Bible study reading
Please prayerfully read through the following portions of ministry related to this lesson.
The case in chapter six portrays a scene which reveals where we are in our condition. There is a contrast between the scene of chapter five with the one in chapter six. The scene in chapter five is in the holy city, but the scene in chapter six is in the wilderness. A pool is in the scene of the previous case, and a sea is in this case. The people in the former case are associated with the pool, and the people in the latter case are involved with the sea. The pool is related to religion’s healing, while the sea is related to the people’s living. The person in the fourth case was very weak, needing healing and enlivening, but the people in the fifth case are hungry, needing food and satisfaction. The pool is sacred, being of the Jewish religion; the sea is secular, being of the human society. The person by the pool was impotent, needed life’s enlivening, and was waiting for healing. The people in this case are hungry, need life’s feeding, and are seeking for nourishment. (Life-study of John, msg. 15, section 1)
It is interesting to note that the five barley loaves and two fishes came from a small boy, not a big man. This is very meaningful, because the Lord wants to indicate to us that He is our life, not as someone big, but as someone small. Both barley loaves and fishes are small items, signifying the smallness of Christ as the life supply to us. The miracle-seeking people considered Him as the promised prophet (6:14; Deut. 18:15, 18) and would have forced Him to be their king (6:15), but He would not assume the position of a giant in religion. Rather, He preferred to be small loaves and little fishes that He might be small enough for people to eat. All of this reveals the smallness of Christ. He is small enough for us to eat.
This chapter not only brings out the smallness of the Lord, but also the richness of the Lord. Just five loaves are rich enough to feed five thousand people. The twelve baskets left over signify the overflow of the riches of Christ’s life supply, which fed people over one thousand times. That five loaves fed five thousand people means that it fed them one thousand times. According to the Scriptures, the number one thousand signifies a complete unit. For example, one day in the court of the Lord is better than a thousand (Psa. 84:10). One thousand is a full unit. Hence, five loaves can fill five thousand people. This reveals how rich and how unlimited the Lord is. The multitude could eat as much as they wanted, for the supply was unlimited. Even two little fishes were sufficient for all. (Life-study of John, msg. 15, section 4)