Jesus feeds 5000 people

The Life of Jesus Christ - Chapter 6 - Who is Jesus? - Part 1

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An online Bible Study course by Barrie Wetherill about the life of Jesus. This book is in EasyEnglish Level B. Use the links below for other online Bible Study books and commentaries that will help you. Or go to the Word List, which explains words with a *star.

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At this time it was difficult for Jesus and his *disciples to avoid the crowds (Matthew 14:13). They were tired, and they needed to rest. They left in a boat to go to a quiet place. But the crowds followed them on foot. When Jesus and the *disciples landed, there was already a great crowd there. Jesus loved all people. He knew that the people in the crowd needed his help. Mark records this:

Mark 6:34 When Jesus landed he saw a large crowd. He felt sorry for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd [that is, a person who looks after sheep]. So he began to teach them many things.

Jesus wanted people to trust him. He taught them about the *kingdom of God (Luke 9:11). He also cured people who were ill. Late in the day the *disciples wanted to send the crowds away. Everybody had travelled a long way. The people would have a long journey home. But Jesus wanted to feed the people first. Jesus cared about the crowds. We read about this many times. On another occasion Mark says:

Mark 8:1-3 During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his *disciples to him. He said, ‘I am sorry for these people. They have already been with me for three days, and they have nothing to eat. If I send them away now, they will fall down with hunger. Some of them have come a long distance’.

Food for 5000 people

In Mark 6, the people had no food, but one boy had five loaves and two small fish. Jesus took these and gave thanks to God. Then he broke them, and the *disciples distributed the food to the crowd. By a *miracle there was enough food for everybody. There was plenty for 5000 people to eat well. There was even some food that the people did not eat. In fact, enough food remained to fill 12 baskets. This *miracle was a sign with an important meaning. Afterwards there was a very important discussion.

The meaning of the *miracle

The crowd immediately understood some of the meaning of this *miracle. Many years before, God had provided bread for the Jews. This was when they were with Moses. Moses led them through the desert. Moses also had said that another *prophet like him would come. Now Jesus was here. He was a great teacher, like Moses. Like Moses, he did *miracles, and had provided bread by *miracle. Surely Jesus was the *prophet whom Moses spoke about! But the crowd thought that this *prophet would be a king. He would fight for them and defeat their enemies. He would send their enemies away and establish the Jews' *kingdom again.

The people wanted to make Jesus king

Jesus had to be very careful at this time. He was in danger. The crowd might take him by force and make him king. Also, if he went back across the lake to Galilee, there could be the same trouble.

So Jesus sent the *disciples away in the boat. He himself went up a mountain to pray.

God's plan for Jesus

Jesus could have agreed to be king. That would mean that he would provide for people. He would give them food and keep them safe. But that was not God's plan. That was not why Jesus came to the world. He came to give people much more than this. People needed God to forgive them and to give them a peaceful life. They needed to know that God would give them eternal life. [Eternal life is the life that God gives to believers now. Eternal life will continue in heaven.] Only this would really satisfy people. This is why Jesus came.

We learn here how much Jesus loved people. He wanted them to trust him. He wanted them to be part of the *kingdom of God. He showed his care when he provided for them. He showed his great power by his *miracles. Jesus had great power, but he was also very gentle.


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