D. Evidence of creation (Jn 6:1-14; see Mt 14:13-21):
At the time of this miraculous production of fish and loaves, we are given an indication by John that this was not the fourth miracle of Jesus, but the listing of the fourth miracle that he used to substantiate his proposition that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God (See Jn 20:30,31). In this text it states that the great multitude “followed Him because they saw His signs” (Jn 6:2). The word “signs” is plural, and thus we assume that many more signs had been worked by Jesus before this sign. The signs that John has recorded to this point continues to build on his apologetic proposition.
On this occasion, it is very important to notice one interesting request that Jesus made after the feeding of the multitudes: “Gather up the fragments that remain so that nothing is lost” (Jn 6:12). In the phrase, “so that nothing is lost,” Jesus had more in mind than simply gathering up the fragments that there be no waste. He wanted the disciples, after gathering every fragment of food, to deduct something from the quantity of the leftovers. “They gathered them together and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves that remained over” (Jn 6:13). This amount came from an initial five fish and two loaves of bread (Mt 14:17). Now it was time for the disciples to start making deductions.
Five thousand men, plus the women and children, were gathered in the multitude (Jn 6:10; see Mt 14:21). There could have easily been over ten thousand people. But when the fragments were gathered up, they filled twelve baskets. From five loaves and two fish, they ended up with twelve baskets of leftovers. Jesus wanted His disciples to do the math, and then come to the conclusion of who was standing in their midst.
Jesus was more than a good Rabbi, more than a good teacher, and more than a prophet. Since only God can create, He wanted the disciples to gather up the fragments in order to come to the conclusion that it was the Creator of all things who stood in their midst (See Cl 1:16). If only God can create, then Jesus wanted them to understand that in some way God was there.
Of all the supernatural wonders that Jesus did in His incarnate state of being on earth, this miracle, and the feeding of the 4,000 on another occasion, brings us to the conclusion that Jesus had command of the supernatural. In the flesh, He could call on the power of God in order to bring about the confirmation of who He was before He came into the flesh of man (Jn 1:14). He was in the beginning with God, and was God (Jn 1:1,2). But we must not think for a moment that while He was on earth that He forsook His command of the power of the supernatural. The twelve baskets full of fragments will always be a profound testimony to the fact that Jesus on earth was far above any prophet among men. It is superfluous, therefore, to compare Jesus as a prophet to self-declared prophets as Muhammad.
Those who witnessed what happened on the occasion of feeding the multitudes, declared, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world” (Jn 6:14). This was the Prophet about whom Moses prophesied who would come after him (Dt 18:15-22). The miracle of the loaves and fishes at least took the minds of the people back to Moses’ prophecy of the Prophet who would come after his likeness. But Jesus was more.
For the disciples, Jesus wanted the event to take their minds far beyond Moses, and Jesus being only the Prophet. When Jesus later gathered the twelve together and asked them the question, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” (Mt 16:13), He was seeking a response that He was more than the Prophet. In order to take their thinking to where John is taking our thinking in recording this particular sign, Jesus called the disciples’ attention to two miracles. These were the miracles of creation in the feeding of the multitude of the 4,000 and 5,000. He was thus demanding the answer that Peter gave: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16). The miracle of creating twelve baskets full of fragments moved Jesus beyond being the One about whom Moses prophesied. The fragments moved Jesus into being the creating Son of God.