I like how Robert Mounce harmonizes the Gospel accounts of Jesus as the Bread of Life, the Feeding of the 4000, and Peter’s Confession of Christ. He connects John 6:67-71 with Matthew 16:13-20. First, we read of many deserting Jesus, following him no longer. After Jesus tells them he is the Bread of Life and they must “eat his flesh and drink his blood,” we read that many of his disciples responded, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” Jesus then asks the Twelve, “You are not going to leave me also?” Peter replies, “Lord, to whom would we go? You are the one whose words give eternal life. We are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
Flowing directly from Peter’s declaration in John 6 into Jesus’ conversation with the disciples in Matthew 16 provides a powerful amplification of Peter’s confession.
I don’t think these two accounts actually flow directly into each other the way Mounce puts them together. John 6 happens after the feeding of the 5000 and Jesus walking on water, which brings them to Capernaum. Matthew 16 takes place up in Caesarea Philipi, north of the Sea of Galilee, after the feeding of the 4000, which takes place in the Decapolis. Jesus travelogue would look like this… he teaches on the Bread of Life in Capernaum (Northeast side of the Sea of Galilee), then travels to the Decapolis (West side of the Sea of Galilee) where he feeds the 4000, and then eventually ends up North of Galilee in Caesarea Philipi, where he tells his disciples, “Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it!”What I do like though about how Mounce connects these accounts is that it allows us to hone in on Peter’s passion for Christ. “We’re with you. Where else would we go? You’re the only one for us!” We know Peter fails. He denies Christ. But Peter’s passion to pursue Christ comes through again at Pentecost and throughout Acts. While Peter is far from perfect, he is doggedly devoted.
Father, I want to pursue your Son passionately like Peter. I want my life, my lips and my love to boldly declare the risen Christ, my Savior, my Lord, my friend.