In John 2, Jesus turned the water to wine, with only the servants watching. In John 4, He foretold with omniscience the hidden details of the Samaritan woman’s life, and many believed her testimony of His miraculous power. Later in John 4, the nobleman alone is the one who knew that Jesus had exercised divine, distanced, healing power over the his sick son. In John 5, the lame man beside the pool of Bethesda was healed, but Jesus departed before the crowd could recognize Him.
Until John 6, all the recorded miracles of Jesus had been localized single or minimal eyewitness events. The small band of disciples were the most privy to the plethora of miracles that Jesus had performed. Interestingly, those who saw Jesus as threat to the religious system of the day never attacked the validity of the miracles. While it is a common practice to try to rationalize away the miracles of Jesus, the evidence never supports such dubious hypotheses. On the contrary, the evidence seems to indicate one thing, Jesus was Divine and He exercised unbridled power over all aspects of nature. His own detractors never even claimed that His acts were make-believe or sleight of hand, the evidence before their scrutinizing, critical eyes was too convincing. He indeed performed the miraculous.
John 6 changes this forever. John 6 tells us that the Passover was approaching, which means that at least 6 months to a year have transpired since the events in chapter 5 took place in Jerusalem. Having returned to Galilee, Jesus had amassed a large following because He had healed many diseased people. Mark 6 tells us that when Jesus saw the multitude, “he was moved with compassion toward them…and he began to teach them many things.” They were seeking miracles, but He knew that there was something greater that they should seek after. He had the truth of God and He had to teach it.
Eventually, the audience grew in size to around 5,000 men plus women and children. Undeterred by the growing mob, Jesus continued to teach. As the day waxed on, it became apparent that the people were hungry, and that they would need to leave soon to make it home so they could eat something. In the vacuum of necessity, Jesus seized the opportunity to teach His disciples that He was truly God.
With little more than a little boy’s Lunch-able, Jesus worked one of the most widely witnessed miracles of His entire ministry. No longer were miracles isolated to the few people within eyeshot. The miraculous had been witnessed by thousands at a time. No longer were the disciples alone attesting of His miraculous power, instead thousands ate of the fruits of His provision and carried the message of His divinity throughout the entire country.
Jesus was not a one-trick pony. He was not a magician who performed sleight of hand. He was not a charlatan performing deniable conveniences and calling them miracles. He was confirmed by thousands. His miraculous power was attested and affirmed even by those who sought to destroy Him. The evidence is in. The unbiased observer would have to admit that the evidence points towards one fact: Jesus is the Messiah. Anyone who would seek to argue against the evidence would have to do so from a logically inadequate position.
Food For Thought: What was the big difference between the feeding of the 5,000 and Jesus’ other miracles? What could you respond to someone who doubts the validity of Jesus’ miracles?