Note: Jesus's ministry of public presentation, which He had pursued so carefully and so persistently in Galilee for some 18 months, is deliberately suspended for a strategic season; this is because the nation has demonstrated its commitment to disbelief, irrespective of evidence. There are two great "moments of disbelief" - the unpardonable sin (discussed earlier) and the feeding of the 5000. The latter and climactic event will be considered here.
Scripture: Matthew 14:1-13
Notes: The only record of the death of Jesus's forerunner, John the Baptist, is told here in terms of a report brought to Jesus.
Questions/Observations: Notice that Matthew 14:13 is explicit that it was in response to this report that Jesus decided to depart from Galilee.
Notes: This is the only miracle (save the resurrection of Jesus) that is recorded in all four gospels.
Questions/Observations: Why is this miracle recorded in all four gospels? That is, what part does it play in the narrative of Jesus's ministry that makes it so strategic to our understanding of that ministry?
Scripture: John 6:14-15
Questions/Observations: What do you think it looked like when the masses tried to "take Him by force and make Him king"?
Notes: This event happened the night of the Feeding of 5000.
Questions/Observations: Notice the amazement of the disciples, in spite of the fact that just a few hours earlier they had participated in the remarkable miracle of the feeding. Notice as well Mark's (i.e., Peter's) assessment as to why they were so amazed (John 6:52).
Notes: This occurred on the day following the Feeding of the 5000.
Questions/Observations: Notice that this is very late in the Galilean ministry, and Jesus (alone) has discerned that the nation is determined to reject His claims. But that does not mean that Jesus is no longer the wildly popular folk hero of the masses. This remarkable scene is clear evidence that the common man was still fascinated with this wonder Worker, even though that fascination was self-serving and shallow, as demonstrated by the way this event was yet to unfold.
Scripture: John 6:22-25
Notes: Only John tells of the mad dashing about that ensued on this following day; the crowds that had eaten the lunch produced by Jesus, and who had wanted to take Jesus by force and make Him king, were anxious for the excitement to continue. Thus, the frenetic scurrying about of these verses.
Scripture: John 6:26-59
Notes: This very important teaching was spoken by Jesus in the synagogue at Capernaum (John 6:59). It was intended by Jesus to test the reality of this people to "make Jesus king," and it was effective to that end.
Scripture: John 6:60-71
Notes: Notice especially John 6:66.
Questions/Observations: Although there are brief events to follow before Jesus actually abandons Galilee and sets out on His mission of private preparation, it is this event that functionally brings to an end the Galilean ministry and thus causes the effort at public presentation to be suspended for a strategic season.
Notes: In both Matthew and Mark, this incident is narrated as the last in Jesus's ministry of public presentation in Galilee.
Adapted from the Life of Christ study notes of Dr. Doug Bookman, professor of New Testament Exposition at Shepherds Theological Seminary (used by permission).