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4. Jesus Feeds 5,000 People (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15)

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Main Point: All things are possible with God.

Key Verse:

All things are possible with God. - Mark 10:27b

Props: 5 loaves of bread (or rolls); 2 fish; 12 baskets (Optional: bread for each child; The Gospel of John DVD)


Say: The last time I took a trip, I took... (give list - you can make it outlandish if you want). When you go on a trip, what do you take? Listen for answers.

After Jesus called His disciples and they chose to follow Him, they traveled all over the area together. Jesus told His disciples not to take anything as they traveled! Why do you think that is? He wanted them to trust God to provide all of their needs.

The disciples saw Jesus heal people and heard His teachings. They heard Jesus proclaim that the kingdom of God had come. As proof that Jesus had authority to tell others about God and His kingdom, Jesus performed many miracles. He healed people of terrible diseases and injuries. He made blind people see and made crippled people walk.

After some time together, Jesus even sent the disciples out on their own to preach and heal in His name. As Jesus sent the men out, listen to what He said:

He told them, “Don’t take anything for the journey. Do not take a walking stick or a bag. Do not take any bread, money or extra clothes. - Luke 9:3

The Fish And The Bread

Say: Meanwhile, John the Baptist was still boldly telling people about God’s right way to live. Some people who were living in sin became very angry with John. King Herod was doing very bad things. He didn’t like hearing John say that his behavior was wrong (Matthew 14:3-4). King Herod ordered that John be killed (Mark 6:14-29). This was awful! This made Jesus and His disciples very sad. Jesus took His disciples by boat to a quiet place so that they could rest and have something to eat

Crowds of people followed Jesus wherever He went. When people heard that Jesus and the disciples had gone off to be on their own, they wanted to go there, too. So they came running from all the towns in the area and got there before Jesus and His friends. They wanted to hear Jesus teach, and they wanted to see more miracles, more signs, and more wonders.

Jesus could have refused to teach the crowd. After all, He and disciples had sailed on the boat to get away from people for a while and rest. But look again at Mark 6:34 says, “When Jesus came ashore, He saw a large crowd. He felt deep concern for them. They were like sheep without a shepherd. So He began teaching them many things.”

Jesus loved each and every person in that crowd. And He knew that there was so much they still didn’t understand about the kingdom of God. So even though He needed rest, He put the needs of the crowd before His own, and He taught them. The Bible says the people in the crowd were like sheep without a shepherd, which means they were lost and confused about life. By teaching them, Jesus was a kind and loving Shepherd who took care of them.

Application: The Bible calls Jesus the Good Shepherd. He said, “I know My sheep, and My sheep know Me. They know Me just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father. And I give My life for the sheep.” (John 10:14-15)

Isn’t it wonderful to know that Jesus loves us like that? Isn’t it amazing that He loved us enough to die for our sins? If we are ever lost and confused—like the crowd was that day—our Good Shepherd will gently lead us where we need to go and teach us what we need to know.

Say: By that time it was late in the day. Jesus looked over the large crowd and asked Philip, “Where can we buy bread for these people to eat?” (John 6:5). Since Philip was from this area, this question could have been a simple question of where the shops were located (John 1:44). But Jesus really asked Philip this question to test him. All throughout the Bible, we see that God asks questions to test men (Genesis 3:9, 4:9, Job 38). Jesus asked Philip “where” and Philip can think only in terms of “how.” This is a very difficult test because Jesus refers to “buying” bread. A correct answer might have been something like, “Lord, You know.” Philip could also have remembered another miracle that Jesus had done when He turned water into wine. He could have said, “Lord, You are able to provide.” But Philip did not focus on Jesus’ ability. Philip said, “Eight months’ pay would not buy enough bread for each one to have one bite!” (John 6:7)

As it was getting dark outside, some of the disciples asked Jesus to send everyone away so the people could go to the villages to buy something to eat. But Jesus said they did not need to go away. Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.” (Matthew 14:15-16).

Jesus was showing Philip and the other disciples that there was no way they could solve the problem on their own. There was no store close enough to buy this much food. And even if there was, it would have taken way more money than the disciples had! Jesus wanted the disciples to trust Him - to know that He alone was able to meet their need.

Application: God wants you to trust that He will take care of you! God may allow a situation in your life that you cannot solve. This is the perfect opportunity to rely on Him. (Teacher, feel free to insert a personal story of when God allowed this kind of situation in your life.) Trust that the Lord is able and willing to meet all of your needs.

Say: At this point, another disciple, Andrew, spoke up and said, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish.”

Ask: What do they have? Just a little boy’s lunch

Say: Children were not seen as very important in that culture. They weren’t even counted with the 5,000. God was going to use someone that everyone else overlooked to perform a miracle. God uses all kinds of people in His work. He often uses those who are weakest or least important in the eyes of other people.

Ask: Do you LIKE to share your food? How about when you’re really hungry?

Say: This young boy was willing to give what little he had to Jesus. Jesus told the disciples to bring the 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish to Him. Jesus then told the disciples to have the people sit down. Jesus gave thanks for the food.

Application: We should always thank God for our food. Food is a gift from God.Teaching Idea for Younger Children:

Say: What happened next was an amazing miracle. Jesus broke the bread. (Hold up your bread and tear it.) He gave it to His disciples to give it to the all the people. Can you imagine trying to feed that many people? The disciples probably thought, “My basket will run out really quickly with all these hungry people to feed.” But amazingly, they never ran out! The disciples went back to Jesus time and time again to get fish and bread to feed the huge crowd. Ask: At what point do you think the disciples realized that Jesus was performing a miracle? God is so generous! He is never stingy with His gifts. The Bible says:

And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. - 2 Corinthians 9:8 NLT

Say: Everyone received as much food as they wanted, they all had pleanty to eat, and twelve baskets full of food were left over (John 6:11-13). Jesus told His disciples to gather what was left. Isn’t it amazing that after everyone ate until they were full, there were 12 baskets full of food left over? Jesus told the disciples not to let anything be wasted.

Say: Each of the 12 disciples, who must have agonized over the shortage of food and the size of the crowd they were commanded to feed, walked away with a basket full of extra food. They came to this place sad and hungry – ready to be away from the people. But God had a different plan. He came to fill their emptiness with Himself! God supplies all our needs and more.

Application: Nothing is too small for God to use it - even a little boy’s lunch. The disciples could not see how the child’s lunch could be of help, but showing Himself strong through our weakness is characteristic of the way God provides (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).


Key Verse: All things are possible with God. - Mark 10:27b

Main Point: All things are possible with God. PPT Verse

Teaching Ideas for Younger Children: Teach this song and motions to the tune of “Happy Birthday”:

One boy had two fish (hold up 2 fingers)
And five loaves of bread (hold up 5 fingers)
He shared them with Jesus (hold hand out; palms up)
Lots of people were fed (wiggle fingers to show lots of people)

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Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society / Used by permission of IBS-STL. All rights reserved worldwide.

Special thanks to John R. Cross, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, GoodSeed International.

Related Topics: Children, Children's Curriculum, Miracles

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