After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased. 3 And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples. 4 Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. 5 Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" 6 But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. 7 Philip answered Him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little." 8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, 9 "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?" 10 Then Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost." 13 Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.
Questions to Consider:
Jesus, once again performs a miracle where He proves His mastery over creation. He turns five barley loaves and two small fish into a meal for five thousand men. Incredible!
By this point in time, on the basis of the miracles that Jesus was performing, He was being followed by a very large crowd of people. It is estimated that the city of Jerusalem had a population of around 40,000 people in the time of Christ, so a crowd of 5,000 would not go unnoticed. I am sure that to the religious leaders of the Jews they were indeed terrified by Jesus' popularity.
In this case, Jesus had crossed over the Sea of Galilee and was secluded on a mountain with His disciples; and still the crowd "found" Jesus. (Just the logistics of 5,000 men hiking around the Sea of Galilee would have been disruptive to normal life in the towns and villages along the coastline)
Jesus handed the question of how to feed the gathering throng to His disciples. He was testing their faith. This opens up another theological discussion: Does God test our faith? How does He go about testing our faith? Have you felt like your faith has been tested?
Philip pointed out that "they" did not have enough revenue to feed the crowd. Andrew found a lad with five barley loaves and two fish. Andrew exhibited faith by bringing this resource to Jesus, but exhibited doubt by pointing out that the resource was inadequate.
Without digging too deep into the well of symbolism, Jesus' first miracle was turning water into wine. (Symbol of the blood of Christ) In this miracle Jesus multiplies the bread. (Symbol of His broken body) Jesus continued to multiply the bread as the disciples distributed it among the crowd.
When everyone had been "filled," they gathered by the leftovers. Twelve baskets remained. Obviously the math does not work out: Five barley loaves feeds 5,000 men and twelve baskets of leftovers remain. Amazing!
Lead Teaching Elder: