Summary: The miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand in Luke 9:10-17 will teach us that all we really need is Jesus.
There are only two miracles that are recorded in all four of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. One miracle is Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, and the other miracle is Jesus feeding the five thousand (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15). The miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand is in fact mentioned nine times in all the Gospels. Besides the four detailed accounts of the miracle itself in the Gospels, it is referred to on five other occasions (Matthew 16:9; Mark 6:52; 8:19; John 6:23; 6:26).
Jesus feeding the five thousand follows Jesus sending out the twelve apostles on their first short-term missions trip (Luke 9:1-6). Jesus gave them authority to preach, heal, and cast out demons. The twelve were so successful in their ministry assignment that even King Herod heard about all that was happening. He was so perplexed about it that he asked regarding Jesus, “Who is this about whom I hear such things?” (Luke 9:7-9). The miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand teaches us more about the identity and mission of Jesus.
Jesus feeding the five thousand concludes his ministry in Galilee. As commentator Kent Hughes observes, “Here Galilee’s privileged opportunity, its season of grace, concludes.” After “the world’s most famous picnic,” as Phil Ryken calls it, Jesus’ ministry would now move to the coastal cities of Tyre, Sidon, and Caesarea Philippi, and then to the Transjordan, and finally down through Judea to Jerusalem where he would be crucified.
Let’s read about Jesus feeding the five thousand in Luke 9:10-17:
10 On their return the apostles told him all that they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida. 11 When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing. 12 Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, “Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place.” 13 But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” 14 For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 And they did so, and had them all sit down. 16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces. (Luke 9:10-17)
About twenty-five years ago I attended a Men’s Retreat. There were about one hundred and fifty men from about fifteen churches in attendance. I still remember what the speaker said when he begin his first message. He said, “If you have been a Christian for any length of time, what I am about to say in my messages will not be new to you. I am simply going to remind you of what you already know.”
As a young pastor I was surprised by his comment. But after twenty-five years of ministry I fully agree with him.
Much of the Christian life is remembering what we have forgotten. I like the way Phil Ryken puts it:
What are some of the basic lessons that Christians sometimes forget to remember? We forget to study the Bible, not remembering that God’s Word gives us life. We forget the power of prayer, not remembering that God’s blessing is ours for the asking. We forget that we cannot make it on our own, not remembering our deep dependency on the Holy Spirit. We forget that we do not have to work our way to heaven, not remembering that God has accepted us in Christ. We forget how much God loves us, not remembering that we are his sons and daughters. We forget that our Father knows best, not remembering to trust his sovereign plan for our lives. And we forget that God will provide, not remembering his promise to give us our daily bread.
The twelve apostles also struggled to remember lessons taught to them by our Lord Jesus Christ. This is dramatically illustrated in the miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand.
The miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand in Luke 9:10-17 will teach us that all we really need is Jesus.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. The Retreat of Jesus (9:10)