The story of the feeding of the 5000 is found in all the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John. . There is often a deeper meaning in sentences or stories that are repeated.
In this same story repeated in Mark 6:34 (also in John 6:1-15) it says:
“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.”
One of the main things that Jesus is… He is compassionate. He cares for His people. He was compassionate then and He is still compassionate today. Jesus came and saw the needs of the people.
- their physical need of hunger for bread,
- their spiritual hunger for the bread of life. … He is the bread of life. The Bible, the Word of God, being the word of the Father and the Son, “The Word was made flesh and lived among us”.
On the occasion of the feeding of the 5000, Jesus asked His disciples a “leading question” to test what kind of faith they really had. The basic question that Jesus was asking was “Do you believe that I can care for all your needs?” Jesus often asks each of us this same question each day.
“Do you believe that I can help you get the food you need to feed your family?
Do you believe that I can provide for your financial needs?
Do you believe that I can teach you and lead you in the way that you should go?
Do you believe that I love you?”
1. Phillip responds much like many of us would. He immediately worries about money, just like we do. “Eight months wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have even one bite.” Where would they get enough money to buy enough food for 5000 men, around 10,000 people there, including women and children. Hadn’t Phillip seen all the other miracles Jesus had already done? But Phillip does not yet have the faith to believe that Jesus can feed this crowd. Jesus said in Mt 17:20 “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
2. Andrew brings a small boy to Jesus and shows Him that this is the only person in the crowd he could find who has food – only 5 small barley loaves and two fishes -just enough for a boy’s lunch. Andrew was showing his lack of faith by trying to tell Jesus that it would be impossible to feed everyone with this boy’s lunch.
So what does Jesus do? He tells them to sit. To relax. To stop. This is a message for us. Sometimes we simply need to stop our activity, sit down, and wait upon the Lord to work. When times are hard, when things are out of control, when life is rough, when we are in true need, this is a good time to sit down … pray … study the Word and keep our eyes on Jesus. He will provide. Why, because He loves us very much. He cares for us. He has compassion on His children, on the people He has created. If He provides for the birds, if He provides for the flowers, if He holds every atom of this world together, don’t you believe that He cares enough for you to meet your needs?
Jesus then took those little biscuits and fish, broke them, gave thanks to God, and gave the pieces to the disciples to distribute. The disciples could have wondered if they would look silly carrying these little pieces of food to give to the people. The people probably thought they were crazy too.
Jesus actually was accomplishing a dual purpose.
He was feeding them and doing a miracle to prove that he is the Messiah, but He was also showing them a picture of His death and ressurection. .
He was showing them that He would soon give His body, His flesh, on the cross for you and me just like the breaking of the bread (1 Cor. 11:24). He would die aand shed his blood on the cross just like the breaking of the fish (1 Cor. 11:25). But then a miracle would happen. Through His being broken in death on a lonely cross He would provide a way to salvation for every man! That one death would increase to feed countless believers with eternal life.
The small pieces of food were passed out but a miracle happened – it multiplied and never ran out. People found they were eating as much as they wanted., there was so much left over that they collected 12 baskets full. Jesus not only was broken for us on the cross, but He promises us “full, abundant life”. It says in the Word in John 10:10:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Jesus came so that we might have life to the fullest. The people who were there for the miracle of the feeding of the 5000 went away full. When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, He promises that we will have life to its fullest, more than we had ever dreamed before. Any person alive today cannot have a really full life without Jesus Christ.
The sad part of this story is that after the people experienced this great miracle, they still didn’t know who Jesus was. They thought he was a “prophet”. Jesus had to leave quickly because they wanted to make him a king. They did not understand why the Messiah had come. He came to save. He came to feed. He came to die. But they closed their eyes to the truth.
Jesus died for you and me. Jesus wants to take care of you and me today. He wants you to hand everything in your life over to Him. He is the one who created you and me. He can also recreate in you a new creation and bring you the presence of His Holy Spirit within your spirit through His death on the cross. You can have a new nature. Your debt of sin is paid for if you confess your sins and believe and accept the flesh and blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.
We cannot provide for our needs alone. We need Jesus. .
If we claim to be followers of Christ, we also need to wrap our arms around those who are hurting, sick, lonely, depressed, drug addicted, rejected by society, weak. They need Jesus and they may only find Him through the Gospel preached and lived out in your life!