Feeding the 5000 – Why?

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

We have come to the end of this series on feeding the 5000, but I want us to consider one last thought—why does Jesus do this particular miracle?

Of course, after a day of healing and teaching, it creates quite a spectacular ending. In fact, so spectacular that Jesus has to do some crowd control.

When the people saw him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!” When Jesus saw that they were ready to force him to be their king, he slipped away into the hills by himself. John 6:14-15

He had come to save them, but not as a king with an army to take on the Roman empire. No, he wants to save them spiritually, not politically.

Can it be that this great sign with the feeding is as much, if not more, for the twelve disciples?

Remember that they had just come from an experience of going out two by two to the villages bearing the name of Jesus, sharing what they had been taught so far. They had retreated to the sea in a boat with Jesus, only to be met with a growing crowd when they landed back on shore. They must learn endurance and continuous ministry.

Toward the end of the busy day, the disciples suggest that the people need to leave to find food. First lesson—think outside the box.

Jesus said, “You feed them.” Mark 6:37

Jesus prompts them to check things out, but they are still “in the box.”

Andrew spoke up, “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd? John 6:8

Jesus teaches them how to deal with a big crowd. Prepare! Organize! 

“Tell them to sit down in groups of about fifty each.” Luke 9:14b

They become close eye witnesses of the miracle when Jesus multiplies the bread. They participate in the disbursement of the food and come back for more and more. How delightful!

Then to top things off, they realize their cups, er, their baskets overfloweth. They collect exactly twelve baskets of leftovers. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that there are twelve—one for each disciple.

They have been immersed from beginning to end in this spectacular sign. However, Jesus doesn’t want them to get caught up in the “king-making” crowd.

Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and head across the lake to Bethsaida, while he sent the people home. John 6:45

After Jesus goes off by himself for a time of prayer, the disciples will get another big dose of who their master is when He walks on water!

How attentive are you to what the master is doing in your life? Is He telling you to think outside the box? Does He want you to check something out? Prepare? Organize? Disperse something? Gather the overflow of His miraculous work in your life? Is He grooming you for greater things? Deeper things? I hope so.

~ Joyce ~