Devotional Thoughts Based on the Glory to God Hymnal
Now when Jesus heard this, He withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed Him on foot from the towns.
Questions: #1-Why did the crowds follow Jesus? #2-What had happened that caused crowds to follow Jesus?
Answers: #1-John the Baptist, who no doubt had baptized many of those in the crowds, had been killed. (For this story, read Matthew 14:1-12) The crowds had lost a spiritual leader and a formidable preacher. #2-Without John the Baptist on the scene and having heard of Jesus’ teachings, they were eager to hear more. Hearing that Jesus was in the area, the people of the towns came to greet and hear this teacher. The crowd so engrossed with Jesus’ teaching lost all track of time. Stomachs were growling and people, including Jesus, became hungry. There were no stores or markets to buy food and even if there had access, they were not wealthy enough to provide dinner for a crowd of 5000 men alone plus women and children. Jesus charges the disciples to give the crowd something to eat. With five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus works a miracle to feed the crowd (and satisfy). At the meal’s end, twelve baskets of leftovers were collected.
The crowd was hungry for God’s word before they realized their physical hunger. They came to Jesus seeking to be spiritually fed. At the day’s end, Jesus had fed the people with the Bread of Life and physical food, bread and fish.
The Glory to God commentator has noted, “The phrase ‘bread of life’ as a metaphor for scripture has misled many people, thinking of this hymn as being connected with the Lord’s Supper; when its true subject is Bible study.” “Break thou the bread of life; dear Lord to me, as thou didst break the loaves beside the sea…Bless thou the truth, dear Lord, now unto me, as thou didst bless the bread by Galilee….”
Thank You, Lord, for gentle reminders that we do not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from Your mouth. Amen.