John 6. It was around the time of Passover, in a place on Galilee Sea’s far side where grew “much grass.” The flock was large (over 5,000), so intent on following the Shepherd that almost none had brought food.
And Jesus posed a question, to one of His disciples:
Where shall we get bread for them?
No idle remark, this, nor bread’s mention simply literal…
After collecting a tiny amount of barley bread, He made them lie down in green pasture — as in Psalm 23. (The Greek word in John 6:10 usually translated “sit” actually means recline. In the prevailing Roman culture people reclined to dine.)
They broke the bread, and it multiplied as they gave it to the people, there on Galilee’s hillside. The people partook and were satisfied, and abundance was left over.
Then after this miraculous feeding, He told them the most vital bread they needed:
“The bread come down from heaven.”
“I am the bread of life.”
Sometime later, while His smaller flock “reclined at table,” He took bread again and broke it, saying, “This is my body, given for you. Take, and eat.”
The broken Word become the food to satisfy with Eternal life.
But why did He make His sheep lie down?
Sheep need to ruminate. The sheep that doesn’t, remains in want. Without the ruminating, its body makes no use of what’s taken in. It just accumulates there, useless, and that sheep, though full of food, is dying slow death from malnutrition. For sheep, like cows and goats, have more than one “stomach.” The first receives food as a storage tank—a personal food bank, from which deposits must be withdrawn for use.
And sheep need to lie down to ruminate. After racing or grazing, it’s time to stop, recline, withdraw nourishment from the inner pantry, and chew. Chew it up, swallow it back down, where, processed, it can send out nourishment to strengthen and give fuel for action.
So He bids us (and sometimes makes us) “lie down,” stop and rest, that we’ll not just take in spiritual nourishment, but also gain the good of it…
…and not start dying from the inside out.
I need to find time — correction: make time — to get still and ruminate on the bread of life.
Taking time in the coming days before we observe the Good Shepherd’s laying down of His life for the sheep. Making time. It’s essential.
[Edited page from the archives.]
Ruminating today on these reasons, in all He is, to worship Him:
79 – He is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11)
80 – He laid down His life for his flock, his “sheep” (John 10:11)
81 – He supplies their need so they will not be “in want” (John 6:5-13; Psalm 23:1)
82 – He can multiply bread mightily (John 6:8-13)
83 – He walked on water (and it wasn’t ice!) (John 6:19)
84 – He gives food that doesn’t perish, but endures to everlasting life (John 6:27)
85 – He is the true bread from heaven (John 6:32-35)
86 – He restores souls (Ps 23:3)
87 – He leads His own in the paths of righteousness (Ps 23:3)
88 – He is present with His own even through the Valley of the Shadow of Death (Ps 23:4)
89 – His rod and His staff comfort His “sheep”
90 – He prepares a table even in the wilderness for His own, even in their enemies’ presence (Ps 23:5)
91 – He makes their “cup” overflow (Ps 23:5)
92 – He causes goodness and mercy to follow His own all the days of their life (Ps 23:6)
93 – He enables His own to dwell in His house forever (Ps 23:6)