Jesus therefore, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force, to make him king, withdrew again to the mountain by himself alone. John 6:15
All the four gospels recorded the feeding of the 5000. Mark, Matthew and John follows this story with a conspicuous detail transition – Jesus going up a mountain to pray.
The people followed Jesus and even were ahead of them on that side of the Lake of Galilee because they are afflicted with certain diseases and they want to get healed. Or else, they were hungry for enlightenment about life questions that only Jesus seem to be able to answer. Here is their hope, their salvation. Would he now replace the Roman King and establish a kingdom like that of David? Would he perhaps want to be King?
As probable as they thought this could be, the people’s clamor isn’t going to have it’s desired answer. John says that Jesus “perceived” the people’s intention. In other parts of the gospels, Jesus has cried out in frustration and deep longing because of the stubbornness of the Jews. ““Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.(Matthew 23:37).
Feeding the multitude is another one of the manifestations of this compassion. “Give them something to eat,” Jesus says even as his disciples say it is impossible to feed five thousand people with only two loaves of bread and two fish. But to Jesus, that need to eat was only too obvious — however, the other need — the need for a Savior, a Messiah has been clouded and needs to be established.
What is in your heart in coming to Jesus? Do you want him to be “King” of your life? Even with impure motives when we come to God, His response will always be a compassionate meeting of our needs and a stubborn persistence at knocking on the hard doors of our hearts. Yet, even as Jesus gives us what we need, He will “withdraw to the mountain and pray.” He isn’t going to be our King as is our worldly grasp of what being “king” connotes. Instead, he wants to be the King of our life, in control of every facet – fully the ruler even beyond what we can fully grasp or imagine. He wants us to genuinely welcome him in our hearts. There is no real salvation apart from this.