Musing on John 6, 1 to 21

Is this just about showing through miracles that Jesus is divine?

In contrast to the records of these events in other Gospel, John’s retelling is after a lifetimes reflection. Are there any significant differences?


So the wind must have been against the disciples as they crossed the lake because the crowd could keep up.

Mountains around the Sea of Galilee are more like an average hill.

A days wages was one dinari, the Greek has Philip saying food would cost more than 200 dinari.

The Greek doesn’t say ‘so they sat down’ but ‘the men sat down, so 5000 men, plus women and children (so more like 5000 dinari needed!)

Bread was such an essential it was considered ‘sacred’ in the Middle East (still is), so it was unheard of not to pick up the pieces. They collected one basket full for each of the disciples -but no basket for Jesus.

Jesus provides a meal – women’s work in his day. He probably used a traditional blessing like this one – ‘Blessed is he who brings forth bread from the earth’.

The crowd see Jesus as the new prophet (Deut. 18,15, 18) and despite/because of all he has taught them and done they want to force him to be their new king (like a new David), to be a Zealot and kick out Antipas and the Romans (v 14,15).

The disciples decide not to wait for Jesus and get into trouble.


Allusions to Moses – they were in the ‘wilderness’ (ie not near a village), they had no food, God feeds them with supernatural food.

Allusions to Jesus temptations – This time Jesus does ‘turn stones into bread’, but to others not himself.

Allusions with Holy Communion – God feeds us with heavenly food whilst we’re still in the wilderness of this life. In a later passage of the same chapter Jesus says ‘I am the bread of life.’(6,35).

Compare to our recent gospel reading about Herod Antipas’ banquet. Antipas fed the rich and his banquet resulted in death, Jesus feeds the poor and brings life. They both offer people the gift of a kingdom, one earthy, one heavenly.

Allusions to Ps. 23 – the people to lie down in green pastures, they’re in the ‘valley of death’ of Antipas’ and Roman rule, a table is spread before them, they are lead into right paths by the teaching of the good Shepherd.

We are so much like the disciples. We doubt he can provide so we strive to do it ourselves. We try to force Jesus into the Lord we want. We tire of waiting for the Lord so we rush of prematurely and get into trouble. We need rescuing, yet do we always show our thankfulness?

Praise God for his grace, his patience, his provision, his forgiveness towards us.

This week perhaps we should try not to rush of, but wait patiently for the Lord.