Jesus’ feeding of the multitude is one of the few narrative stories that occur in all four gospels except that in the gospel of John, the gospel writer calls Jesus’ actions a “sign”, which is intended to reveal something important about who Jesus is. “Signs” in the gospel of John are preceded by what Jesus does and the real significance of the “sign” is not simply about Jesus’ actions but to the revelation it points to, and in this case, Jesus will be proclaiming himself, the Bread of Life.”
The problem with signs is that it can easily be misinterpreted and thus, lead one to misunderstand the reality the sign directs to. We see such thing with the people who were fed. While they affirmed that Jesus is “the Prophet” sent by God as they must have remembered God’s promise to raise up a prophet like Moses, as their own experience recalled Moses’ miraculous feeding of their ancestors in the wilderness, they failed to see what the “sign” revealed. In Jesus they saw someone who will provide for their physical needs and desires and thus, they want him to be their king. They failed to see that Jesus came to provide more than that.
Jesus is the One who can answer every human need and give us life to the fullest. He came to reveal the Father’s love and to satisfy our hunger, both material and spiritual, but sometimes, just like the crowd, we often fail to realize the depth of God’s actions in our lives because we are focused only on what would gratify our immediate needs and wants. We look for a Jesus that will simply serve our wishes and desires. We try to “mold” Jesus according to our whims and expectations.
Jesus feeds us and will continue to fulfill our needs. As his disciples, he calls us to be generous and open our hearts to the people around us, especially, the needy, that they may be satisfied. It does not matter whatever little we have-- material or otherwise--- as He can powerfully act on it.
Jesus is more than what our minds can comprehend nor what our hearts can contain, and if we are open to God’s surprises and surrender ourselves to him, Jesus can work mightily and mercifully to us, in us, and through us.