Summary: Jesus feeds 5000 men plus women and children with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.
This story, the feeding of the five thousand is the only miracle Jesus preformed that is recorded in all four Gospels. Therefore we can conclude this to be a very important occurrence. It occurred during the Passover season about one year before Christ’s death (John 6:4). Wherever Jesus went large crowds gathered.
Now at this time several things had happened. Remember, Jesus was just rejected by the people in His hometown, as a matter of fact; He departed the area as they were attempting to push Him off a cliff. His disciple’s had just returned from the mission field, a trip He had sent them on (Mark 6:30; Luke 9:10). Word had just come to Him that Herod had beheaded His forerunner, John the Baptist. Not only was John His friend and partner in the ministry but also he was Jesus’ cousin, His own flesh and blood.
Some might say Jesus was fleeing for His life, but not so. He wasn’t afraid of Herod; He knew His time had not yet come. No, He needed time to get away, time to get alone, to grieve, to pray, to rest, to be with the disciples and hear about their experiences on the mission field and to teach them. He knew they also needed time to recharge their batteries.
So Jesus and the disciples got into a boat and crossed the Sea of Galilee to a deserted place to be alone. But when the people heard that Jesus had departed they followed on foot. When Jesus saw that the crowds had followed them, how did He react? Did He get back into the boat and go further away? Did He get upset that He wouldn’t get any rest or time alone with the disciples?
No, far from being irritated by this intrusion, He had compassion for them and began to cure them from any and all afflictions they had. Just like He’ll have compassion for each of us. All we have to do is turn to Him and put our trust in Him. He’ll take care of all our needs, now notice I didn’t say that He’ll take care of all our wants, but He will provide the necessities of life.
We all watched last week as the rescue team in Pennsylvania served in an effort that many of us thought would end in tragedy. Little did we or anyone else know that these rescuers were participating in a modern day miracle. Tears welled in my eyes as I suspect they did in others each time a miner was pulled from the earth. That round cage they used to extract them gave me a claustrophobic feeling just looking at it and I would sit in front of the TV telling the rescuers to hurry and get the rest out.
I am sure you have tried to imagine what three days down that hole felt like. Their story will no doubt become a made for TV movie. One of the miraculous images told about in their days together is the story about the lunch box. Apparently, just as they found the hole that would become their 77-hour life support a lunch box with a corned – beef sandwich and a soft drink suddenly appeared floating in the water – now we all can imagine how coal miners can eat! That was all they had to eat for three days. Just what they needed, the nutrition, carbohydrates, amino acid, sugar and caffeine to fight off hypothermia, not their wants but their life sustaining needs.
There were two distinguishable evenings recognized in the Jewish culture in Jesus’ time, the first being around 3:00 pm and the second being at sundown. Now when the first evening came, the disciples knew the crowds would soon grow hungry, as there own stomachs were probably starting to growl. So they came to Jesus and said, send these people away, Lord. It is getting late and time for dinner and we have no way to feed them, so send them on their way now. Let them go to the villages and fend for themselves!
Now here is the Christ, the Son of God. He is the one who had provided manna and water in the desert for the children of Israel (Exodus 16:2-3 and Numbers 20:1-6). He is the one who provided when Elijah and the widow lacked food (1 Kings 17:1-8). He provided when Hezekiah lacked health (2 Kings 20:1), and when Job was sick with boils (Job 2:7).
But you see the disciples still didn’t get it, Jesus assured them there was no need to send the crowd away. Why should the people leave when the One who opens His hand and supplies the desire of every living thing is present? Jesus really catches the disciples off guard by saying, “You give them something to eat.” Can you imagine the look on the disciple’s faces; they must have been floored? “Give them something to eat? We have nothing but five loaves and two fish.” They however have forgotten, just like we do, they also had the Christ, Jesus the Son of God.