Discourse Background and Conclusion
Jesus met with the apostles in Capernaum (?) and heard their report about the death of John the Baptist, as well as what they had taught and done in their ministries (see Mark 6: 27-33 KJV, NASB, NIV, ESV). Later the group sought seclusion to rest from their labors. The people, however, saw Jesus depart by boat with His disciples and ran ahead to meet them. After situating the multitude and teaching them about the kingdom of God and healing many, Jesus recognized their need for food and fed them all from five loaves and two fishes.
1 Jesus fed the 5000 for at least three reasons: (1) The people had left their villages to hear the word of the Lord. Now hungry, they were without the means to provide for themselves; (2) Jesus provided the food as a witness of His divinity. We should not be surprised that the One who created all things from the beginning was able to feed the people with another act of pure creation; (3) By performing the miracle, Jesus set the stage for His powerful sermon on the Bread of Life.
2 Jesus sent His disciples away while he went into the mountain to pray. En route to Capernaum, a storm arose, knocking the boat off course. Jesus walked to the disciples and quieted the storm. Why did Jesus walk on water? Two reasons come to mind: (1) To show that faith is a principle of power that controls natural forces. Recall how Peter, with great faith, walked on water to meet Jesus. Peter only began to doubt when he took his eye off the Master. Reassured by Jesus, Peter walked back to the boat with Him; (2) To show again that He was the Son of God, who had the powers of divinity within Himself.
3 After the storm had ceased, Jesus came with His apostles into the land of Gennesaret. While traveling northward to Capernaum, all who were sick or diseased were brought to Jesus, and He healed them. Compare the faith of these people with the people who caught up with Jesus in Capernaum. The folks in Capernaum came because of the loaves and fishes. They sought temporal nourishment but rejected the spiritual food Jesus was offering them.
4 In His sermon on the Bread of Life, Jesus declared that He is the living manna sent from God. The unbelieving among the people wanted a sign of proof. Feeding 5000 was nothing compared to feeding millions, which Moses did for forty years in the wilderness. Jesus corrected them. It was not Moses but He who gave the children of Israel manna from heaven. The people ate daily and hungered daily. The bread God offered through the life of His Son would satisfy their spiritual hunger forever. Indeed, Jesus was offering eternal life to all who follow Him and keep His commandments.
Conclusion: Yes, Jesus gives you and me the temporal bread needed to sustain life, but He also provides the spiritual bread and water that all must eat and drink to gain eternal life.
Jesus gives “Bread of Life” discourse