5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” 6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.(Jn. 6:5-6)
The definition of test is this: (2) put to the test, examine, try (RV 2.2); in a good sense of God’s actions toward his people prove, put to the test, try (HE 11.17)
This scene of feeding the 5,000 and the Bread (i.e. manna from heaven) of life explanation parallels the scene in Exodus.
4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.(Exod. 16:4)
The wilderness was the testing grounds. Upon crossing the Red Sea on dry ground and merely watching the Lord destroy the entire Egyptian Army, you would think that when they encounter the need of water and food they would consider the power and love of God and then trust and ask Him to provide that which they need. As you know, they complained and quarreled with Moses and God.
They had just listened to Miriam sing a song of triumph! They rejoiced over the fall of Pharaoh and his army. They worshiped! And then they murmured.
What happens in John 6 is very similar. Phillip was present when Jesus turned the water into wine. Jesus asked Phillip where bread could be purchased to feed this crowd. Israel thought God had saved them from slavery in Egypt only to let them die in the wilderness. Phillip makes quick work to show Jesus how absurd it was to consider buying only enough bread to barely feed them a bite.
We shouldn’t be surprised by this. I suppose it’s easy to watch these stories unfold and see more clearly than they did. But I’m pretty sure we are/were just like them. I know I still struggle to believe sometimes. It is only by God’s amazing grace that I see anything.
Let’s hear how Phillip responded to the Lord of the test. “Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” (Jn. 6:7).
What would it sound like to believe when Jesus tested him? And just know that we have an advantage in this story. Jesus didn’t say, “Oh, by the way Phillip, I’m testing you,” It’s similar to reading the book of Job and seeing the behind the scenes meeting in heaven. Job wasn’t at the meetings.
Since hindsight is 20/20, what should Phillip have said? How would you have responded? Or better yet, how have you responded?
Well, Phillip should have said, “Lord, I saw you turn water into wine. I believe you are the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus, you have the power and authority to cause bread to fall from the sky. And our forefathers picked up manna from heaven. You can cause quail to be gathered before us all. You can make water flow from a rock. Lord, we don’t need to go anywhere to buy bread. We don’t need any money for supper. If you are the Son of God, then you can do all things. Nothing is too hard for you.”
“Furthermore, I believe you are the Bread from heaven. I need nothing else but you, Jesus.”
There were two tests that day. Jesus tested Phillip but Phillip tested Jesus. Phillip failed the test but Jesus didn’t fail. We need a Savior who doesn’t fail. Indeed, he is sufficient for our failings. I trust you know what to do if you have experienced the merciful salvation of Christ. If you have not, please comment below and I would love to help you know how to be saved.
If you have the Bread of Life, you will never hunger again!
Life is a test. Do you believe in Jesus or not?