The power of Jesus had a mesmerising effect on the crowds. They followed him from place to place. However, they did this less out of faith than out of the hope that they might witness the performance of some marvel. Jesus took the barley loaves (note the link with the Feast of Unleavened Bread), gave thanks (eucharisté), distributed them, and then did the same with the fish. The Eucharistic allusions here are obvious. Once again the crowds were overwhelmed by Jesus. They had followed him to the other side of the lake in order to witness his exceptional power. They were not disappointed. However, they now recognise him as more than a wonder-worker. He is the long-awaited prophet like Moses (cf. Deut 15:18), the one who would usher in the messianic age.