13 – Feeding Five Thousand

John 6:1–13, 35

Jesus feeds 5,000 men and their families

1 Some time after that, Jesus went across Lake Galilee, which is also called Lake Tiberias. 2 A large crowd of people followed him, because of the miracles that he had done. They had seen him make sick people well. 3 Jesus went up a hill and he sat down there with his disciples. 4 It was nearly the time for the Jewish Passover Festival.

5 Jesus looked up. He saw a large crowd of people who were coming towards him. He said to Philip, ‘Where can we buy enough bread to feed all these people?’ 6 Jesus himself already knew what he would do. But he asked Philip this question because he wanted to know what Philip would say. 7 Philip answered, ‘A man could work for eight months to get 200 silver coins. But he still would not have enough money to buy bread for all these people. There would not be enough bread for each person here to have even a little piece.’ 8 Then Andrew, another one of Jesus' disciples, spoke. He was Simon Peter's brother. 9 He said to Jesus, ‘Here is a boy who has five small loaves and two fish. But that will certainly not be enough food for so many people.’

10 Jesus said, ‘Tell the people to sit down.’ There was plenty of grass in that place, so the people sat down. There were about 5,000 men in the crowd. 11 Jesus took the loaves of bread and he thanked God for them. Then he broke the loaves into pieces. He passed them to all the people who were sitting there. Everyone had as much bread as they wanted to eat. Jesus did the same with the fish. 12 When everyone had eaten enough food, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Do not waste anything. Pick up all the little bits of food that people have not eaten.’ 13 So the disciples picked up all the pieces. They filled 12 baskets with the bits of bread that the people had not eaten.

John 6:1-13 EasyEnglish Bible (EASY)

35 Then Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread that gives life to people. Anyone who comes to me will never be hungry. Anyone who believes in me will never be thirsty.

John 6:35 EasyEnglish Bible (EASY)

Did you Know?

  • Philip, Andrew and Simon Peter were some of Jesus’ twelve disciples.
  • The Passover was the most important Jewish festival.
  • The five loaves were five small cakes.
  • Jews and Christians give thanks to God before they have a meal.

The Meaning of the Story

A large crowd had been following Jesus all day, and they were hungry. Jesus told the disciples to feed these people. It seems impossible to feed so many people with so little food. In the boat on the lake, the disciples did not trust the power of Jesus. Again, they failed Jesus’ test.

In the beginning, God made everything out of nothing. Here, Jesus did what God did. He made lots of food out of a small meal. At the end of the meal, everybody was happy. They had all had plenty to eat. There was food left over. If the crowd had been even bigger, there would still have been enough food for everyone.

Jesus told the crowd that he was ‘the bread of life’. Without food, we will die. But more important than our physical life is our spiritual life. That is, our life in relationship with God. That is the life that goes on forever. Jesus gives us this life.

Who is Jesus?

Again, we see Jesus doing what only God can do. Jesus makes food to give the people life. The food he gives them is so good that they are all very happy.

Jesus was teaching the people an important lesson. We all need physical bread to stay alive. In the same way, we all need the Lord Jesus, the bread of life, to stay alive spiritually.

Jesus gives people true life that lasts forever.

Thinking about the Story

  1. Why was the large crowd following Jesus?
  2. What was the test Jesus gave to his friends?
  3. Why does John tell us that the people ate as much as they wanted? What does this tell us about Jesus?
  4. What did Jesus mean when he called himself ‘the bread of life’?