Five Loaves and Two Fishes – Gospel Reflection on John 6:11

Today’s Gospel

And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. - John 6:11


The Bible records the Lord Jesus’ miracle of feeding five thousand people with five loaves and two fish, from which we can see His love and mercy for mankind. The Lord Jesus knew that those people just wanted to eat their fill and receive blessing from Him, and that they didn’t intend to follow Him, but He still showed mercy on them. What is God’s intention of doing this? God’s words say, “Facing these five thousand people with empty stomachs who only wanted to eat a full meal, facing these people full of curiosity and hope for Him, the Lord Jesus only thought of utilizing this miracle to bestow grace upon them. However, He did not raise His hopes that they would become His followers, for He knew that they just wanted to join the fun and to eat their fill, so He made the best of what He had there, and used five loaves of bread and two fish to feed five thousand people. He opened the eyes of these people who enjoyed seeing exciting things, who wanted to witness miracles, and they saw with their own eyes the things that God incarnate could accomplish. Although the Lord Jesus used something tangible to satisfy their curiosity, He already knew in His heart that these five thousand people just wanted to have a good meal, so He did not preach to them or say anything at all—He just let them see this miracle as it happened. He absolutely could not treat these people in the same way as He treated His disciples who truly followed Him, but in God’s heart, all creatures are under His rule, and He would allow all creatures in His sight to enjoy the grace of God when it was necessary. Even though these people did not know who He was and did not understand Him or have any particular impression of Him or gratitude toward Him even after they had eaten the loaves and fish, this was not something that God took issue with—He gave these people a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the grace of God. Some people say that God is principled in what He does, that He does not watch over or protect nonbelievers, and that, in particular, He does not allow them to enjoy His grace. Is that actually the case? In God’s eyes, as long as they are living creatures that He Himself created, He will manage and care for them, and in manifold ways He will treat them, plan for them, and rule them. These are the thoughts and attitude of God toward all things.” From these words of God, we can understand the following: As for those who just wanted to have a good meal but were unwilling to seek the truth or know God, God only granted them grace to make them full. Even though they wouldn’t follow God after eating their fill, God made no demands of them, nor did He hate them—this was a revelation of God’s essence of beauty and goodness. However, as believers, if we just want to eat our fill and gain peace and blessings of the flesh, but don’t pursue the truth and the knowledge of God, then we will never be able to gain God’s praise, much less can we gain the truth and life.