Jesus is sitting w/ His disciples, away from the crowds, but He can see that the crowds are coming. He looks out over them and doesn‚Äôt ask ‚ÄúShould we feed these people?‚Äù but instead, ‚ÄúWhere do we get their bread?‚Äù
I love that. Jesus isn‚Äôt waiting for the people to come and beg. None of the people are actually expecting anything like this from Him. (later in chapter 6 they will, but so far they don‚Äôt)
The Father looks for ways to care for people. Jesus did not make 8,000 pounds of bread for the disciples and then say, ‚Äúwho can we give these leftovers too‚Ä¶I know! Those 5,000 people over there!‚Äù He made the bread and the fish for the people first.
When the manna came down from heaven, it was an answer to the people‚Äôs grumbling against God and they had to prepare it. This time it isn‚Äôt an answer to anything, it is motivated by Jesus and it‚Äôs already prepared for them.
I can‚Äôt help but see some parallels with this and the Law and Grace. Manna and The Law came from grumbling to help the people to see the Holiness of God. It required work to be received and could spoil. The Grace of God in Jesus came even though we weren‚Äôt seeking or expecting Him. All of the work was already done by Jesus on the cross, and the bread of life and salvation was brought to us, prepared and ready to take in. This grace was not something that would spoil or fade, but be in such abundance for us that there would be grace left over to share in other places at a later date.