Feeding the Five Thousand (v1-15)
John's perspective emphasizes that Jesus is entirely in command of this situation. He anticipates the need, and already has in mind what he is going to do. That doesn't leave everyone with nothing to do. Even Philip's despair that it would take eight month's wages serves to document the scope of the problem. Andrew finds someone: a small boy with nothing much- but with Jesus it is literally more than enough. The same Jesus can do the same with us, and our resources today. Which do you want to be? Philip, who cries, "It can not be done," or Andrew, who finds someone willing to help, or the little boy who doesn't have much, but gives whatever he has for Jesus to use miraculously? Each one plays their part, but the greatest part goes to the one with only a little to give. We all qualify for that part!
The people were amazed and sort of believed, but thought they could make him King "by force" (that is rebel against Rome), but Jesus had a different path to take. We believe, in part, because Jesus could have used his power to raise an army, who would fight and die to gain power for himself, but he chose to fight and die for us, against sin, on the cross.
Walking on Water (v16-24)
In this Gospel John is not interested in Peter's water walking: the focus is entirely on Jesus. He is the Lord of all, who come to them through the storm, despite the barrier of water, and brings them to their destination. The frightened disciples see and their faith is deepened. The crowds suspect that something strange is going on, and follow in search of Jesus.
The Bread of Life (25ff.)
This proved to be the hardest of Jesus' teachings. At first the symbolism of Jesus being the bread from heaven is accepted, by those who already believe that Jesus is a prophet or more. They want more food. The bread they already received gives them hope that Jesus will continue to feed them real bread, to repeatedly prove that he is their provider.
Jesus is saying that he is the bread they need, and the first to reject this are his opponents saying, "Who is he to make such big claims? He came from Nazareth, not heaven!"
Jesus doesn't give an inch. He goes further: He is the bread of life - not his teachings nor his miracles. People must receive him. He goes further: His flesh is the bread which gives life to the world. He must die, his flesh and blood will give life to those who feed on him. Now even some of his disciples are disturbed. It is a repugnant idea to them. They must eat his flesh and drink his blood? Jesus seems to be literally speaking about cannibalism!
Now we know that Jesus is describing the relationship between his death on the Cross and the life we receive from him. He actually must die so that we can live. That is a terrible thought: My sin was so great that only the life of God could save me. That life had to be poured out on the cross for me to live. We don't need to think that we actually eat his flesh to be offended. Do you believe that Jesus had to die to save you? Many have turned from the Gospel, because they don't believe their situation is so dire. "Maybe Jesus had to die for serial killers and people with really bad breath, but not for ME! I'm good (mostly), I am a nice person (mostly), I try hard." With many such protestations we deny Jesus, and believe in ourselves. But the Father, who raised Jesus from death testifies that Jesus is right. WE can only truly live because Jesus died to feed us his life.
"You do not want to leave too, do you?"Jesus asked. Wiil you answer as Peter did? "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of Eternal Life!"