We come to another famous story – Jesus feeding five thousand people with five loaves of bread. The children know this story well as we also covered it during our children’s service. It is also the only miracle that is recorded in all four Gospels (other than Jesus’s resurrection). I was very surprised to find this out. Out of all the miracles, I wonder why this is the one that is recorded in all of the Gospels.
It is interesting how the story starts. The disciples just came back from their missions trip, and they were tired and hungry. Jesus tells them to retreat to a quiet place to rest, but there were just too many people coming to see Jesus. Instead of getting annoyed at his interrupted rest, Jesus has compassion on the people, and starts preaching to them. He talks and talks, and when it was getting late, the disciples come to Jesus. They need to eat! I think the disciples were the hungriest people there, because they were hungry since the beginning of the story.
Surprisingly, Jesus tells the disciples to give them food, which is practically impossible as one of the disciples calculates how much it will cost. Evan and Ian remember during children’s service we talked about how even if we went to McDonalds today, we will not be able to feed all those people! Jesus tells the disciples to find how much food there is, and there is only five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus takes the bread, gives thanks, breaks the loaves and gives it to the disciples to distribute. (Sounds like Communion, right?!) And then amazingly, everyone gets to eat as much as they want, and there are leftovers.
When Jesus saw the crowd and had compassion, what did he do? Did he preform the miracle right away? No. Jesus preached to the people. He was teaching them many things all day, and at the end of the day, he provided food for them. It reminds us of manna in the Old Testament and also Jesus’s answer to his first temptation at the beginning of his ministry.
“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:3)
“Jesus answered, “It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone, but from every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)
As much as food is important, Jesus’s word is more important. His word sustains us. However, that doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t care about our physical hunger. He provides food for us as well. And just like in Jesus’s first miracle of water changing to wine, Jesus provides abundantly! Twelve baskets full of food was left over! When we finally get to feast with Jesus in his kingdom, it will be overflowing with great food and drinks, and it will be so satisfying.
(Same story but shorter version – Matthew 14:13-21)