Bread and Fish for All
1-4After this, Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee (some call it Tiberias). A huge crowd followed him, attracted by the miracles they had seen him do among the sick. When he got to the other side, he climbed a hill and sat down, surrounded by his disciples. It was nearly time for the Feast of Passover, kept annually by the Jews. 5-6When Jesus looked out and saw that a large crowd had arrived, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread to feed these people?” He said this to stretch Philip’s faith. He already knew what he was going to do.
Jesus, You pointed out to Philip how impossible the situation was, just so he would have faith in You the next time things looked impossible to him. I know You do that to me also. I know I have seen situations that looked impossible, but then You worked them out. Remind me of the miracles and work You have done in my everyday life so I will remain calm and trust in You when things look impossible.
7Philip answered, “Two hundred silver pieces wouldn’t be enough to buy bread for each person to get a piece.”
8-9One of the disciples—it was Andrew, brother to Simon Peter—said, “There’s a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But that’s a drop in the bucket for a crowd like this.”
10-11Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” There was a nice carpet of green grass in this place. They sat down, about five thousand of them. Then Jesus took the bread and, having given thanks, gave it to those who were seated. He did the same with the fish. All ate as much as they wanted.
12-13When the people had eaten their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the leftovers so nothing is wasted.” They went to work and filled twelve large baskets with leftovers from the five barley loaves.
14-15The people realized that God was at work among them in what Jesus had just done. They said, “This is the Prophet for sure, God’s Prophet right here in Galilee!” Jesus saw that in their enthusiasm, they were about to grab him and make him king, so he slipped off and went back up the mountain to be by himself.
Jesus, You really didn’t want glory for Yourself. I want attention. I want people to tell me I’m great. I want glory, but not You. You took a little and did a lot with it. You fed thousands with the gift of a child. Help me to remember that the little bit I do give You does make a difference. Help me to see that there is no such thing as a small gift to You. And help me run away from giving myself glory, so You can have the glory You so much deserve. Help me to be like the child and just give to You.
16-21In the evening his disciples went down to the sea, got in the boat, and headed back across the water to Capernaum. It had grown quite dark and Jesus had not yet returned. A huge wind blew up, churning the sea. They were maybe three or four miles out when they saw Jesus walking on the sea, quite near the boat. They were scared senseless, but he reassured them, “It’s me. It’s all right. Don’t be afraid.” So they took him on board. In no time they reached land—the exact spot they were headed to.
“It is me. It is all right. Don’t be afraid.” When will I learn that in the midst of my troubles, You are there? When will I learn to recognize You instead of fearing You? How often are You coming to rescue me, and I don’t recognize You and instead think You are a threat coming to do me harm? How foolish can I be? Change me Lord.
22-24The next day the crowd that was left behind realized that there had been only one boat, and that Jesus had not gotten into it with his disciples. They had seen them go off without him. By now boats from Tiberias had pulled up near where they had eaten the bread blessed by the Master. So when the crowd realized he was gone and wasn’t coming back, they piled into the Tiberias boats and headed for Capernaum, looking for Jesus.
25When they found him back across the sea, they said, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
26Jesus answered, “You’ve come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you, filled your stomachs—and for free.
The Bread of Life
27“Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last.”
Jesus, it is so easy to get caught up in my work and my money. I justify it saying that the more money I make, the more I can give to Your charities. But is it all just a sham? Is it an excuse to work for things that won’t last instead of doing Your work? How do I know?
Lord, I don’t know what other work You want me to do, so I’ll assume till You show me otherwise, that I am to work hard at my business. But help me to give the extra to You. Inspire me to give freely. Give me courage to trust You with my future and give when I have the chance.
28To that they said, “Well, what do we do then to get in on God’s works?”
29Jesus said, “Throw your lot in with the One that God has sent. That kind of a commitment gets you in on God’s works.”
30-31They waffled: “Why don’t you give us a clue about who you are, just a hint of what’s going on? When we see what’s up, we’ll commit ourselves. Show us what you can do. Moses fed our ancestors with bread in the desert. It says so in the Scriptures: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'”
32-33Jesus responded, “The real significance of that Scripture is not that Moses gave you bread from heaven but that my Father is right now offering you bread from heaven, the real bread. The Bread of God came down out of heaven and is giving life to the world.”
34They jumped at that: “Master, give us this bread, now and forever!”
Jesus, You and these people are speaking on completely different planes. They are missing Your meaning completely. I know I can be like that. I can miss Your meaning when I’m reading Your word. I can miss You when I meet other people in my life. I can miss Your work in myself and others. These people aren’t bad, they are just like me.
Please Lord, open my ears and eyes and soften my heart. Only You can help me to understand. Only You can show me the way. Only You can change me. Only You.
35-38Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go.
Father, give Jesus my family. Perhaps You already have. It is a shame that I am not sure if my own family is saved or not. I know we need You. I know our family is not what You want us to me. I’m sure You often send people running to Your Son Jesus through hardships. I know that I may, in effect, be asking for even more rough times for me and my family so I pride is finally broken and we live for You only. But Father, Your wisdom and mercy is my only hope.
And Jesus, hold on tight to me. I have run to You. I know I can be foolish and sinful. I have no doubt that I am foolish enough to run away from You some day. Hold on tight. You are my only hope.
I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.
39-40“This, in a nutshell, is that will: that everything handed over to me by the Father be completed—not a single detail missed—and at the wrap-up of time I have everything and everyone put together, upright and whole. This is what my Father wants: that anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life. My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time.”
Jesus, give me patience. I see Your goal: “on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time.” I realize, now, in this life, at this time, there may be suffering. I may be knocked of my feet. I may have to die (die to self for sure). You “begin with the end in mind”, so now is not the time for everything to be put right. Help me to live today, with the completion of time in mind.
41-42At this, because he said, “I am the Bread that came down from heaven,” the Jews started arguing over him: “Isn’t this the son of Joseph? Don’t we know his father? Don’t we know his mother? How can he now say, ‘I came down out of heaven’ and expect anyone to believe him?”
43-46Jesus said, “Don’t bicker among yourselves over me. You’re not in charge here. The Father who sent me is in charge. He draws people to me—that’s the only way you’ll ever come. Only then do I do my work, putting people together, setting them on their feet, ready for the End. This is what the prophets meant when they wrote, ‘And then they will all be personally taught by God.’ Anyone who has spent any time at all listening to the Father, really listening and therefore learning, comes to me to be taught personally—to see it with his own eyes, hear it with his own ears, from me, since I have it firsthand from the Father. No one has seen the Father except the One who has his Being alongside the Father—and you can see me.
Jesus, teach me personally. I know You have, and I believe You will. I need You to teach me so bad. I fall and sin so easily. I get worried about life around me. I have no one t talk to but You. Please Lord, if Yo open my eyes and heart, I will sin no more and then we will be one. O please change me. Draw me close and help me learn.
47-51“I’m telling you the most solemn and sober truth now: Whoever believes in me has real life, eternal life. I am the Bread of Life. Your ancestors ate the manna bread in the desert and died. But now here is Bread that truly comes down out of heaven. Anyone eating this Bread will not die, ever. I am the Bread—living Bread!—who came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this Bread will live—and forever! The Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is myself, this flesh-and-blood self.”
52At this, the Jews started fighting among themselves: “How can this man serve up his flesh for a meal?”
53-58But Jesus didn’t give an inch. “Only insofar as you eat and drink flesh and blood, the flesh and blood of the Son of Man, do you have life within you. The one who brings a hearty appetite to this eating and drinking has eternal life and will be fit and ready for the Final Day. My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. By eating my flesh and drinking my blood you enter into me and I into you. In the same way that the fully alive Father sent me here and I live because of him, so the one who makes a meal of me lives because of me. This is the Bread from heaven. Your ancestors ate bread and later died. Whoever eats this Bread will live always.”
59He said these things while teaching in the meeting place in Capernaum.
Too Tough to Swallow
60Many among his disciples heard this and said, “This is tough teaching, too tough to swallow.” 61-65Jesus sensed that his disciples were having a hard time with this and said, “Does this throw you completely? What would happen if you saw the Son of Man ascending to where he came from? The Spirit can make life. Sheer muscle and willpower don’t make anything happen. Every word I’ve spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-making. But some of you are resisting, refusing to have any part in this.” (Jesus knew from the start that some weren’t going to risk themselves with him. He knew also who would betray him.) He went on to say, “This is why I told you earlier that no one is capable of coming to me on his own. You get to me only as a gift from the Father.”
66-67After this a lot of his disciples left. They no longer wanted to be associated with him. Then Jesus gave the Twelve their chance: “Do you also want to leave?”
68-69Peter replied, “Master, to whom would we go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. We’ve already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God.”
Jesus, I admit, I don’t understand this either. How could someone understand this? But I also know I’m with Peter here. I’m staying with You. I have no one else to turn to. I believe You are alive, God, and the savior of the world. I believe You are my savior. There are a lot of things I don’t understand, but I’m not going anywhere. You are all I have.
70-71Jesus responded, “Haven’t I handpicked you, the Twelve? Still, one of you is a devil!” He was referring to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. This man—one from the Twelve!—was even then getting ready to betray him