Christ Feeds 5,000
Verse 1 – After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias.
Almost a year had passed since the man at the pool had been healed, and Jesus defended Himself for doing it on the Sabbath.
Verse 2 – Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased.
Verse 3 – And Jesus went up on a mountain, and there He sat with His disciples.
Verse 4 – Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near.
This would be the third Passover since the Lord’s baptism and the start of His ministry.
Verse 5 – Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?”
Verse 6 – But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.
Jesus asked Philip because he was from Bethsaida, a town about nine miles away. Jesus knew there was not enough money or enough bread to feed these people and was about to show His disciples nothing was impossible with God.
Verse 7 – Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denari worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”
Verse 8 – One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him,
Verse 9 – “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”
This is exactly how most of us would have responded. We don’t have enough to accomplish the job, so we don’t even try. Why don’t we give what little we have to God, and then watch Him turn it into more than enough? I’ve been there many times. But God is always faithful to supply whatever it is I need and turn it into enough to share with others.
Verse 10 – Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
There were also women and children. Keep in mind that in most times, the Lord will ask or tell you to do something right before your miracle comes. We have to learn to trust and then be obedient.
Verse 11 – And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down, and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.
Do you give thanks to God for your food? Jesus gave thanks and gave the bread and the fish to the disciples, and as they distributed them, it multiplied. When we are obedient and then put our faith with action, God does the work!
Verse 12 – So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.”
In the midst of abundance, take care that nothing is wasted of the good things that God gives so it might be useful to another or used at another time.
Verse 13 – Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.
There is a lesson in leftovers. God gives in abundance. He takes whatever we can offer Him, ability and resources, and multiplies its effectiveness beyond our wildest expectations. If we take the first step and make ourselves available to God, He will show us how much we can be used to advance the kingdom of God.
Verse 14 – Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” (The prophet Moses spoke of Him in Deuteronomy 18:15.)
Verse 15 – Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to a mountain by Himself alone.
Verse 16 – And when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea,
Verse 17 – got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus had not come to them.
Now, how do you imagine that Jesus slipped away from over 5,000 people and His disciples that were close by? I believe it was the same thing that happened when the demons went into the swine and the people of that village wanted to throw Him over the cliff, and He passed right by them without being seen invisible!
Verse 18 – Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing.
Verse 19 – So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid.
After what they had just seen Jesus do with the feeding of 5,000, they shouldn’t have been surprised or even frightened. Faith is a mind-set that expects God to act. When we act on that expectation, it not only will wipe out all fear, but know our miracle is coming. Jesus always shows up in a believer’s life!
Verse 20 – But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”
Verse 21 – Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.
Two things to take note: This may have been the same event where Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on water or it may have been another time. Second, another miracle just took place. No more rowing. They were all of sudden at the land where they were going.
Verse 22 – On the following day, when the people who were standing on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except that one which the disciples had entered, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples, but His disciples had gone away alone –
Verse 23 – however, other boats came from Tiberias, near the place where they ate bread after the Lord had given thanks –
Verse 24 – when the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.
These people, the same that Jesus had fed, witnessed the disciples leaving in a boat, but Jesus wasn’t with them. Word had spread about this miracle, so others showed up in their boats, but when they got to where Jesus had fed all these people, they got back in their boasts looking for Jesus and went to Capernaum.
Verse 25 – And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?”
Verse 26 – Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because yo ate of the loaves and were filled.
Verse 27 – “Do not labor for the food which perishes, bu for food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.
Jesus criticized the people for only following Him for the physical and temporal benefits and not for seeking satisfaction for spiritual hunger. Ask yourself, “Why do you follow Jesus?”
Verse 28 – Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
Verse 29 – Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
The people misunderstood Jesus’ statement and asked about the works God required or they wanted to do the miracles that Jesus did. The religions of the world are mankind’s attempts to answer this question, “What does God want me to do?” But Jesus replied with a simple answer, “Believe on Him.” Satisfying God does not come from the deeds we perform, but from faith in whom He sent, Jesus. All spiritual development is built on this affirmation, good works will follow.
Verse 30 – Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do?
Does this not sound like people today? “Give me a sign, and we’ll believe!” Can people not look around and see His magnificent design of nature and millions of everything else including the planets and stars?
Verse 31 – “Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ”
Verse 32 – Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
Verse 33 – “For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
Verse 34 – Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”
Verse 35 – And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
Just as bread sustains physical life, Jesus is invited into a person’s life and He will sustain their spiritual life.
Verse 36 – “But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.
Verse 37 – “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.
Verse 38 – “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
Verse 39 – This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.
All those who come to Jesus for salvation, are secured in God’s promise of eternal life. Does God know all who will choose Jesus? Yes, He does, but no one comes to the Father unless he be drawn.
Verse 40 – “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
Jesus makes it very clear, “You must put your faith in Jesus Christ, while living and breathing to be raised to eternal life to go with Jesus when He comes! A person is not raised to eternal life if they never committed “this life” to the “Giver of Life!” Our opinions don’t matter; our thinking that God accepts any old way of living and He’ll make an exception won’t cut it. His written word tells us over and over what is acceptable to Him. Not our ways but His.
Verse 41 – The Jews then murmured against Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.”
Verse 42 – And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
Verse 43 – Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves.
Verse 44 – “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up the last day.
God, not man, plays the most active role in salvation. There is absolutely nothing man can do on his own to be saved, nothing! When a person chooses to believe in Christ as Savior, God does the urging and drawing by His Spirit, and then we decide to believe or not. Thus no one can believe without God’s help.
Verse 45 – “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.
Verse 46 – “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.
Jesus was stressing the importance of not merely hearing, but learning with understanding! We are taught by God through scripture and the revelation of it by the Holy Spirit!
Verse 47 – “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.
Verse 48 – “I am the bread of life.
Verse 49 – “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
Verse 50 – “This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.
Verse 51 – “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
Verse 52 – The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”
Verse 53 – Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.
Flesh and blood – the total person. You cannot accept just certain teachings of Jesus, it’s all or nothing! You either accept the person, the cross, and the resurrection, or you have no part in Him.
Verse 54 – “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up the last day.
Verse 55 – “For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.
Verse 56 – “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.
Verse 57 – “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.
Verse 58 – “This is the bread which came down from heaven – not as your fathers ate the manna and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”
Verse 59 – These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.
This message must have shocked those listening. We don’t eat flesh and we don’t drink blood. Jesus was saying that His life had to become their own, but they could not accept this concept. The Apostle Paul used the body and blood imagery in talking about communion (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
Rejection By Many Followers
Verse 60 – Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”
Verse 61 – When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples murmured about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you?
Verse 62 – “What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?
Verse 63 – “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
Verse 64 – “But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him.
Verse 65 – And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”
Verse 66 – From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.
That road that leads to eternal life is narrow. When some hear something they won’t accept, they simply stop following. We either take all of Jesus or we walk away being offended. The true Gospel is offensive to those who are perishing. Choose life!
Verse 67 – Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”
Verse 68 – Then Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
Verse 69 – “Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Verse 70 – Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?”
Verse 71 – He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.
Just as Peter said, “Where would we go?” We should ask ourselves this question when one decides to walk away. Is living the Christian life hard? You bet it is. Will it be worth it in the end? Ask yourself this question: “Do I want to spend eternity in torment and total darkness with no relief in sight, or do I want to spend eternity with a loving God who created Me and never die?