Summary: The emphasis is on the feeding of 5000. But there are a whole bunch of other topics included in this lesson, should be good teaching for those interested.
“Feeding of the 5000”
10 When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, 11 but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing. 12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”
13 He replied, “You give them something to eat.” They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” 14 (About five thousand men were there.) But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 The disciples did so, and everyone sat down. 16 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. 17 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
1. Where were the Disciples when this miracle took place?
2. Where did the baskets come from?
3. Did Jesus bless the food? Should we?
4. How many did Jesus feed?
5. Who are you feeding?
1. The Where. Technically, the disciples were with Jesus in Bethsaida (there’s some research on this city, but not the focus of this answer here). But there is a key phrase that needs to looked at and remembered forever. The phrase is “IN THIS REMOTE PLACE.”
The disciples were in an area that was uncomfortable to them. Without question, they didn’t really care to be where they were at, and seemed to want to leave soon (which doesn’t demonstrate a whole of love for the people they were ministering too, but I don’t want to be too critical).
“IN THIS REMOTE PLACE” to us would be like those of us who say “WE ARE IN REDNECK COUNTRY,” or “SURROUNDED BY A BUNCH OF HICKS,” or something negative in line with that. There is a sense when someone says things like that, though it is usually in the act of fun, they are speaking negative words towards them. The whole thing is ironic, because in a general sense, in the United States, the people that live in the country are a whole lot more Biblical, a whole lot more patriotic in general, than those who reside in the city—so it doesn’t make sense to speak like that (unless…the issue is really money versus no money, leaders, whaddya think?)
Questions to answer for the group:
A) What types of people make you uncomfortable (emo kids, Arabs, Spanish-speaking, etc).
B) What types of people do you act like/make fun of when they are not around?
C) (After having some fun with the first two, here comes the biggie) Does Christ approve of those actions?
2. Baskets. I was told a long time ago, a really, really cute (but wrong) answer to this parable. The church leader told me that the crowd, after seeing this boy give up his lunch, person by person came forward and gave up their lunch. Then, after everyone gave, they had this grand buffet, and everyone had enough to eat. Yeah! This is so happy-happy. Except for the fact that the 5000 people were all hungry. Seriously, if they all had food, why were the disciples concerned about food? Personally, I hate dumb, human answers like that.
What we know is that a boy had 5 loaves and 2 fish. It’s safe to assume that he carried it in a basket. But where did the other 11 baskets come from? It came from God, just like everything comes from God. The people came with nothing, and left full—which is exactly what is supposed to happen to us when we enter into the presence of Christ.
Time for a church testimony: please take some time out to ask your youth about their church attendance (now, we all know some don’t attend, but we have to bring it up…after all, our goal is NOT to create a person who spends 40 years of their life outside of church). Feel free to share a personal testimony of how church has impacted your life. Please share about your commitment to church (you come rain or shine, sick or well). If your testimony isn’t strong, then share the Jon Wagner testimony of missing part of a Rams game to play the drums. As believers, we need to commit.