After this, Jesus crossed over to the far side of the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias. (John 6:1)
Relate: After this. If I were to say, “I am going to the store, and after this I am going to the movies.” What would you think? Sometime soon I am going to make a trip to Walmart/Target.etc and then, before returning home or perhaps immediately after dropping off my purchases I will head out to AMC so that I can see the new Avengers movie. Maybe if I qualified it, I could be talking about something a little further into the future. “Last week, I went to see Avengers, tomorrow I will be watching Mad Max, after this Minions will be on the top of my list.” Then you might think I was referring about some time in the next week or two.
When John says after this, all he is saying is that the event he is talking about now happened at some point further into the future than what he had previously related. In John chapter five everything is happening in Jerusalem. Now we are crossing over to the far side of the Sea of Galilee. The problem is, unless we know His starting point, we do not know what side would be “the far side”. Jerusalem isn’t anywhere near that Sea. Clearly plenty of other events happened after the blind man has been healed and Jesus heads out, all we know is that Jesus is getting away.
When we add the synoptics to our timeline, we see that Jesus is heading out after he found out about John’s death and that he was heading towards Bethsaida. (Matthew 14:13, Luke 9:10) That helps some, but again it doesn’t. For one thing, there are two Bethsaidas. For another, neither one of them is close to the traditional historical site for this miracle where we can today visit the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes. However, that church is in a location which would fit with the disciples telling Jesus to send the people to the nearby towns that they might buy some food. But that spot doesn’t fit well with John saying Jesus headed to the far side of the Sea of Galilee. It is awfully close to Capernaum, his main base of ministry. Personally, I think he had headed out to the Northeast corner of the Sea where the Jordan River meets it. This would have been “towards” Bethsaida and also near where John did most of his baptizing. If Jesus was grieving for his cousin, I think it would be likely he would head to a secluded spot that held some poignant memories.
React: After this, I really do have a point. The point is that Jesus was tired. He was grieving. He wanted to be alone, but the crowd was hungry. They were hungry for His presence. They were hungry for His Word. They were physically hungry. Jesus set aside His own wants and desires and He fed them.
He is still feeding us today. We can never “impose” on His hospitality. There is never a bad time to come into His presence. No matter what we might want, no matter what we might need He is able. Even though it seems like sometimes we have been chasing Him all the way to the far side of nowhere, He is there. He is willing. He is so much more than able to bless us far beyond what we could ask or even imagine.
God, I will follow You. Where ever You might go, I will follow You. With all of my being, I will pursue You. And after this, I know that You have my back. Whatever it is I might need, I know You have already provided. Help me to trust You with everything I have and go where ever You might lead me. I want to be with You now and after this.