Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 560
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, they are caught in a storm, and Jesus walks to them across the water. He reassures them, the storm dies, and they reach port safely. John does not mention Peter's test of faith, when he tried to walk on the water and partially succeeded. John relates that the multitude, on the following day, goes in search of Jesus; and when they find Him He obliges them with a sermon.
Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves and were filled.
Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?
Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
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