Feasting with Jesus

Slices

Prepare

Think of something in your life, or perhaps in the news, that seems impossible to solve. Offer it in trust to Jesus.

Bible passage

John 6:1–15

Jesus feeds the five thousand

6 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing those who were ill. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming towards him, he said to Philip, ‘Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?’ He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, ‘It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!’

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, ‘Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?’

10 Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, ‘Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.’ 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, ‘Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.’ 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

Child peeping balloons

Explore

As we read through chapter 6 of John’s Gospel, we come across an important verse early on, which might be missed. Verse 4 says that the Jewish Passover festival was near. Passover, associated with the escape from Egypt, the wanderings in the desert and (for Christians) the Lord’s Supper, fills almost every verse of the chapter, beginning with the feeding of the 5,000.

This miracle appears in all four Gospels, but John typically has his own slant. The five loaves and two fish are miraculously divided among thousands of people, and so great is the abundance that the disciples are sent to collect the leftovers. John alone records Jesus’ words, ‘Let nothing be wasted’ (v 12). Jesus has fed the multitude but the food is not to be left to rot, nor are the crowd encouraged to take the food home for their own use. We don’t know what the disciples did with the 12 basketfuls – perhaps they were distributed among the poor and needy. God’s generosity is so great that even thousands of hungry people cannot exhaust his provision.

It is unsurprising that the crowd want to make Jesus their king, but they don’t realise that it is their spiritual as well as their physical hunger that Jesus has come to satisfy.

Author
Toby Hole

Respond

Are there areas of your life in which you can see God’s generosity? How might you share God’s gifts to you with others? 

Bible in a year

Read the Bible in a year: 1 Chronicles 17,18; Galatians 1

Pray for Scripture Union

Pray for Faith Guides in the south west who will be taking groups to SPREE SW (run by SWYM and supported by SU from 21 to 23 June). This event has streams reflecting the Revealing Jesus framework; one for those wanting to Grow in faith and another to enable the move from Explore to Respond.

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