Before feeding the crowd with loaves and fish, Jesus had given thanks to God. Maybe that was to be expected but not really appreciated. Didn’t they all have their prayers and meal rituals?
The most obvious fact was missed. Jesus thanked the Father for making the meal possible. It came from God.
I struggle often with mealtime prayers. It is easier for me to focus on the food than it is to pause and reflect on who my provider is. Jesus calls us on our selfish focus.
There was a lot of energy and time exerted by the seeking crowd. Jesus teaches that they should not waste themselves chasing down miracle meals that leave them hungry the next morning. There is a soul food that satisfies. Jesus calls followers to expend their energy on the spiritual food that lasts forever. The Son of Man can give this enduring nourishment and inner satisfaction that will not be found in chasing miracle meetings or false hopes of fixing the nation’s deep problems.
And the crowd that yesterday had numbered in the thousands took it on the chin from Jesus. They nodded and were curious about this soul food Jesus described.
It is often the price that separates those who like something and those who are committed to ownership. Anyone can window shop, but those who really need something will pay the price. Jesus says that a commitment to follow him will bring the benefits of this inner spiritual nourishment. This commitment to him is the price they must be willing to pay.
With the bulging eyes and whistles that come from seeing a large price tag, they waffle. Now they finally get concerned about whom Jesus is. The free meal was easy to receive, but this call to commitment requires that they know more about what they are signing up for.
When you are faced with the fear of commitment it is common to want another reason before proceeding. They ask Jesus to show them another sign to validate his right to ask them for commitment.