’. Signs point to something more! ‘Signs’ point us to Jesus! Also in John’s gospel, Jesus makes these powerful “I Am” claims. As chapter 6 unfolds, he says “I Am the Bread of Life!”
Digging Deeper: 1. Large crowds are following Jesus. They’ve seen what he could do for the sick! Now they wonder what he can do for them! It’s Jesus’ idea to feed the crowds. John makes it sound like Jesus is testing Philip by asking: Where are we to buy enough bread for all these people? Philip basically says: We can’t! We don’t have enough $$$! (We call that ‘scarcity’ thinking!)
2. Andrew has an idea “There is a boy here with 5 loaves and 2 fish! BUT, that’ll never be enough!” Andrew cuts off his own idea with the worry that it’s “not enough”. But it’s enough for a start! Jesus takes the loaves, gives thanks, and distributes them. Same with the fish: “as much as they wanted!” “All you can eat!
3. And then there are leftovers! More leftovers than what they started with! Reminds us of Jesus’ first “miracle/sign” in John’s gospel: turning big jugs of water into huge quantities of wine! (How’s that for ‘abundance’ thinking?) Hmmm, add those two stories together: Lots of wine + Lots of bread = Lots of Holy Communion?
4. The people believe Jesus to be a prophet-someone sent from God; who is capable of great deeds because he comes from God! They have at least a partial understanding of who Jesus really is!
5. Some ‘food’ for thought:
+What is the significance of the boy offerings his lunch? How does he inspire us to offer what we can?
+When we look at our community or world, when do we feel like the disciples-unable to meet the needs that are out there? What makes us still try?
+Think of a time when God provided more than you needed. How did this happen? What did you do?
+Some in our community need food. Some need shelter. Some need treatment for mental health or addiction issues. All of them need love and need to know that their lives matter.
6. People do need to be fed spiritually and physically. See how our offerings to our ELCA Hunger Appeal make a difference! https://elca.org/hunger