Part II of our series on Sharing Your Bread
That, as we identified in our last post is the most important question raised by Jesus in his feeding of the 5,000.
And if you answered, “From the little boy, with God’s help,” then you have officially missed the point of the story! So let’s leave the little boy alone and read further and see if we can answer Jesus’ question, “Where shall we buy bread for all of these people to eat?”
Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
Now skip ahead to verse 25 where Jesus explains the sign:
When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.” (John 6:25-26)
Let’s rephrase verse 26 in light of what we just learned about miracles and signs. We could say it this way:
“Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me”—meaning, you’re following me around and trying to make me king—“in the physical realm because of what I can do for your body. But that’s because you’re focused only on the flesh and what your body needs. You’re missing the sign: the invisible realm is bursting into the visible! Look through me into the invisible realm and behold your true Father, who is providing for all of your needs—body, soul, and spirit—and who is calling you to have fellowship at his table.”
Jesus doesn’t feed the crowd because they are hungry or even because they ask.
He feeds the crowd because he is mirroring his Father’s goodness into the world, and part of his Father’s goodness is that his Father invites us to his table. As we learned last month, the vocation God intended (and still intends) for all human beings is mirroring God into the visible realm.
He doesn’t just want us to do good stuff. He wants us to mirror exactly what he is doing.
Have you experienced God’s invitation to his table? What physical form did that take? How can you mirror that to others?