JESUS FEEDS THE FIVE THOUSAND
|Passage to Study:
Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17, John 6:5-13.
Read with the class:
Younger children: John 6:51 “I am the living bread which came down from
Youth: John 6:51 “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any
man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is
my flesh, which I will give for the life of this world.”
OBJECTIVES: To teach that :
1. Although a person possesses “little”, it can be multiplied to provide
great blessing to others when placed in the Lord’s hands.
2. The One that could provide food for five thousand men can provide for
mankind’s every need.
3. Jesus used His disciples to serve the multitudes. Today He wants to
bless the world through His own.
4. There was a double lesson: first for the disciples and then for the
5. Those who know the Lord Jesus as Saviour have the responsibility of giving
out the bread of life, which the world needs.
SCENE No. 1. At the seaside, figures of Jesus and His disciples, and
Note: This miracle is the only one that is recounted in all four of the gospels.
- The disciples of John the Baptist went to Jesus to inform Him of the death of
John at the hand of Herod.
- The twelve disciples that had been sent to preach in other cities returned
around the same time.
- Jesus invited them to accompany Him to get into a boat to go to the other side
of the lake for a rest.
- When they saw that Jesus was going across the lake, the people sought Him out
by going on foot to an unpopulated area outside the city of Bethsaida and
arrived before Jesus and his disciples (Luke 9:10).
- Motivated always by love and compassion, the Lord Jesus taught the people many
things and healed their sick.
Sug. Ask the students what they would have liked to have heard Jesus teach, had
they been there. The teacher should have some ideas of what is appropriate
in order to guide the conversation.
Lsn. Jesus was concerned not only for the large multitudes but also for each
- Jesus showed His compassion, providing first for their spiritual needs
and then providing bread for their physical well-being.
Cmt. God’s provision of our daily bread is evidence that He is concerned for
- It seems that the disciples saw the multitude as a problem and at the end of
the day suggested to the Lord that He send them away.
- Jesus took advantage of the opportunity to demonstrate His power and at the
same time teach the disciples an important lesson.
- Jesus told His disciples that there was no need for them to go away and said,
“give ye them to eat” (v.37).
- Philip especially, had his faith tested (John 6:5-6).
- Apparently, they had two hundred denarius, which Philip said was insufficient
to meet the need even if the people were to eat only a little.
- Philip focused on the amount of money and did not think about the power of
Jesus, which they had already seen in operation in healing people.
- The disciples recognized their inability to provide for the needs of the
Lsn. 1. The disciples first had to learn that provision for the needy comes from
the Lord and the resources that would meet the needs of the multitude were not
to be sought from within themselves.
Lsn. 2. The multitude had to learn that miraculous provision comes from the
SCENE No. 2. VISUAL AIDS: To the same scene as above, add figures of the
boy with his bag of food being presented to the Lord by Andrew, one of the
- Somehow Andrew had gained the trust of the lad for he handed his lunch over to
the Lord Jesus.
Sug. Have the students think about what Andrew might have said to convince the
lad to offer his food. It can be interesting to ask how he achieved this
- In his bag the youth had brought bread and fish, enough for himself and
perhaps one other person.
Cmt. This disciple, Andrew, is always seen bringing others to the Lord.
The first one he brought was Peter, and now presents the lad to Jesus with his
bread and two fish.
- Andrew the disciple did not know how such a small amount of food could solve
the problem, but he had faith in the Lord, thinking He could do something with
what was given Him.
Cns. Andrew is a good example of one who shows “mustard-seed” faith in his
- The bread and fish, placed in the hands of the Lord Jesus, were about to be a
blessing to thousands.
Apl. God loves the cheerful giver. Even when it is just a little, in the
Lord’s hands it can be useful far beyond what we could imagine.
SCENE No. 3. VISUAL AIDS: By the seaside, figures of the multitude seated and
the disciples serving bread and fish to the people.
Lsn. In putting what he had into the Lord’s hands the youth showed willingness
to hand over EVERYTHING.
Sug. Mention to the students that when one believes in Christ, it calls for a
complete commitment to Him not only as Saviour, but also as Lord.
- No doubt, the lad was near the Lord and watched with amazement what Jesus did
with his lunch.
- Jesus managed the whole situation, requiring that the multitude sit down in an
orderly way to be attended to by the disciples. He commanded that they sit
in groups of fifty and one hundred.
- Jesus first gave thanks for the food.
Apl. Stress the need to be thankful always.
- In His prayer of thanks for the bread and fish, Jesus showed His fellowship
with the Father.
- When He broke the bread and handed it to His disciples it was sufficient to
meet the needs of the people. In this way, Jesus showed that He is the
source of blessing for the hungry.
Cmt. Later on, the Lord explained that He is the Bread that came down from
heaven to supply the need of the people (John 6:30-50).
- More was left over than there was at the beginning. In this we see the
fulfillment of Ephesians 3:20.
- What was left over was not thrown away but was gathered up to be used by
Cns. Would each of the disciples have taken home a basket of bread and told the
story of how they acquired this bread?
Sug. Use the detail of the bread that was left over and probably distributed
elsewhere to teach that blessings experienced in the life of one person can also
have an effect on others even though not present.
Exm. A father is given a promotion at work with increased salary. The
family enjoys the benefit of more money available. A mother receives a
gift of clothing and takes it home for the children to wear.
Cmt. Especially when someone is converted, the family and friends are affected
by the changes this brings about.
Lsns. The Lord’s disciples learned:
a) That the One who could provide food for more than five thousand can also
provide for the needs of the individual disciple.
b) The Lord’s disciples have the responsibility of “giving” the bread of
life placed in their hands for the blessing of a needy world. This is
accomplished through preaching the Gospel.
c) When a believer gives what he possesses to the Lord, even though it is not
much, He can multiply it for the blessing of others.
d) The Lord does things in an orderly way. He commanded that the people
sit down in groups (Mark 6:39-40).
e) By giving thanks first, before eating, Jesus showed the multitude where the
true source of all blessing is found.
f) Jesus did not give the bread directly to the people, but used His disciples
as helpers for He delights to use His own.
g) What was left over showed clearly that there was enough for ALL and in
ABUNDANCE. No one went away hungry.
h) One of the greatest miracles would not have occurred had the disciples
carried out their earlier intention of sending the people away.
Apl. The Lord has blessed us so that we can be a blessing to others. He
wants the whole world to hear the gospel.
Apl. As the teachers “give out” the bread of life to their students, they
provide something for the immediate need and there is always something the
children can take away and share with those at home.
Note to the teacher: When we allow the Lord to “break us”, we become useful
in His hands and a blessing to others.
SCENE No. 4. (OPTIONAL) VISUAL AIDS.
To show that there was another miracle with a different provision, prepare two
sheets, one with 5 fish and 7 loaves and, for contrast, one with 2 fish and 5
Show as well the seven baskets that were filled after one of the meals and the
twelve baskets after the other meal of 5 loaves and 2 fish.
The figures of 4,000 and 5,000 should be added, to show the difference in the
Where there was no difference was in the Author. Jesus was the author of