Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15.
Jesus Feeds 5000 - Story Summary:
While going about his ministry, Jesus Christ received some terrible news. John the Baptist, his friend, kinsman, and the prophet who proclaimed him as the Messiah, had been beheaded by Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee and Perea.
Jesus' 12 disciples had just returned from a missionary journey he had sent them on. After they told him all they had done and taught, he took them with him in a boat on the Sea of Galilee to a remote place, for rest and prayer.
Great crowds of people in the area heard that Jesus was near. They ran to see him, bringing their sick friends and relatives. When the boat landed, Jesus saw all the men, women and children and had compassion on them. He taught them about the Kingdom of God and healed those who were sick.
Looking at the crowd, which numbered about 5,000 men, not counting women and children, Jesus asked his disciple Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" (John 6:5, NIV) Jesus knew what he was going to do, but he asked Philip to test him. Philip replied that even eight months' wages would not be enough to give each person even one bite of bread.
Jesus ordered the crowd to sit down in groups of fifty. He took the five loaves, looked up to heaven, gave thanks to God his Father, and passed them to his disciples to be distributed. He did the same with the two fish.
Everyone—men, women and children—ate as much as they wanted! Jesus miraculously multiplied the loaves and fishes so there was more than enough. Then he told his disciples to gather the leftovers so nothing was wasted. They collected enough to fill 12 baskets.
The crowd was so overwhelmed by this miracle that they understood Jesus was the prophet who had been promised. Knowing they would want to force him to become their king, Jesus fled from them.
Points of Interest from the Story of Jesus Feeding the 5000:
• This miracle when Jesus feeds 5000 is recorded in all four Gospels, with only slight differences in details. It is a separate incident from the feeding of the 4,000.
• Only the men were counted in this story. When the women and children were added, the crowd probably numbered 10,000 to 20,000.
• These Jews were as "lost" as their ancestors who wandered in the desert during the Exodus, when God provided manna to feed them. Jesus was superior to Moses because he not only provided physical food but also spiritual food, as the "bread of life."
• Jesus' disciples focused on the problem rather than on God. When we are confronted with an unsolvable situation, we need to remember "For nothing is impossible with God." (Luke 1:37, NIV)
• The 12 baskets of leftovers may symbolize the 12 tribes of Israel. They also tell us that God is not only a generous provider, but that he has unlimited resources.
• This miraculous feeding of the multitude was another sign that Jesus was the Messiah. However, the people did not understand that he was a spiritual king, and wanted to force him to be a military leader who would overthrow the Romans. This is the reason Jesus fled from them.
Question for Reflection:
Philip and Andrew seemed to have forgotten all the miracles Jesus had performed before. When you face a crisis in your life, do you remember how God helped you in the past?