Amazing Grace Baptist Church, Hamburg
Bible Study material on John 6:1-15
John 6:1-15 presents Jesus’ miracle of feeding 5,000. It showers Jesus as the supplier of human need and it prepares the reader for Jesus’ testimony that he is the bread of life. The first three signs already studied illustrated how a person is saved through the Word, by faith, and by grace. This fourth sign (feeding the 5000) shows us that salvation satisfies the inner needs of the heart. The multiplication of the loaves provides a way for the Messiah to present himself as the Bread of Life. Importantly, this fourth sign was a significant turning point in the ministry of Jesus and is the only miracle recorded in all four Gospels. After this miracle and the teaching that came from it, many of those who had been following Jesus left him. Some people see a connection between the Passover (mentioned in verse 4) and Jesus offering himself as the Bread of Life because the Passover symbolizes God’s provision for life and salvation (see 1 Corinthians 5:7).
Brief overview of the story
A great multitude had gathered to hear Jesus. Undoubtedly, they were hungry for the word of life. Jesus’ disciples desired to send them away at the end of the day since they did not have adequate resources to feed them. Some of the disciples even complained about how much money it would take to feed such a large crowd. For at least six month’s wages could not have fed them! Jesus, as the Bread of Life, took the little they had which was five loaves and two fish. After giving thanks to his heavenly Father, he distributed them to all until they were satisfied of their hunger.
Jesus as the true bread from heaven for abundant life
This miraculous sign of feeding the five thousand signified that God has indeed sent Jesus as the anointed Prophet and King. For the people of Israel had been waiting for the prophet in accordance to Moses’ prophecy in Deuteronomy 18:15 that The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brethren – him shall you heed. Jesus’ miracle of feeding the five thousand is the only miracle that is repeated in all four Gospel accounts. Significantly, the miraculous feeding of such a great multitude pointed to God’s provision of manna in the wilderness for the people of Israel under Moses’ leadership (Exodus 16). This daily provision of food in the barren wilderness looked forward to the true heavenly bread which Jesus would offer his followers.
The bread that makes us live for ever is Jesus Christ
Jesus later makes a claim that he is the true bread of heaven that can satisfy the deepest hunger human experience. As the true bread of heaven, the sign of the multiplication of the bread seems to prefigure Jesus’ body that he would share for us and thus symbolized by the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. Insightfully, this supernatural food brings healing for both body and soul and gives us strength for our heavenly journey.
Jesus alone satisfies the deepest desire of our hearts
The feeding of the five thousand reveals God’s generous nature and great kindness towards us. When God provides, he gives abundantly. God provides more than we need for ourselves so that we may have something to share with others, especially those who lack what they need. God uses the little that we have and multiplies it for the good of others.
It pleases God to partner with us in the expansion of his kingdom
Jesus used what his followers had for the miracle of multiplication. He also instructed the multitude to sit properly and further ordered the disciples to share the loaves of bread. Thereafter, he asked them to gather the fragments. All these steps show how Jesus worked closely with his followers. Thus, it pleases God to partner with humanity for the expansion of God’s kingdom in any area of our lives.
This miracle then reminds us that, while salvation is of the Lord and given only by grace, God uses human instruments to take the Gospel message to people. Jesus gave the bread and fish to his disciples, and they shared it with the people. “How shall they hear without a preacher?” asks Paul in Romans 10:14. If, like the little boy in verse 9, we will give Him our all— He will take it, break it and use it to bless others.
1. What question did Jesus ask Phillip and why did he ask him such a question?
2. Which of the responses/answers given to Jesus do you comfortably identify yourself with?
3. Identify three ways that you can partner with Jesus for your miracle and prosperity.
4. To what extent is Jesus the bread of your life?