Vs. 4, “A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.” The enemy would come and demand a sign from Jesus…remember, it was Satan who tried to force Jesus to test the Lord…and this is what the enemy was doing again. Perhaps they wanted Manna from Heaven, or fire like Elijah, etc…no matter how many miracles Jesus did it wasn’t enough (That is why we should not put too much stock into miracles & sign gifts). We also see Jesus have to teach them some spiritual lessons and help change their perspective from bread, to who Jesus really was and to how to truly live this life.
Regarding application…Carrying the Cross. Vs. 24, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Or paraphrased…the taking on death. The daily dying of ourselves so Christ may life…it’s morbid illustration of the reailty of what Jesus was going to do and what He did for all of us. To carry the cross requires us to be spiritually in shape…perhaps that is why we don’t carry it very often. We can’t carry a large cross physically very long if we don’t do it everyday and train ourselves…likewise, we must spiritiually do the same.
Vs. 14, “Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” The cry of “Tradition~~~Tradition” comes to mind from Fiddler on the Roof as Jesus confronts the blindness of the traditional Jews of the time. Bear in mind…they were also looking for anything to accuse Jesus of and this time it was washing hands. The danger wasn’t the fact of washing or not washing…but it is when tradition comes before the Word of God! We then see another miracle feeding, but this time the predominate audience were Gentiles and Jesus’ compassion shines through.
Vs. 13, “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place…” John the Baptist is beheaded and it’s a sign of things to come as we see more turmoil. It’s a sad story of John’s demise and we see Jesus take it to heart, but ministry is always going to be around the corner. The feeding of the five thousand is pretty monumental because it is the only miracle recorded in all four Gospels. We also see Peter do his famous walk on water, until he took his eyes off the Lord…which was incredible faith to do in the first place and get out of that boat! Only a small percentage of us probably would have the faith Peter had to go forth and have the courage he had.
Regarding application…Giving Thanks. Vs. 19, “…Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves…” If you ever wondered why we pray before we eat…Jesus would show us by example! I wonder what it looked like for the thousands of people who witnessed Jesus give thanks unto the Lord for the food that they were about to eat? We must remember that Jesus is the bread of life and showed it by the physical & spiritual bread He gives us. But the issue isn’t about just giving thanks and praying before we eat breakfast, lunch or dinner…it about giving thanks to everything we do. It’s about not taking things for granted and appreciating what God gives to us on a DAILY basis. And takng that thankful heart and not just going vertical to God…but horizontal to the relationhips that God has given us (parents, siblings, church family, teachers, friends, etc.).