More Than Bread and Fish
The historical setting of John Chapter 6 is during the time of the Passover. The Passover is the remembrance and celebration of the deliverance of the Jews from the bondage of slavery under Egyptian rule through Moses (Exodus 12).
This is a crucial time in the lives of the Jews and John wants the reader to understand the atmosphere and mood of the people. The crowds are huge during this time and much excitement fills the air. It would be somewhat like our 4th of July celebration with fireworks, flag waving, picnics, and patriotic music. The Israelites, being under Roman Law, are again waiting for deliverance through the One prophesied to come.
An important passage to note is John 5:46 where Jesus says, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.” John is trying to link Moses and Jesus together as the story of John 6 unfolds. The Jews knew the story of Moses and the exodus of their forefathers from Egypt. Jesus, being God, knew that Moses was their hero whom they looked to for hope. Because Jesus is proclaiming Himself to be equal with God, some are seeking to kill Him. He retreats to the other side of the Sea of Galilee where a large crowd follows Him for they have seen the miracles He was doing on the sick (6:2).
The crowd has gathered and the account of the feeding of the five thousand takes place. John’s purpose for giving this information was because of the miracles, or signs that were being carried out. What do signs do? They point us to something specific and in this narrative, they are pointing to Jesus Himself as Prophet, Priest, and King. This connects Moses, the Old Testament prophet, and the word picture of the coming Messiah, Jesus, together. Jesus is not coming to deliver them from Roman rule but to deliver them from the bondage of sin and for the Kingdom to come.
Lord, thank You for the miracle of Redemption.