The Gospel reading which we just heard from John 6:1-21 is full of rich imagery. Although the story of the feeding of the 5,000 appears in all four Gospels, John’s version has a slightly different meaning. In fact, John includes only seven of Jesus’ miracles in his Gospel, and in each miracle the believer is brought closer to God. Each miracle invites us to reflect on what the miracle says about Jesus.
John most likely included this version of the feeding of the 5,000 to provide additional information that was not recorded in the other three Gospels. For the early Christians, this story got to the heart of something they knew was important about Jesus, about who he was, what he was up to, and what he found to be important. John’s recording of this miracle showed the creative power of Christ and set the stage for Jesus’ talk about the “bread of life” in the remaining verses of Chapter 6. The purpose of John’s Gospel is to show that Jesus is the mind of God in human form, so the signs in John’s version of the feeding of the 5,000 are designed to show God at work in the lives of his people.