Jesus sure knew how to gain a following. After performing a miracle of feeding many thousands of people with five loaves and two fish, we gain extended insight into Jesus’ self-understanding. Like God delivered daily food for Israel in their wilderness wanderings, Jesus gives food miraculously as well. However, Jesus doesn’t intend to perform such miracles daily, but instead intends these disciples would learn to see Jesus Himself as the daily provision of food from God (John 6:48-51). Certainly, Jesus even used language that would sound eery in the ears of audiences then and now. Our Lord speaks of it being necessary to eat His flesh and drink His blood to have eternal life. As we progress through John’s Gospel we will see Jesus is speaking about union with Christ in God (see John 17). In the immediate situation, however, this large crowd leaves Jesus by the droves. Some of Jesus’ teachings are just too hard for people to swallow. Note that what caused the crowds to leave wasn’t their unwillingness to obey some incredibly high demand, but their refusal to seek out the deeper meaning of Jesus’ strange teachings. So when the events of John 6 are said and done, Jesus looks around and the crowd that remains with Him is essentially the same as those before he performed the miracle. In this moment, our Lord asked the first apostles if they would abandon Jesus as well. May our response be, when others want to abandon Jesus for greener pastures, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”