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Jesus Feeds Five Thousand: A Reflection

Ruby is a freelance writer from the Philippines. Besides writing, she enjoys studying the Scripture and leads a Bible study group.

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The Bible Story as Gospel Writer Apostle John Records It

As I studied this story, my attention is drawn with a plethora of insights worth keeping. We can find this interesting miracle recorded in the book of John 6:1-15 (KJV). The narrative reads,

"6 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. 2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. 3 And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. 4 And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. 5 When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? 6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him, 9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? 10 And Jesus said, Make the men 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 to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. 12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. 15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone."

The Crowd, the Amazed Follower

We can observe in this story that the crowd followed Jesus wherever He went. The crowd kept following Jesus because they have seen the miracles that Jesus performed. The crowed followed Jesus because He healed the sick and they saw it happening before their very eyes.

I wonder if this could be our reason for following Jesus today. What if He doesn't perform any miracles in our lives? What if He does not heal your disease when you pray to Him when you'e sick? Could this be the reason why many Christians today are lost? Friends, let's reflect on this fact. Have you ever asked yourself why are you following Jesus?

Philip, the Doubting Follower

"When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?"(v.5)

"Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little."(v.7)

Philip, one of the chosen 12 Disciples of Jesus has been with Him for a while. He has been following and serving Jesus His Lord each day. He has already seen previous miracles prior to this one. Yet, in this narrative we find Philip in a moment of distrust on His Lord. His mind became cramped with disbelief. Philip forgot that Jesus his Master could make impossible things possible regardless of what the situation might be. But though he has been following Jesus, yet we find him lost. I wonder if this could be the case of any good Christian, following Jesus today?

Andrew, the Introducing Follower

Andrew just did one thing in this event. That act that he did appeared very simple and insignificant to many.

  • He spoke up only a few words.
  • He introduced the little lad who brought his food stuff for himself.

Yes, what Andrew did seemed insignificant to the eyes of the people or crowd. But if you look at it, what Andrew had done actually made the difference. Because of his simple and insignificant action, an amazing thing happened. A large crowd partook of God's blessing, all because Andrew allowed himself to be used by simply introducing the lad Jesus. When was the last time you've introduced someone to Jesus, my friend?

The Little Lad, the Anonymous Follower

Verse 9 of the account Andrew states, "There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?" Thus, the verse implies that:

  • The little lad never uttered a word.
  • The little lad never refused to give his own provision.
  • The little lad just gave what he had without any complaint.
  • The little lad simply obeyed what was asked of him.

The boy never had a name. He never bothered to say anything about himself. He remained quiet throughout the narrative. He stayed in the background of the story even after everyone ate from the provision he brought. Yet, his unwritten action and silent contribution, did wonder that fed the five thousand hungry mob. What an anonymous follower.

This is something we need to learn from the lad. Though he never spoke, but the message is clear. You don't need to be somebody in order to accomplish something great. You can remain unknown to many doing great things for God known only to Him. What a lesson!

Jesus, the Best Model for Followers

  • Jesus organizes His work. He instructed His disciples to tell the crowd to sit down before eating. (v.10)
  • Jesus recognizes God the Father as the Source of food. He took the loaves and gave thanks to God.(v.11)
  • Jesus works hard for others. He distributed the bread and fish to the five thousand people.(v.11)
  • Jesus teaches Christians to practice frugality. When everyone has eaten, Jesus told His disciples to gather the leftovers and not waste anything.(v. 12)
  • Jesus shuns popularity. When He noticed the crowd wanted Him to be King. He dashed off away from the crowd all by himself to the hills.(v.15)

In Summary

This beautiful narrative teaches us the different types of Jesus' followers today. Like the crowd, a lot of Christians follow Jesus, only because they believe that Jesus could perform miracles. The problem with this notion is that, Jesus does not always perform miracles as people expect it. God has his own timing when to do it. Other Christians are like Philip. Although they have been following Jesus for a long time, yet they follow Him doubting. A few Christians are like Andrew. They don't really say much. They only have few words said in public. Yet, the do this one thing--they introduce someone to Jesus. Some Christians are like the Little Lad, though they remain anonymous and in the background, yet they are doing great things for the Master.

Yes, many Christians claim Jesus as their Savior. Yet, at the same time they follow Jesus their Lord for the wrong reason. If this is happens to be you, don't feel bad. Let me introduce you to Jesus. He and He alone is the Best and Perfect Example for every Christian to follow. Let's follow Him today my friend.

© 2022 Ruby Campos

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