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Jesus the Liberator (John 6)

In John 6, Jesus takes his disciples up on a mountain. He sits down (presumably to teach), but when he looks out over the crowd, he notices that they are weary from the journey. He turns to Philip and he asks him, “Where can we buy bread to feed these hungry people?”

Philip is perplexed. Half a year’s wages wouldn’t be enough money to buy food for the thousands following Jesus. It was impossible.

And yet.

Andrew notes that there is a small boy with five loaves and a couple fish, but what is that for so many people?

With Jesus, that is plenty.

The feeding of the multitude is the only miracle that is included in all four Gospels. However, John includes one detail that is absent from the other accounts—it happened near the time of the Passover.

This detail might seem incidental, but John wants us to see parallels between Jesus’s behavior and the message of the feast. Passover celebrated God’s liberation. When Israel groaned in slavery, God sent Moses to Pharaoh with a message: “Let my people go!”

Passover reminded Israel that God is the God who liberates. He is the God who parts the seas and creates highways for the redeemed.

That is still true today. God is still liberating. He is still parting waters for the redeemed.

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