Jn.6:14,15 – All the people were astounded as they saw with their own eyes the incredible miracle Jesus had performed! They began to say among themselves, “He really is the One—the true prophet we’ve been expecting!” So Jesus, knowing that they were about to take him and make him their king by force, quickly left and went up the mountainside alone.
This passage gets right at the heart of why Jesus came and what the kingdom of God actually is. Jesus did come to establish a kingdom but not a kingdom of buildings, wealth, and power or influence. He is and was a king but not the kind of king the crowds were looking for. It seems that the miracle of the fish and the loaves brought the conflict to the surface. The crowd wanted an earthly kingdom. They wanted to get rid of the Romans and have a king that would lead them into a time of prosperity in this life. That is not why Jesus came. He came to die not to conquer armies by force. He came to conquer our hearts through the power of His love. He came to wash away our sins by His sacrificial death. Here is how Erasmus describes this verse.
“Now those who had eaten their fill knew that five loaves, barley loaves at that, and two fish had been found, and they saw how many basketsful were left over. So they began to sound the praises of Jesus, saying, “This is truly the long-expected prophet who was to come into the world.” It is typical of the common people that they are more aware of benefits to belly than to brain. They had seen greater miracles, but they had never rendered him such splendid praise; it was full stomachs that wrung out this language. And now, inexperienced and foolish as they still were, looking for a Messiah to claim an earthly kingdom for them, they schemed together to snatch up Jesus and make him their king, promising themselves goods in abundance, plenty of grain, wealth, freedom and the other comforts of the world if they were lucky enough to have such a king.”
The shocking truth that this message reinforces is this, it is still the same today. The gospel is often viewed as a means to get your best life now, on this earth. Many perceive that the message of the gospel is good news for this life alone. Christ came to redeem us from our sins. The Lord addressed this the following day. He taught about His body and His blood. He came to give us Himself so that we can live. For the next year until the time of the Lord’s death things changed. He had come to be a king, He was about to display exactly what that would look like by His death and resurrection.