For me, though, I am challenged by what John tells us happened afterward. The people who witnessed the miracle were in awe. “When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, ‘This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!’” (John 6:14). They recognized that this Jesus was no ordinary guy. If He could feed that many people with such a small amount of food, just think what else He could do.
But Jesus knew what they were thinking. He realized where their thoughts were headed. “Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself” (John 6:15).
Those well-fed folks wanted to make their benefactor into their king.
And, think about it. That would be quite a tempting offer, wouldn’t it? Thousands of people wanting you to be their king. Imagine how much good you could do in such a role. This has real possibilities, both for you and the people, doesn’t it?
But Jesus knew that wasn’t His role. So, what did He do? “Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.” I think the “by himself” is technically accurate – He was the only human being there – but with what we know of Jesus, it seems obvious that He went there to spend time with His Father. Perhaps – just perhaps, mind you – the idea of becoming an earthly king was tempting. So, Jesus needed a bit of reorientation. And where better to get that than with some one-on-one time with His Dad.
I think that’s a pretty good example for all of us: reorienting our lives toward True North, back to the Father. It’s something we should all do, regularly.