Does John include Jesus’ interchange with Phillip (John 5:7) to emphasize another parallel with Moses (Num. 11:21-22)?

Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” 6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” (John 6:5–7, ESV)

But Moses said, “The people among whom I am number six hundred thousand on foot, and you have said, ‘I will give them meat, that they may eat a whole month!’ 22 Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, and be enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, and be enough for them? (Num. 11:21–22)

In the Synopics only Mark mentions this interchange without naming Phillip.

And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” (Mark 6:37, ESV)

(Synoptic accounts of feeding the 5,000: Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17)

The interchange with Jesus here makes a definite parallel to Moses.

Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. (John 6:31–35, ESV)

1 Answer 1


I think that the story/sermon of John 6 about Jesus being the bread of life and its parallel to OT manna better fits with John's overall scheme to show Jesus as the fulfillment of the sanctuary. Let me illustrate by taking a walk through the sanctuary using the gospel of John.

Outer Court

  • John 1:29 - Jesus is the sacrificial lamb of God
  • John 2:1-12 - water turned to wine; 3:1-8 - born of water; 4:1-26 - Jesus talks to the woman at the well about water; 5:1-14 - Bethesda the pool of water.

Holy Place

  • John 6:1-13 - Jesus feeds the 500 bread; 25-59 - Jesus is the bread of life as manna was
  • John 7:1-24 - Jesus goes the festival of tabernacles and lights; 8:12-20 - Jesus declares Himself the light of the world; 9:1-41 - Jesus heals a man deprived of light (ie, blind), esp. V3, 4 (day vs night)
  • John 12:1-11 Jesus is anointed with oil (cf the oil in the menorah) and then enters Jerusalem as king (V12-19)

It is possible that since the Most Holy Place contained the ark of the covenant (but not in Jesus' time) the last reference to His royal entry to Jerusalem could allude to the events in Rev 5 about the lamb being seated on the right of the throne in heaven.

Astute observes may be able to add further parallels to this list.

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