Feeding the Five Thousand
[Matthew 14:15-21, Mark 6:35-44, Luke 9:12-17, John 6:4-13]
Beyond the Text
- What fish did Jesus feed to the people?
- The Bible doesn’t say and scholars don’t know. Legend has it that the fish was Tilapia, also known as “St. Peter’s Fish.”
- What about the Feeding of Four Thousand? Is it the same?
- Matthew 15:32-38 and Mark 8:1-9 contains a story of the Feeding the Four Thousand in Decapolis. Though some people believe this is another account of the Feeding the Five Thousand, most agree it is a different event. This event describes seven loaves of bread and two fish.
- The Feeding the Five Thousand is the only miracle to appear in all four Gospels besides the Resurrection.
- The Bible says there were 5,000 men. This number does not include the women and children. Most scholars believe there was likely 15,000 people fed during this miracle.
- What was eight months of a man’s wages?
- The eight months of a man’s wages is about two hundred denarii. A denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer.
When it was getting late, what did the disciples want to do with the crowds?
What was Jesus’ response to the disciples?
When Jesus told the disciples “You give them something to eat,” what was the response from the disciples?
The boy provided five loaves and two fish. What did Jesus do? What did the disciples do?
When you have a need, do you try to meet the need? Do you trust God to meet the need? Do you trust God to do the impossible?
This event shows us Jesus provides to the disciples and then they provide to the crowd. How is that similar to what we do as good stewards? As ministers of the Good News? How is this similar for both physical needs and spiritual needs?
The disciples wanted to send the people away but Jesus wanted to take care of their needs. The passage before the Feeding of Five Thousand speaks about something Jesus had for the people. What was this trait? How does it help us to meet the needs of others?
The other day I had a flat tire. I was so very blessed to have a handful of people come to my rescue. It is always a blessing when there are too many hands to do a job. As we pulled the spare tire out of the car to use for a temporary solution, it became clear right away that the spare tire was flat. Good grief?!? Here’s a tire that has one job—to be ready for when a flat tire occurs – and it was flat.
Thankfully one disciple stepped up to get the spare filled with air so I could be on my way. But in the time waiting, I considered the flat tire and its failure. It had one job. Only one job. Failure. It reminded me of something we need always remember – nothing is 100% reliable except for God and His Truth. He never fails. His love never fails (Psalm 136). His Word never fails (Isaiah 55:11, Matthew 24:35, Luke 1:37).
People will fail you again and again. They might not always be on time or they might not show up at all. People may break promises or break your heart. People will lie. People will fall short. Spare tires will be flat. Cars won’t start. The money might not get deposited. The promised raise may not come. But with God, all things are sure and true. Today remember that through all the twists and turns in life, one thing remains – God. He doesn’t change (Malachi 3:6). He doesn’t leave (Deuteronomy 31:6). He keeps His promises (Deuteronomy 7:9). How awesome is our God!
Thomas was given the nickname doubter. No one wants to be a doubting Thomas. He needed to see Jesus and the wounds to actually believe. Yet when we look closely, the other disciples also only believed after they saw Jesus. It is important to have faith as a child and only believe. At the same time, I see this situation with Thomas in a positive light. Thomas believed after he saw– he simply wanted to be sure of things.
Today we have people attempting to tell us the Truth. Some people say they have heard a special word from God and they form their own groups that do not follow God’s Truth. There are people who manipulate God’s Word in an attempt to promote their vision. We have infomercials that stretch the truth, advertisements that are too good to be true, and much more. Sadly people are so very quick to jump at these lies, instead of seeking out the Truth. Thomas wanted to have evidence. He wanted to be sure. Once he knew the Truth, he believed.
Jesus told the disciples to stay alert and beware those who came and pretended to be Him. He warned them that there would be lies and schemes, there would be miss-truths that people would attempt to spread. We see this too many times still today. It is okay to be like Thomas and to want to see proof. When someone says that God’s Word says something, check for yourself. When a minister preaches a message that you are unsure about, dig into God’s Word. If you seek the Truth, the Truth you shall find (Matthew 7:7). Stay alert.
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
– Jeremiah 29:13 [NASB]
Most people have heard the phrase, “We don’t live in a barn” growing up. As a little girl, I will admit I left the door open as I would rush into the house for a quick drink, allowing the cool air to send a chill through the home. We are told to keep our doors closed so the heat stays inside. However, when we look at doors from a church perspective, things are the opposite.
In Acts 21, Paul was at the temple, a place where he would often preach the Good News. As was so common, the Jewish leadership was trying to find fault with Paul to arrest him, because He was sharing Christ and people were believing. Upon another accusation, they grabbed Paul to arrest him. The Bible says in verse 30, that “they dragged him out of the temple, and immediately the doors were shut” (NASB). The Jewish leadership did not want Paul telling people the Truth. To keep the Truth from people, they had to rid the temple of Paul and they closed the doors to keep him out.
Sadly in many churches today, we close the doors. I am not talking about the fact that the doors are closed during the service hours, but rather, I am talking about how we as the body of Christ accept others. Instead of having an open door policy, where we are welcoming people to attend, we are judgmental. Instead of going out of the church to follow the Great Commission, and bring people to know Christ, we close ourselves up within the walls of the church and have fellowship amongst each other.
It’s great to break bread with fellow believers, to have Bible study, to gather together for encouragement and edification purposes. At the same time, a question that must be posed is, are the doors of your church open? Do non-believers feel welcome to come through the doors? When Jesus had His ministry on earth, He ate with sinners. He sat down with tax collectors, people despised by everyone, and looked past the fact. He spoke with a woman at a well that most would have shunned. Are the doors open or are they closed?
Today is a great day to open the doors, step outside for some fresh air, and see what is going on in your community. The Gospel isn’t meant to be all closed up.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20 [NASB]