John 6:1-15 (NIV) Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias),and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
The story of Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand is sometimes referred to as the miracle of five loaves and two fish. John tells the story of a crowd of five thousand who gathered at the shore of Galilee to meet Jesus. When Jesus saw the crowd, he was concerned that they would be hungry. The disciples were concerned that they did not have enough food to feed the crowd. However, when a young boy provides five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus performs the miracle of not only feeding the thousands there, but also being able to fill twelve baskets with pieces of left over loaves.
This story is told in all four Gospels, implying the four writers thought it was a significant enough miracle that they all wrote about it. What is the message they intended for us to take from this story? Personally, I find this story a great source of comfort and faith. Jesus Christ knows what we need and will provide it for us. What do we need? When hearing this story, our thoughts may go straight to material things, but Jesus is there to help us with all our needs – help for problems we are facing, sadness or grief in our lives, or challenges to overcome. And, most importantly, for the forgiveness for our sins. As I reflect on the “The Journey to the Cross” during this Lenten Season, it provides me with an overwhelming feeling of comfort and faith in Jesus Christ as he forgives us for our sins.
Gracious God, we thank you for the abundance of blessings you have provided to us. Thank you for the blessings of family and good friends. Thank you for providing for our needs, material and spiritual. And thank you for your forgiveness of our sins. And, dear God, please help us to be patient when we are in need, knowing you will provide what we need in your time. In your name we pray, Amen.
Artwork – The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes by James Tissot