Day 3 – A special meal

Bible reading: Luke 9:10–17

Jesus feeds 5,000 men and their families

10 The 12 apostles that Jesus had sent out returned. They told him what they had done. Then he took them away from the crowd, so that he could be alone with them. They went to a town called Bethsaida. 11 But the crowds found out about this. So they went to find Jesus. When he saw the crowds coming, he received them well. He taught them about the kingdom of God. Some sick people were there and he made them well again.

12 When it was nearly evening, the 12 apostles came to Jesus. ‘There are no houses in this place,’ they said. ‘Send the crowd away now. Tell them to go to the villages and farms near here. Then they can get food to eat and they can find a place to sleep.’

13 Jesus said to them, ‘You should give them some food to eat.’

But the disciples said, ‘We only have five loaves of bread and two fish. Do you want us to go and buy food for all these people?’ 14 There were about 5,000 men in the crowd.

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Tell the people that they should sit down on the ground in groups. There should be about 50 people in each group.’

15 So they did this. When the people had sat down, 16 Jesus took the five loaves of bread and the two fish. Then he looked up towards heaven and he thanked God for the food. He broke the bread into pieces. He gave the pieces of bread to the disciples, and they gave the bread to the crowd. 17 Everybody ate and they all had enough food. They were not hungry any more. Then the disciples picked up all the bits of food that people had not eaten. They filled 12 baskets with little bits of food.

9:17Only God could make five loaves of bread and two fish enough to feed 5,000 men and their families. This showed that Jesus' power came from God.

Luke 9:10-17 EasyEnglish Bible (EASY)

Reflection

If we are honest, most of us would have been annoyed and would have told them to go away and stay away. Not Jesus. He wasn’t like that. He welcomed them, and he gave the teaching about God that by now they were eager to have a lot more of.

Everyone was very tired and hungry

By evening, in a hot country like that, everyone was very tired and hungry. His friends say, ‘Send them away – let them try to find something to eat in the villages and farms.’

‘But why don’t you give them something to eat?’ Jesus replied.

They must have thought that was a very peculiar thing to ask. Where were they to get food for 5000 men?

Food for 5000?

Altogether, they only had about five loaves of bread and a couple of small fish. And then they had a huge surprise. ‘Tell everyone to sit down in groups of about 50,’ said Jesus.

What was he going to do? Well, we all enjoy a picnic, and Jesus – after praying over the insufficient provisions and asking his heavenly Father to multiply them – produced the most generous of all picnics. Everyone had more than enough to eat at this astonishing feast in the desert. They must have been absolutely delighted.

A superior feast in the desert

You see, it wasn’t just a superior meal when they most needed it and least expected it. The ancient holy books had predicted that when God’s Saviour arrived, he would provide a feast in the desert. So it was not just a wonderful way to solve their need. It was an enormous claim about who Jesus was. No ordinary person could produce all that food from five little loaves and a couple of small fish. This was God’s work in front of their eyes, just as their holy books had told them how God once fed the Israelites in the desert.

This was no ordinary picnic. This was no ordinary carpenter-teacher. Somebody amazing, somebody unique, was among them. And yes, it really happened. It is recorded in all four of the accounts we have of Jesus. Everybody remembered it. It is true history, as solid as a rock. It makes you think, doesn’t it?