John 6:10-11 10 Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. (CEB)
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]
A Sacred Meal (John 6:1-15)
A large crowd chased after Yeshua to the other side of the lake. Yeshua, however, in need of some rest and solitude, retreated up the mountain with his disciples. Finally the crowd caught up. Some were probably hoping to see a Wonder Worker and Healer in operation.
Because of the importance of bread in the biblical narratives, it is quite possible that Yeshua discerned that many were genuinely interested in his teachings (the bread of life). Yeshua asked Philip, “How are we going to feed these people.” Philip, assuming that he had just been given the responsibility for providing a meal for the crown, became frustrated about the logistics. Andrew informed Yeshua that there was a boy with 5 loaves and 2 fish – more than enough for himself.
Yeshua asked the people to sit down and, taking the fish and loaves from the boy, offered the appropriate blessing for the meal, as if he were the head of the family. The act of blessing changed the whole situation. When the head of the family invokes the blessing over the meal, eating is no longer a matter of filling one’s belly. Now the food became a sacramental meal, uniting the crowd (not only with Yeshua, but also with one another).
The amount of food and the size of the crowd no longer mattered. What mattered was the openness of the people to be filled with the bread of life. And filled they were! It was as if basket upon basket of food was left over. When in the presence of the Commonwealth of Peace and Justice, it matters not what size cup you have been given, because every cup is filled to over-flowing. The people, in jubilation, began to shout, “This is truly the prophet who is now in our midst.”
Yeshua realized that their momentary grasping of his true mission had passed. Afraid that they were going to try to make him into a political Messiah, Yeshua retreated into the mountain to be by himself.