A large crowd had gathered, maybe as many as 50 or 60,000. Word had gotten out about a free food line. Jesus had fed 5000 men plus women and children the day before. Knowing eastern culture that probably means there were 20 or 25,000 people who had eaten. The amazing thing was He had done it with the sack lunch of one small boy. Jesus had escaped late in the day to the mountain to pray because the people wanted to make Him king.
On this second day, the crowd had managed to track Him down. When He saw them, He said, “I know you are here for the bread.”
He takes the idea of bread and uses it as a metaphor and speak of Himself as the “Bread of Life” offering salvation and eternal life. The people begin to bargain and negotiate. They say, “OK, you fed us one lunch on one day. Moses, now that guy was a real miracle worker. He fed us for 40 years out in the wilderness with bread every morning.You fed about 20 or 25,000, but Moses fed over a million.” So in essence the crowd is saying, “OK, Jesus, you want us to follow you. You want us to be your disciples. What else you got?” Do a bigger trick than Moses. Outdo what we have seen. Show us some real impressive miracle and then we will follow you.
But Jesus is not deterred. Throughout John 6 Jesus speaks of faith. He says, “Faith is the work of the Holy Spirit in a person’s heart.” He says, “All those that the Father gives to me, I will keep them.” And through this chapter Jesus is moving from the crowd to the smaller group. First it is the large crowd, then the church group, and finally just the disciples. Many leave. Jesus won’t cut their deal. So he asks the twelve, “Will you leave also?” And Peter says, “Where would we go?” In other words, “Jesus, you are the only gig in town.”
Jesus doesn’t negotiate the terms of our following Him.