The Story of Jesus

Feeding Five Thousand

The disciples returned to Jesus, telling about the people they had healed and taught in Galilee. Now more and more people heard about Jesus. They came from everywhere to hear and see him.

The people were so eager to hear Jesus and have their loved ones healed, that they were always with him. He did not have time to rest or 

even to eat. So Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and said, "Come with me to a quiet place, for we must rest awhile."

They sailed to the other side of the sea and went into a desert place. But they did not find much time to rest, for soon a great crowd gathered. The people had followed from the other side of the sea. Perhaps the disciples were disappointed because the people had found them again, but Jesus looked at the people lovingly. "They are like sheep that have no shepherd," he said.

Jesus sat down to teach them again. He healed the sick and taught the people about the kingdom of heaven.

Evening came. Still the people stayed. They seemed to forget they could not find food or shelter in the desert. The disciples wanted Jesus to send the people away. "Send the people away," said the disciples, "so they can buy food in the towns and villages as they go home."

But Jesus answered, "We must feed them before sending them away." Turning to Philip, he asked, "Where shall we find bread, that all these people may eat?"

Philip looked at the people and shook his head. "If we should buy two hundred pennyworth of bread," he answered, "there would not be enough for each one to have a small piece."

In this great crowd were five thousand men besides all the women and children. When they left home, they did not know they would have to go so far to find Jesus. One boy, however, had not forgotten his lunch basket. In it were five little loaves of barley bread and two small fishes.

The boy heard Jesus and the disciples talking about what to do. He went up to Andrew, showed his lunch basket, and offered to give the food to Jesus. Andrew told Jesus.

"How many loaves are there in the basket?" asked Jesus.

"Only five and two small fishes," Andrew said. "But what will that be among so many people?"

"Bring it to me," Jesus replied. To the disciples he said, "Make the people sit down in groups of fifty and a hundred."

Jesus took the loaves and fishes, gave thanks, and broke the food into small pieces. He filled a basket for each disciple to pass among the hungry people.

When the crowd had eaten all they wanted, Jesus had the disciples gather up the food that was left. There were twelve baskets full.

This miracle excited the people. They wanted Jesus to become their king. How wonderful it would be to have a king who could feed them by working miracles!

Jesus would not allow the people to make him king. He had not come to the earth to rule an earthly kingdom. He commanded his disciples to enter the ship and return to the other side of the sea. Sending the people away, he went alone up the mountainside to pray.

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