Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Feeding the five Thousand

Mark 6:30-44

“And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.  And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.  And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.” (Mark 6:30-32)

In Mark 6:7-13, Jesus had sent out his disciples to preach.  Now they returned and began to report what had happened when they preached.    Jesus told them to take a short break, because the crowds were huge and they literally didn’t even have time to eat.    He got them onto a ship without telling anyone where they were going, intending to take a short vacation. 

“And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him.  And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.” (Mark 6:33-34)

Because they had followed him before, many of the people were able to guess where he was going and cut across on land, traveling faster than the ships traveled.  When Jesus and the disciples arrived, they found the crowd already there waiting on them.  Jesus recognized them as having no real leadership and began to teach them the things they needed to know. 

“And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat.” (Mark 6:35-36)

Later that afternoon, the disciples reminded Jesus that there was no food available in that place, and suggested he tell the people to go to the nearby towns and buy something to eat, because they hadn’t brought anything with them. 

“He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat.

And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?

He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see.

And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes.” (Mark 6:37-38)

Instead, Jesus told the disciples to feed them.  They asked him if he wanted them to go to town and buy food for the whole bunch, because it would probably cost more than they had with them.  Jesus asked how much food they had, and they told him they had one little boy’s lunch, basically a couple of sardines and five tortilla like pieces of bread. 

“And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass.  And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties.  And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all.” (Mark 6:39-41)

Jesus had the people sit down in groups of fifty or a hundred to make it easier to serve them.  Then he took the food, and looked up toward heaven and prayed over it before beginning to break pieces off and put it into baskets for the disciples to serve to the crowd. 

“And they did all eat, and were filled.  And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes.  And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.” (Mark 6:42-44)

When they finished and everyone had all they wanted, each of the disciples still had a full basket of food left.  Over five thousand men had been fed with the one little boy’s lunch.  They had far more left over than they started with.  


  1. The Lord doesn't seem to multiply material things like that very often today, though I'm sure he's able to do so if needed. What he often does: He multiplies the fruitfulness of his people's faith and obedience, so that the results are far above anything that they could ask for or hope for.

  2. I suspect he even multiplies the material things more often than we realize, but only when we are willing to give him what we have and trust him to make it accomplish the purpose. Far too often we are so busy with trying to make things happen to see how he is working.