The Feast beside the sea and what followed it
Feeding the Five Thousand
Matthew xiv: 13 to
Mark vi: 30 to 56;
Luke ix: 10 to 17;
John vi: 1
twelve disciples came back to Jesus, after preaching
in his name among the villages of Galilee, they told
him of all that they had done, and of what they had
said to the people. The multitudes seeking after
Jesus were now greater than ever before, for it was
again near the time of the Passover, and very many
on their way to Jerusalem turned aside to see and to
hear the great Teacher. So many people were coming
and going that they could scarcely find time even to
eat. Jesus said to the twelve:
"Come with me apart into a quiet place, away from
the crowds, and let us rest for a time."
They went into the boat and rowed across the lake to
an open place, where no one lived, not far from the
city of Bethsaida. But they could not be alone, for
the people saw them going, and watched them from the
shore, and went on foot around the northern end of
the lake, and found them. When Jesus saw how eager
the crowds were to hear him, he took pity on them
and taught them, and healed such among them as were
As it began to grow toward evening, the disciples
said to Jesus, "This is a lonely place, and there is
nothing here for such a crowd of people to eat. Send
them away before it is too late, and tell them to go
to the towns and get food."
But Jesus said to them, "They need not go away. You
can give them food to eat."
They said to him, "Shall we go into the town and buy
two hundred shillings' worth of bread, so that each
one of them may have a little?"
Jesus turned to Philip, one of his disciples, and
said to him, "Philip, where shall we find bread,
that all these may eat?"
Jesus said this to try Philip's faith, for he
himself knew what he would do. Philip looked at the
great crowd, full five thousand men, besides women
and children, and he said, "Two hundred shillings'
worth of bread would not be enough to give to every
one even a little piece."
Just then another of the disciples, Andrew, the
brother of Peter, said to Jesus, "There is a boy
here who has five loaves of barley bread and two
little fishes; but what use would they be among so
Jesus said to the disciples, "Go out among the
people, and divide them into companies of fifty and
a hundred, and tell them to sit down in order."
So the people all sat down; and upon the green
grass, arranged in rows and squares in their
garments of different colors, they looked like beds
Then Jesus took into his hands the five loaves and
the two fishes which the boy had brought. He looked
up to heaven, and blessed the food; and broke the
loaves and the dried fishes, and gave the pieces to
the disciples. They went among the companies of
people, and gave to everyone bread and fish, as much
as each needed. So they all ate, and had enough.
Then Jesus said, "Gather up the pieces of food that
are left, so that nothing may be lost."
Each of the disciples carried a basket among the
people, and when they came to Jesus all the twelve
baskets were filled with pieces that were left over
of the five loaves and the two fishes.
When the people saw that here was one who could give
them food, they were ready at once to make Jesus
their king, and to break away from the rule of the
Romans. Jesus was a King, but he would not be such a
king as they wished. His kingdom was to be in the
hearts of men who loved him, not a kingdom set up by
the swords of soldiers. He found that his disciples
were ready to help the people to make him a king,
even against his own will.
So Jesus first compelled his disciples to go on
board the boat, though they were not willing to do
so, and to row across the lake to Capernaum. Then he
sent away the great crowd of people who were still
eager that he should be their king. And when all had
 gone away, and he was left alone, he went up
into the mountain to pray. While he was praying in
the night a great storm arose upon the lake, and
from the mountain Jesus could see his disciples
working hard with their oars against the waves,
although they could not see him. A little after
midnight, when the storm was the highest, Jesus went
to his disciples, walking upon the water, just as
though the sea was dry land. The men in the boat saw
a strange figure coming near them upon the sea, and
cried out with fear, for they thought that it must
be a spirit. But Jesus called out to them, "Be of
good cheer; it is I; be not afraid!" And then they
knew that it was their Lord.
Peter spoke to Jesus, and said, "Lord, if it be
thou, let me come to thee, walking upon the water."
And Jesus said to Peter, "Come."
Then Simon Peter leaped overboard from the ship, and
he, too, walked on the water to go to Jesus. But
when he saw how great was the storm on the sea, he
began to be afraid, and forgetting to trust in the
word of Jesus, he began to sink. He cried out,
"Lord, save me!"
And Jesus reached out his hand, and caught hold of
him, and lifted him up, saying, "O man of little
faith, why did you doubt my word?"
When Jesus came on board the boat with Peter, at
once the wind ceased and the sea was calm. The
disciples wondered greatly as they saw the power of
Jesus. They fell down before him, and said, "In
truth thou art the Son of God!" When they came to
the shore, and the daylight arose, they saw that
they were at the land of Gennesaret, a plain a
little to the south of Capernaum. They went ashore;
and as soon as the people saw Jesus, and knew who he
was, they brought their sick to him, and begged that
they might only touch the border of his garment; and
as many as touched him were made well.
 Soon after this Jesus came again to Capernaum,
and went into the synagogue, which was full of
people, some of whom had eaten of the five loaves a
few days before. These people wished Jesus to feed
them in the same way again, but Jesus said to them,
"Seek not for food that passes away, but for the
food that gives everlasting life, such as the Son of
man can give you."
They said to him, "What sign can you show that God
has sent you? Moses gave our fathers bread from
heaven, the manna in the desert. What can you do?"
You have read of the manna which fed the Israelites
in the wilderness in Story 24. Then Jesus said to
them, "It was not Moses, but God, who gave your
fathers bread; and God gives you now the true bread
from heaven, in his Son who came down from heaven,
to give life to the world."
As soon as the people found that Jesus would not
work wonders to please them, they turned away from
him and left him, although only a few days before
they would have made him a king. When Jesus saw that
the great crowds of people were with him no longer,
Jesus said to his twelve disciples, "Will you also
go away and leave me?"
Then Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom else
can we go? for thou only hast the words that will
give us everlasting life."
Feeding the Five Thousand