1 After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased. 3 And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples. 4 Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. 5 Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" 6 But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. 7 Philip answered Him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little." 8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, 9 "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?" 10 Then Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost." 13 Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world." John 6:1-14
Notice that verse 2 says they followed Jesus because they saw the signs that He performed on those who were diseased. Their assessment of Him (see vs. 14) was a recollection of Deut. 18:15, which predicted that one day a prophet like Moses would come into the world. Because Jesus worked miracles and fed the hungry surely He must be the One! The story also smacks of some possibly wanting to be like Moses themselves! (see John. 6:28) From the passage, we learn that Jesus, had compassion on them, and fed these multitudes through a great miracle of multiplicity. Wow! Another miracle, and just like Moses would do it! There is nothing like a full tummy!
A little later, near the end of the day, we are told Jesus departed to a mountain to have some quiet time with the Father. Soon after, the disciples departed and went down to the Sea of Galilee (Tiberius) and got into a boat to cross over to the other side near Capernaum. During the crossing, a storm arose and Jesus came walking up to the boat on the water. The disciples saw Him and were afraid, but as always, He calmed their fears.
The next day these same crowds who had kept a keen eye on Jesus noted that the disciples left in the only boat available at the time and Jesus was not with them. When they found out He was gone they quickly found some other boats that had arrived and they rowed to Capernaum to find the Lord. When they found Him they questioned when He got there? Here is where things get interesting. Jesus answers their question with a reasoned reply concerning why they had sought Him. He said,"Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him." Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."
That passage is a typical picture of many in the church today who need to regain their focus. Jesus’ response to their question reveals that He knew their motives and their hearts. After revealing this to them He gives them spiritual instruction. Through it we learn that these crowds only sought Him because of physical nourishment. Their appetite for things “Here and Now,” that is, worldly comfort, power and desire, is further underscored by their answer to Him. “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Did you notice that what Jesus told them went right over their heads?
What can we learn?
Later in the chapter Jesus says this:
And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” John 6:35
“Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world." John 6:49-51
Keeping our eyes upon Jesus teaches us to examine our motives and our daily reasoning’s for why we act and do the things we do. If we see that our focus is on pursuits that are perishable and of no everlasting value then we must question if they are part of the will of God. God wants us to keep Him in first place. This means every day we should practice going before Him in prayer, reading His Word and living in such a way that He will be glorified. If we truly desire the things above then we will love Him with all our heart, soul, and strength and the needs of others, through a servant heart, will not go unserved. If we do these things then He will make sure all of our physical needs are provided for. He will also make sure that His favor is on us and the peace of God will rule our hearts in Christ Jesus!