John 6:1-15 Easy-to-Read Version
Jesus Feeds More Than 5000
Later, Jesus went across Lake Galilee, also known as Lake Tiberias. A great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he did in healing the sick. Jesus went up on the side of the hill and sat there with his followers. It was almost the time for the Jewish Passover festival.
Jesus looked up and saw a crowd of people coming toward him. He said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough bread for all these people to eat?” He asked Philip this question to test him. Jesus already knew what he planned to do.
Philip answered, “We would all have to work a month to buy enough bread for each person here to have only a little piece!”
Another follower there was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. Andrew said, “Here is a boy with five loaves of barley bread and two little fish. But that is not enough for so many people.”
Jesus said, “Tell everyone to sit down.” This was a place with a lot of grass, and about 5000 men sat down there. Jesus took the loaves of bread and gave thanks for them. Then he gave them to the people who were waiting to eat. He did the same with the fish. He gave them as much as they wanted.
They all had plenty to eat. When they finished, Jesus said to his followers, “Gather the pieces of fish and bread that were not eaten. Don’t waste anything.” So they gathered up the pieces that were left. The people had started eating with only five loaves of barley bread. But the followers filled twelve large baskets with the pieces of food that were left.
The people saw this miraculous sign that Jesus did and said, “He must be the Prophet who is coming into the world.”
Jesus knew that the people planned to come get him and make him their king. So he left and went into the hills alone.
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John 6:25-34 Easy-to-Read Version
Jesus, the Bread of Life
The people found Jesus on the other side of the lake. They asked him, “Teacher, when did you come here?”
He answered, “Why are you looking for me? Is it because you saw miraculous signs? The truth is, you are looking for me because you ate the bread and were satisfied. But earthly food spoils and ruins. So don’t work to get that kind of food. But work to get the food that stays good and gives you eternal life. The Son of Man will give you that food. He is the only one qualified by God the Father to give it to you.”
The people asked Jesus, “What does God want us to do?”
Jesus answered, “The work God wants you to do is this: to believe in the one he sent.”
So the people asked, “What miraculous sign will you do for us? If we can see you do a miracle, then we will believe you. What will you do? Our ancestors were given manna to eat in the desert. As the Scriptures say, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
Jesus said, “I can assure you that Moses was not the one who gave your people bread from heaven. But my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. God’s bread is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
The people said, “Sir, from now on give us bread like that.”
John was an eye-witness to the miracles, the ministry, the life of Jesus. He offers a perspective not only of one who was there, but one who outlived all the other disciples. John had the advantage of seeing what was, what happened next, and what was to happen in the future when he received the vision which became the book of Revelation.
One significance of the two miraculous feedings was the location; a Jewish area near Bethsaida was where the five thousand were fed; a Gentile area near Gergesa was where the four thousand were fed. The provision of bread and fish for the Jews and the Gentiles reflects their equality in the eyes of the Lord.
Numbers are not happenstance in either story. Five loaves fed five thousand; there were five books of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible which are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Twelve baskets of left-overs were collected by the twelve disciples; nothing was to be lost. Could it be the twelve disciples were charged with the care and conversion of left-over souls?
In the feeding of the four thousand, seven loaves of bread and seven baskets of left-overs were collected. The number seven is a symbol of completeness, as in Gentiles as well as Jews are invited together into the kingdom of God … completeness in the invitation to all people.
All of this happened prior to the upcoming Passover. The feeding of the thousands is a precursor to the feeding of all believers; the bread symbolic of Jesus’ body, and the wine symbolic of Jesus’ blood, broken and spilled at the Crucifixion.
John 6:48-51 The Message
“I’m telling you the most solemn and sober truth now: Whoever believes in me has real life, eternal life. I am the Bread of Life. Your ancestors ate the manna bread in the desert and died. But now here is Bread that truly comes down out of heaven. Anyone eating this Bread will not die, ever. I am the Bread—living Bread!—who came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this Bread will live—and forever! The Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is myself, this flesh-and-blood self.”
Dear Lord, I remember this story of the loaves and the fishes from my earliest years in Sunday School. It was an amazing story to me, even as a child I was in awe that so many people could be fed from, “five loaves of barley bread and two little fish.” So much from so little.
In a small way it reminds me of another childhood memory from Sunday School. Each Sunday we took up collection in a basket. I don’t know that I knew where that money went or what it was for, or if I even knew what the word collection meant. What I do remember, is my Daddy putting a dime into my little white glove. My contribution was to keep the dime safe and secure in my glove, until time to carefully take out the dime and put it into the collection basket as it was passed around. The dime came from my Daddy, but he provided it so that I could learn an important lesson; even a little given, when others are also giving a little, adds up. So much from so little.
Another lesson he taught me, the importance of thankfully giving back to God some of what we have.
Thank You, Dear Lord, for my Earthly Daddy. He taught me so much in small seemingly insignificant ways, which resulted in enormous life lessons. Thank you, Daddy. I know you are in heaven, hopefully smiling down at me. Amen