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 Feeding the Five Thousand

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PostSubject: Feeding the Five Thousand   Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:43 am


Jesus feeds a tired and hungry crowd.

(Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15)

Then the crowds heard of his departure and followed him out of the towns on foot. When Jesus emerged from his retreat he saw a vast crowd and was very deeply moved and cured the sick among them. As evening fell his disciples came to him and said, "We are right in the wilds here and it is very late. Send away these crowds now, so that they can go into the villages and buy themselves food."

"There's no need for them to go away," returned Jesus. "You give them something to eat!"

"But we haven't anything here," they told him, "except five loaves and two fish." To which Jesus replied, "Bring them here to me."

He told the crowd to sit down on the grass. Then he took the five loaves and the two fish in his hands, and, looking up to Heaven, he thanked God, broke the loaves and passed them to his disciples who handed them to the crowd. Everybody ate and was satisfied. Afterwards they collected twelve baskets full of the pieces which were left over. Those who ate numbered about five thousand men, apart from the women and children.

Mark 6:30-44 - The apostles returned to Jesus (after preaching and healing, and following the report of John the Baptist's execution) and reported to him every detail of what they had done and taught. "Now come along to some quiet place by yourselves, and rest for a little while," said Jesus, for there were people coming and going incessantly so that they had not even time for meals. They went off in the boat to a quiet place by themselves, but a great many saw them go and recognised them, and people from all the towns hurried around the shore on foot to forestall them. When Jesus disembarked he saw the large crowd and his heart was touched with pity for them because they seemed to him like sheep without a shepherd. And he settled down to teach them about many things. As the day wore on, his disciples came to him and said, "We are right in the wilds here and it is getting late. Let them go now, so that they can buy themselves something to eat from the farms and villages around here"

But Jesus replied, "You give them something to eat!"

"You mean we're to go and spend ten pounds on bread (equivalent to six month's wages)? Is that how you want us to feed them?"

"What bread have you got?" asked Jesus. "Go and have a look."

And when they found out, they told him, "We have five loaves and two fish."

Jesus miraculously feeds five thousand people

Then Jesus directed the people to sit down in parties on the fresh grass. And they threw themselves down in groups of fifty and a hundred. Then Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to Heaven. thanked God, broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. Everybody ate and was satisfied. Afterwards they collected twelve baskets full of pieces of bread and fish that were left over. There were five thousand men who ate the loaves.

Luke 9:10-17 - Then the apostles returned (as in Mark's account), and when they had made their report to Jesus of what they had done, he took them with him privately and retired into a town called Bethsaida.

Jesus welcomes the crowds, teaches, heals and feeds them

But the crowds observed this and followed him. And he welcomed them and talked to them about the kingdom of God, and cured those who were in need of healing. As the day drew to its close the twelve came to him and said, "Please dismiss the crowd now so that they can go to the villages and country round about and find some food and shelter, for we're quite in the wilds here."

"You give them something to eat!" returned Jesus.

"But we've nothing here," they replied, "except five loaves and two fish, unless you want us to go and buy food for all this crowd?" (There were approximately five thousand men there).

Then Jesus said to the disciples, "Get them to sit down in groups of about fifty."

This they did, making them all sit down. Then he took the five loaves and the two fish and looked up to Heaven, blessed them, broke them into pieces and passed them to his disciples to serve to the crowds. Everybody ate and was satisfied. Afterwards they collected twelve baskets full of broken pieces which were left over.

John 6:1-15 - After this ...

- According to John's account, when Jesus was back in Galilee month's after Jesus had visited Jerusalem, healed the invalid at the Pool of Bethesda - not Bethsaida near the Sea of Galilee - and clashed with the authorities over his claim to be the Son of God:

... Jesus crossed the Lake of Galilee (or Tiberias), and a great crowd followed him because they had seen signs which he gave in his dealings with the sick. But Jesus went up the hillside and sat down there with his disciples. The Passover, the Jewish festival, was near. ....

- The Passover referred to here in verse 6:4 may be the Festival reported earlier in John's Gospel in verse 5: There is some evidence the original order of John was chapters 4, 6, 5, 7, which would account for this inconsistency -

.... So Jesus, raising his eyes and seeing a great crowd on the way towards him, said to Philip, "Where can we buy food for these people to eat?" (He said this to test Philip, for he himself knew what he was going to do.)

"Ten pounds' worth of bread would not be enough for them," Philip replied, "even if they had only a little each."

Then Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, another disciple, put in, "There is a boy here who has five small barley loaves and a couple of fish, but what's the good of that for such a crowd?"

Then Jesus said, "Get the people to sit down."

There was plenty of grass there, and the men, some five thousand of them, sat down. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks for them and distributed them to the people sitting on the grass, and he distributed the fish in the same way, giving them as much as they wanted. When they had eaten enough, Jesus said to his disciples, "Collect the pieces that are left over so that nothing is wasted."

So they did as he suggested and filled twelve baskets with the broken pieces of the five barley loaves, which were left over after the people had eaten! When the men saw this sign of Jesus' power, they kept saying, "This certainly is the Prophet who was to come into the world!"


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