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?
Once a person is with Jesus, He doesn’t let go. He never lets go. Read today’s passage. Read this again, “And once that person is with Me, I hold on and don’t let go.” If you accepted Christ as your Savior—if you have given your life to Him—He has taken hold of you and He will never let go. It means that you were running to Him and now you are His.
Each day we face the world and all it brings our way. No matter what comes, Jesus is there. No matter the temptation. No matter the trials. No matter the bad things. No matter the sickness. No matter the stress. No matter what time of day. No matter who you are or the mess you have made. No matter what. If you have ran to Him, He promises that He won’t let go.
Remember this today. He is never leaving go of you. No matter how hard it gets. No matter what hardships come your way. No matter how horrible you think things are in life. He won’t let go. He is going to hold on and not let go. Trust Him. Feel the embrace. Understand that His firm hand is holding it all for you. The troubles may come but no one will snatch you from His hand. Never.
“Jesus said, ‘I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.’”
-John 6:35-38 [MSG]
In life we spend a lot of time in the here and now. We see things from a temporal scope rather than an eternal scope. God has a different time scheme than us. We consider our lives here on earth as our lives. Even when we say we have accepted Jesus and will have eternal life, we again and again take ourselves back to considering time as the time we spend on earth.
As we make plans for our lives, as we look at our lives, we see what time we have here on earth. It’s great to plan. It’s great to consider our steps. But we always must have an eternal focus as well. Our life here on earth is such a short blimp of our eternal life. It’s nothing compared to eternity.
Now Jesus said we aren’t to “waste… energy striving for perishable food… [but] work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides.” So how do you do that? You read His Word. You pray for direction from the Spirit. He will provide you with nourishment, spiritual nourishment that will help you to grow in Him and the nourishment will last forever. You might think its okay to snack here and there, but the truth is the food that matters is the food that sticks with you. May you seek His food and may you see things from His eternal perspective. Life is so different when you see things through Him.
“Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last.”
-John 6:27 [MSG]
To align with someone is to give someone support. To align with someone is to take a side with, to agree with, to root for, to fit with someone. When I think of align I think of getting the car tires aligned. They have to be a particular way for the car to move properly. They have to all be in agreement with how they are to work so that the car will run smoothly.
In today’s passage, it speaks of what God wants—His will for us. He wants us to have eternal life, to align with Jesus. We simply must believe and trust Jesus and align with Him. Then we “will enter real life, eternal life.” How awesome is that?
It is so easy to make an altar call and think that everything is good to go; however, being a Christian, being a true follower of Christ, means so much more. It isn’t about an altar call. It’s about aligning your life with Christ. You believe. You trust. You continue to side with Jesus. You root for Jesus. You fit with Jesus. You agree with Jesus. Your life is built on Jesus. When you are aligned with Jesus, life is always smooth no matter how rough the path, no matter what comes your way.
“This, in a nutshell, is that will: that everything handed over to me by the Father be completed—not a single detail missed—and at the wrap-up of time I have everything and everyone put together, upright and whole. This is what my Father wants: that anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life. My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time.”
-John 6:39-40 [MSG]
We all need fed. We all need the Word of God. We all need Jesus. In John 6, Jesus speaks of people who were seeking Him simply because they were being fed (not spiritually fed, but literally fed). They were not seeking Jesus because they saw God in His actions. It was nothing to do with what Jesus truly offered, but having a stomach filled for free.
There are people every week that look to have their stomachs fed rather than partaking in the Bread of Life. There are those who are not too keen to read the Word of God; they want instead to reap the benefits that are received from the body of Christ. It’s sad but it’s true.
Today I want you to ask yourself—are you seeking Jesus because your stomach is being filled or are you seeking Him because you want Jesus and Him alone. Yes, being a part of the body of Christ sometimes brings about an outpouring of other things; however, at the end of the day, if you are not seeking Jesus, whatever you are seeking is settling for less.
“Jesus answered, ‘You’ve come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you, filled your stomachs—and for free.’”
-John 6:26 [MSG]
Throughout history people attempted to complicate what God desired. Today you can read hundreds and thousands of books telling you what to do and how to act. You can get bogged down and burned out by service. You can become overwhelmed by not matching up to expectations.
But God isn’t asking for what the world continues to desire from you. Jesus said that “the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” BELIEVE in THE ONE He has sent. Believe in Jesus.
If you want to do the works of God, you need only believe in Jesus. That alone is what is required of you. Yes, this will bring you to serve the Lord. But it won’t be complicated—it won’t cause you to become overwhelmed. It will be a joyous outpouring from believing in the One God has sent us.
“Jesus told them, ‘This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.’” – John 6:29 [NLT]