Jesus feeds 5000 plus women and children

The Miracles of Jesus

March 11, 2021

Jesus feeds 5000 plus women and children

John 6:1-15

When I was a full-time youth worker, some of my students’ biggest fund-raisers were meals we served to the congregation and community. I can’t begin to tell you how many meals my groups served and I organized over the years. There were breakfasts, luncheons, dinners, as well as parties that we served meals at.

But the largest meal my group ever provided was while I was serving at Zion Lutheran Church in Fort Myers, FL. The meal was an Easter Morning breakfast, which was served continuously from 8 a.m. till 11 a.m.  That day we served breakfast to roughly 450 people. It took a lot of planning, food, cooks, and 30 students’ cooperation, and about the same number of parents to pull the event off.

I learned early on in my ministry that you can’t put fund-raisers on by yourself. An organized team of volunteer helpers is needed as well.

“After this, Jesus crossed over to the far side of the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias. A huge crowd kept following him wherever he went because they saw his miraculous signs as he healed the sick. Then Jesus climbed a hill and sat down with his disciples around him. (It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration.) Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, 

“Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” 

He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do.

Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money Greek: Two hundred denarii would not be enough. A denarius was equivalent to a laborer’s full day’s wage. to feed them!”

Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?”

“Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said.

So, they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.) Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward, he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted. After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, 

“Now gather the leftovers so that nothing is wasted.” 

So, they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves.”

We’ve all heard or read the story many times. Jesus feeds 5000 with two fish and five barley loaves. But wait, there’s more:

  • John tells us that there were 5000 men that day. That number does not include the women and children that were there that day. Many theologians believe there were more than 15,000 people in attendance. Jesus would not have fed only the men. So, the two fish and five barley loaves went a very long way.
  • As the passage says, for he already knew what he was going to do.” Yes, Jesus asked Philip where they could buy bread, but He already knew that wasn’t going to happen. Jesus like to ask questions of His disciples; it helped them grow in wisdom.
  • Jesus used his disciples as helpers. They had the men sit in groups of 50-100. That had to take some time. Plus, Jesus gave them the instruction to have the men sit in groups. As a good leader, Jesus knew better than to yell out, “Come and get it!”
  • When the scripture says, “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish.” Barley loaves were small; they were the bread of peasants. The fish would have been pickled or smoked, used as a side dish with the bread. There was probably just enough to feed two people.
  • (It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration.) John inserts this short sentence into the passage and quickly moves on. But, we must look at it. Take a moment to think about what this sentence means.
    • The first Passover, when the Jews left the bondage of Egypt, they traveled in the desert wilderness for 40 years. God provided food for them daily with Mana in the morning, and at night He provided quail.
      • On this day, Jesus taught the people how He came to relieve them of the bondage of sin.
      • Jesus also fed the masses bread (manna) and fish (protein).

The final point is the most important. Jesus understood the need to take care of the needs of the people. In this case, it was two-fold. He taught them about forgiveness and the Kingdom of God, and Jesus quite literally fed them.

In Matthew 6, Jesus says:

“Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Unfortunately, the day He fed 5000 plus, most people were not looking at Jesus as the Son of God. Instead, they followed because they knew He could heal ailments and now supply food for them. They were looking at Christ as a ticket to easy street. They wanted Him to be “bread king.”

Jesus is anything but that. He is our Savior, He is our friend, He is our teacher, and He is our Lord. He supplies us with what we need. Just ask; He is there waiting and listening for you. Jesus is not a magician. He is the bread of life.

Dear Jesus. Thank you for supplying us with our needs. Sometimes, we are selfish and feel we need or want more. But you know what is good for us. Remind us often, through your Holy Spirit, to always seek Your Kingdom and righteousness first. Amen.

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