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?
Many people will agree that the Bible mentions some type of “do not fear” phrase 365 times and these same people hold that God left us these phrases so we have one for each day of the year. The Bible verse I return to often is Isaiah 41:10 which tells us to “fear not.” That’s where FearNot Ministries was born.
In Mark 6, the disciples were in the middle of storm that produced great wind. The disciples were struggling. Through this storm, there was Jesus walking on the water. It frightened the disciples. Who can say what was going through their minds? But Jesus told them not to be afraid. Then he said, “Take courage! I am here!”
Take courage. Jesus is here. If you’ve accepted Him into your heart—if you believe in Him and He is your Lord and Savior, He promised that you would receive His Spirit. God is always with you. So take courage. No matter what you are going through. Take courage. He is with you.
“They were all terrified when they saw him. But Jesus spoke to them at once. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said. ‘Take courage! I am here!’” – Mark 6:50 [NLT]
“Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.’ But he answered, ‘You give them something to eat.’ They said to him, ‘That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?’” – Mark 6:36-37 [NIV]
As I was reading the Book of Mark last night, it was very confrontational. The disciples were with Jesus and a large crowd of people. It’s estimated that there were five thousand men so there were most likely at least ten thousand people if counting women and children. It was getting about the time to eat and the disciples suggested that the large crowd get sent away so they could find themselves some food. In all fairness, the disciples were considering this because they wanted the people to have the time to get food. But Jesus saw things differently because God sees a much bigger picture. While the disciples saw the large crowd and limited food and thought logically that the people would need to leave and hunt for food, Jesus saw what was lacking and did what only He could do to fill the need.
Sometimes we like to send people away because we don’t want to help. Helping might require a sacrifice and time we aren’t willing to lose. Sometimes we see what we are lacking and immediately want to turn in the other direction. But Jesus said to the disciples “YOU give them something to eat” and sometimes He tells us that WE are to do something—not send people away in need, figuring they will find what they need elsewhere.
Today, if God is calling you to do something—do it. Trust He will make the way. Trust He has a bigger picture. You never know what He may do through you unless you allow Him to use you like only He can.
Sample excerpt: “The hardest item to overcome when thinking about having faith is fear. Fear is certainly difficult to cope with at times. Fear and worry can be scary. When we are afraid, it changes how we cope with everything else in life. It is vital to understand that our God is big enough. It’s also important to understand that God gives us everything we need in life to get through each obstacle. We need to have our ears and eyes open to see and to hear. We must have faith that He has it covered, because whether we admit it or not, He has it covered.”