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"The Bread Of Life"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: In Chapter 6 of his Gospel, John describes the miracle of the loaves and fishes, in which Jesus miraculously feeds an audience of five thousand persons with five barley loaves and two small fish. He gives these to his disciples to distribute among the crowd, and after everyone is fed all he can eat there are twelve baskets of food left over. According to Matthew, this incident occurs while Jesus is sorrowing for the brutal execution of John the Baptist; but the writer of this Gospel does not connect the two. Both Gospels record that Jesus afterward sends the disciples ahead by ship and asks the multitudes to return to their homes; and thus excusing Himself, He ascends into a mountain to pray. The implication in Matthew is that He wishes to be alone because of His grief concerning the Baptist; according to John, Jesus retires to the mountain to pray for another reason: the people wish to make Him king. An excellent case could be made that the two accounts do not conflict with each other, and that if the two were combined a fuller and probably more accurate rendering of the event would result. Such an assumption does much to emphasize those trials of the spirit that Jesus was continually beset with. It is the belief of some scholars that John's intention was to supplement the other Gospels with information and events which they do not include. His description of the miracle which followed that of the loaves and fishes is in substantial agreement with Matthew: after Jesus' disciples have embarked,...

(The entire section is 560 words.)