The miracles of Jesus: Feeding of 5,000

John 6:1-15 HCSB

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After this, Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias). 2 And a huge crowd was following Him because they saw the signs that He was performing by ⌊healing⌋ the sick. 3 So Jesus went up a mountain and sat down there with His disciples. 4 Now the Passover, a Jewish festival, was near. 5 Therefore, when Jesus looked up and noticed a huge crowd coming to-ward Him, He asked Philip, “Where will we buy bread so these people can eat?” 6 He asked this to test him, for He Himself knew what He was going to do. 7 Philip answered, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread wouldn’t be enough for each of them to have a little.” 8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, 9 “There’s a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish—but what are they for so many?” 10 Then Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, so they sat down. The men numbered about 5,000. 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, and after giving thanks He distributed them to those who were seated—so also with the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 When they were full, He told His disciples, “Collect the leftovers so that nothing is wasted.” 13 So they collected them and filled 12 baskets with the pieces from the five barley loaves that were left over by those who had eaten. 14 When the people saw the sign He had done, they said, “This really is the Prophet who was to come into the world!” 15 Therefore, when Jesus knew that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He withdrew again to the mountain by Himself.

In the Gospels the Sea of Galilee John 6:1, is also called the Lake of Gennesaret after the surrounding plains Luke 5:1, and the Sea of Tiberias which was the largest city on its banks, John 21:1. We have already noted several Miracles that have taken place in, on and around this sea. No doubt we will entertain others as our study progresses.

As this miracles appears in all four Gospel accounts we shall let A Simplified Harmony of the Gospels impart the facts.

Mk 6:30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to Him all that they had done and taught. Lk 9:10b He took them along and [they] withdrew privately, Jn 6:1b crossed the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias) Mk 6:32-33 in the boat by themselves to a remote place, 33 but many saw them leaving and recognized them. Then they ran there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. Jn 6:2 And a huge crowd was following Him because they saw the signs that He was performing on the sick. Lk 9:11b He welcomed them, spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and cured those who needed healing. Mk 6:34 He… had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then He began to teach them many things. Jn 6:4 Now the Passover, a Jewish festival, was near. Lk 9:12 Late in the day, the Twelve approached and said to Him, “Send the crowd away, so they can go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find food and lodging, because we are in a deserted place here.” Mt 14:16 “They don’t need to go away,” Jesus told them. “You give them something to eat.” Jn 6:5b-6 He asked Philip, “Where will we buy bread so these people can eat?” 6 He asked this to test him, for He Himself knew what He was going to do. 7 Philip answered, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread wouldn’t be enough for each of them to have a little.”

8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peters brother, said to Him, 9 “There’s a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish —but what are they for so many?” Mt 14:18 “Bring them here to Me,” He said. Jn 6:10a “Have the people sit down Lk 9:14b in groups of about fifty each.” Jn 6:10b There was plenty of grass in that place, so the men sat down Mk 6:39b on the green grass. Lk 9:14a (For about five thousand men were there.) Mk 6:41-42 Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke the loaves. And He kept giving them to His disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 Everyone ate and was filled. Jn 6:12-13 When they were full, He told His disciples, “Collect the leftovers so that nothing is wasted.” 13 So they collected them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces from the five barley loaves that were left over by those who had eaten. Jn 6:14 When the people saw the sign He had done, they said, “This really is the Prophet who was to come into the world!” Mk 6:45 Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He dismissed the crowd. Jn 6:15a Therefore, when Jesus knew that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, Mt 14:23b He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone.

Discussion Questions:

  1. By what other names is the Sea of Galilee known in the Bible? Why?
  2. Which feast of the Jews did John say was taking place at that time? Did Jesus attend?
  3. Whom did Jesus ask about buying food for the crowd?
  4. How did the disciple whom Jesus asked respond to His question?
  5. Which of Jesus disciples produced a las who had brought 5 barley loaves & two fish?
  6. How many baskets of fragments were gathered after all had eaten their fill?
  7. What may be deduced from verse 10 & 15 that may have been why Jesus withdrew.?
  8. Jesus used the same Greek word (eucharisteo) when he instituted the Lord’s Supper Matthew 26:27 as here in verse 11 “Give Thanks”. Do you thinks Johns wanted his readers to see a foreshadowing of the Lord’s Supper in the feeding of the 5,000?
  9. Why do you think John mentioned the Passover of the Jews was near? (Compare John 2:13, 5:1, 6:4, 11:55)
  10. What lessons might we take from the fact that Jesus multiplied food on hand rather than creating it out of thin air?
  11. Describe one interesting observation you have noted about John’s account that the other Gospel writers have not. What thought have you had concerning such?