The Signs of Jesus (V)
Jesus: The Bread of Life (I)
John 6:1-15

Today, we are going to look an another of Jesus’ miracles that John recorded in his gospel. I think that it is very interesting to look at, because it is actually the only miracle, apart from Jesus’ resurrection, that is recorded in all four gospels.

Why did this miracle leave such a strong impression in the minds of the gospel writers? Was it the greatest miracle? Was it the most miraculous miracle?

Apart from this miracle, Jesus showed His control over nature by changing water into wine, changing the weather by stopping a storm, and even walking on water.

And He showed His control over life by healing many people, and even raised Lazarus, who had been buried in a grave for four days, back from the dead.

Amazing! But none of these miracles seems to have been so significant as to cause Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to all write about them in their gospel accounts of Jesus.

On the other hand, they all did write about the miracle of Jesus feeding this big group of people. What was it about Jesus feeding this big crowd, who weren’t actually in any danger of starvation, that seemed even more important to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to all write about than, for example, Jesus’ raising of Lazarus from the dead?

As we think about this, let’s remember why John purposefully chose the seven miracles in his gospel that he did:

“Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:30-31)

Why was this miracle such an important sign?

Let’s look at who was there and what happened. Verse 2:

“and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick.”

John tells us that there were about 5000 men. But Matthew give us a little more detail:

“The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.” (Matthew 14:21)

So actually there were probably several thousand more than just the 5000 men that John mentioned. Whatever the case, it was a very big crowd of people! What brought them all to this place at that time?

The first answer can be seen in verse 4. “The Jewish Passover Feast was near.”

The Passover was a traditional Jewish festival that commemorated how God had used Moses to save the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. God sent ten plagues to secure their release. The tenth plague was death. But each Israelite family was commanded to sacrifice a lamb and paint around their doors with its blood as a sign of God’s promised protection over them. In this final curse, the Angel of Death took the lives of all the firstborn throughout Egypt; but it passed over the Israelites, who had obediently trusted God’s command.

So the Passover festival was full of symbolism that taught each generation about God’s faithfulness, God’s protection, and God’s provision and blessings in saving them from this death in Egypt.

So, coming back to our story, these people were from all parts of the land, gathering together in Jerusalem for the Passover. They were looking forward to a special feast that was rich in tradition. And it is significant that this feast represented God’s faithfulness, His saving power, and His perfect provision for their needs.

However, on their way to Jerusalem, these people heard that Jesus was near. Jesus the miracle worker. Jesus the healer. And so instead of going directly to Jerusalem, they made a detour. Their destination changed from Jerusalem to Jesus.

So the second reason that these people were there: these people were hungry. But what were they hungry for? Verse 2 tells us that they came because they had seen the miraculous signs that Jesus had performed on the sick. Now they were hungry to see more.

Jesus was there sitting on the mountainside with His disciples. They were away from the city, and there were no villages nearby. But they were not alone. This great crowd of people had followed Jesus there.

And when Jesus saw the crowd of people coming towards them, He turned to Philip and said:

“Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” (v. 5)

Now, there are three things that I find interesting about this:

Number one: Jesus saw the people there. Well, of course He saw them – you can’t miss a crowd of maybe 15,000! But what I mean is that even though it was a big crowd, Jesus saw each of them as individuals.

I remember when I went to see the Gion Festival in Kyoto many years ago. Shijo Street was a sea of people, and wave after wave (of people) kept flowing past me. I felt like I was sea sick! So, I decided to escape. But just as I turned around, I bumped into someone walking behind me. We both started to apologize, and were surprised to realize that we knew each other. In fact, it was a girl who had done a homestay with my parents in Melbourne for a year.

That unexpected meeting suddenly made me realize that this great sea of people was really only made up of individuals. Each had their own story; their own hopes and dreams; and their own hurts and needs.

And that is what Jesus saw in this crowd of people approaching Him. They were not nameless faces. And each of them was on a journey. Of course they were going to Jerusalem - they were expecting to participate in the Passover festival there. But Jesus wanted to take them on a deeper journey. Jesus saw the deep spiritual emptiness in those people’s lives. They were all eagerly following the traditions of the religion of their God, but they were not following the God of their religion. They needed true spiritual nourishment. Jesus wanted to feed them.

The second thing I notice about this is that Jesus was also concerned for the people’s physical welfare. He knew that the people weren’t locals. They had been journeying to Jerusalem. They would be hungry. And so Jesus’ first thought was to provide for their immediate need. He wanted to feed them.

It doesn’t matter to Jesus whether there was just one person or ten thousand people. He sees each person’s need, and He wants to respond to that individual need. In fact, the setting for this miracle is that Jesus sought to teach those people about their deep spiritual emptiness and need through first providing for their physical hunger.

And this brings us to the third point, which was the actual question that Jesus asked Philip. In fact, it wasn’t even really a question. It was more of a statement of the obvious!

Jesus was going to feed the people. However, there were no shops to buy food from. And even if there was food, they were in no position to buy it!

But Jesus knew the people didn’t have any food there. He knew that there wasn’t enough money to feed them – even just a little bit.

So He pointed out the obvious to, well, make it obvious!

“Look,” [He says.] “There are too many people, don’t you think? What are you going to do about them? How are you going to feed them?”

And of course, the answer was that there was no way. It was an impossible task!
Philip had been with Jesus. He had heard Jesus’ teaching. He had seen Jesus’ miracles with his own eyes. But Philip responded just as you or I would have. We would have seen the problem – too many people, no money, no food! The problem was too big!

Philip answered him, "Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!" (v. 7)

“Look, this is an impossible situation. We can’t do it. The problem is too big. I don’t have what it takes.”

And that is the point. They didn’t have what was necessary.

So why did Jesus ask the question if He already knew the answer?

Remember that Jesus only asked Philip about how to feed the people in order to test him. He wasn’t asking for His own sake, but for the benefit of Philip; for the other disciples; for the thousands of people who had made the effort to gather there to see Jesus. And Jesus was asking for us here today! A question to teach us the obvious: Do you really think that you have what is needed?

The miracle itself hardly actually sounds amazing. If you weren’t listening carefully, it would be easy to miss. This is what happened:

Another of Jesus’ disciples had found a boy with a little food. There were five small loaves of bread and two small fish. Notice the emphasis on their small size! What good would they be amongst so many people? But…

10 Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them.
11 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.

Jesus gave thanks, and then He distributed the food. That’s it. The original grammar tells us that Jesus gave thanks once, and then He continuously distributed the food.

The five SMALL loaves and two SMALL fish did not seem anything to the people there, but in Jesus’ hands, they were enough.

Although it was certainly miraculous that Jesus was able to continue to divide that little bit of food until everyone had eaten enough, it is written as though nothing unusual happened at all.

Jesus gave thanks, and just did it. And He was able to provide so much that there was a lot left over.

Jesus knew the people didn’t have food. And, He also knew that His disciples weren’t able to help. But what is most important is that Jesus did not even expect them to have what was needed to fix the problem.

Jesus was teaching that we don’t have what is necessary to fulfill our own spiritual needs. We don’t have it, and we can’t produce it (ourselves). And just like Jesus showed in this miracle, He knows that we can’t help ourselves. He knows that we don’t have what is necessary – the perfect holiness and righteousness of God. But at the same time, Jesus does not even expect us to be able to produce what we need. That would be a miracle! But miracles are Jesus’ work, not ours!

And that is the point that Jesus is making! We can’t make ourselves holy and righteous before God, but Jesus can do that for us! In fact, Jesus continued just after this to actually tell us what our work is:

Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." (John 6:29)

The crowd had been going to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. But Jesus Himself was the true Passover Lamb. He was the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. (John 1:29) That is what Jesus did by paying the penalty for our sins, on the cross. And by just believing in Him, we will not only be saved from the terrible eternal death of separation from our holy creator, but our deepest spiritual hunger will be personally, intimately and eternally filled to overflowing by the Lord Jesus Himself. That is why this miracle was so important.

What are you hungry for?

Jesus declared: "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35)

If you are hungry to have your heart cleansed, if you thirst to be filled with the unconditional and unchanging love of our Heavenly Father, the holy God of heaven and earth, if you desire to know peace and joy in your heart now, and the conviction and security of eternal life, why not make Jesus your destination and receive the Bread of eternal life from Him?

イエス:命のパン (1)





驚くべきことです。でもそのどの奇跡も、マタイ、マルコ、ルカ、ヨハネの全員に、福音書にそれについて書こうとさせるほど意味深いものだったとは 思えません。



ヨハネ 20:30−31























そして、これが私達に3つめのポイントを思い出させます。イエス様がピリポにした質問です。本当はそれは質問ではなくて 、イエス様にはもう分かっていることでした。。



そこで イエス様はすでに分かり切っていることを、更にはっきりさせるために、指摘されました。

















そしてそれこそイエス様が 強く主張しておられることです。私たちは自分自身を神の前に聖く正しくすることはできません。でもイエス様は私たちをそうすることができるのです。それどころか、イエス様は、何が私たちのするべきことなのかということを、この後すぐ、続けて示しておられます。