A Bible Study of Jesus’ miraculous feeding of 5,000 people from the book of Mark Chapter 6.
Mark 6:30 And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. 31And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. 32 And they departed into a desert place by ship privately. 33 And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him. 34 And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.
At the time that Jesus was about to perform this great miracle, He had just reconvened with His disciples. A few weeks earlier, He had supernaturally empowered them to perform miracles in His name and sent them out on their own to preach the Gospel to various towns and cities. They were casting out demons, healing the sick and teaching people that God’s Word and power were real, winning them over to believe in Jesus as the true Messiah. Now the disciples had returned and Jesus wanted them to have a quiet retreat. But a large crowd of onlookers who knew who these men were and the miracles they were performing, started to follow them in hopes of hearing the words of Jesus whose fame was spreading all over the Middle East. And we see several principles from this short passage:
Jesus wanted His Disciples to rest — The text tells us that these men were working so hard preaching the message of repentance and eternal life in Jesus Christ that they did not have time to rest or even eat. For the Christian today who is working for God, remember this important lesson. The Lord wants our commitment and dedication, but there is no sin in taking time to rest and relax.
Jesus always has compassion on the lost — Even though it was supposed to be a little vacation time for Jesus and His disciples, when Jesus saw the thousands of people who desired to be around them, He had “compassion toward them.” Jesus loves all people and feels for those who do not have Him in their lives. 2 Peter 3:9 reads: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” God does not want anyone to go to Hell. His actual desire is that all people would come to Him with a repentant heart – feeling bad for sins they committed, seeking forgiveness and wanting to change and follow Him. And Jesus, God in the flesh, saw this in the people who were pressed to spend time with Him. Like lost sheep, we all at one time are lost in our sin and need “the Good Shepherd” Jesus who will lead us to eternal life. When a person decides to seek The Lord, they will never be refused. And God in response will actually move toward that person. As it says in the book of James: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you..”
Mark 6:35 And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: 36 Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat. 37 [Jesus] answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? 38 He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes.
Do Not Limit God by Your Personal Doubts of Feelings — The faith of the Disciples was being tested by Jesus at this moment. There were literally thousands of people following them and they had only five loaves of bread and two fish to feed everyone. The math was clearly not adding up here. It was a situation that seemed impossible and the disciples did not see any solution to the dilemma, even though they were sitting next to the Creator of the Universe! This is an important moment for all people. Do you let what seems impossible about Jesus keep you from believing? Does it seem impossible that Jesus could change your life and bring in joy that you never felt before? Does it seem impossible that you could ever be forgiven for the sins and misdeeds you have committed? Does it seem impossible that a damaged relationship with someone can be repaired? That is when it is time to have faith. When you have reached your limit of what you can do in a situation, that is the ideal time to put your trust and faith in The Lord to take over and provide the solution.
Mark 6:39 And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. 40 And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. 41 And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. 42 And they did all eat, and were filled. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. 44 And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.
God Works Miracles — “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26). Jesus is the Son of God and is equal with The Father. His power is miraculous. When you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, He can see fit to do the impossible in your life. One thing He will definitely do is provide forgiveness of sins and eternal life to all who believe that He sacrificed His life on the cross so that all people who believe in Him can be forgiven.
Jesus Will Provide All Our Needs — The making of bread was a great miracle, but it’s Jesus who said “man cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God.” The hungry crowd of five thousand first came to hear Jesus’ teachings and then were fed. And so should it be with us. Seek to learn who Jesus is and what He wants from us (which can be discovered by reading the Bible). Honor Him as the Savior and then ask for your Earthly needs. And by studying the Word, you will learn that He is going to provide all that we need once we believe in Him anyways.
Do Not Waste Leftovers — There were twelve baskets of food left after the five thousand people had eaten. Certainly enough leftovers to feed more people in the coming days. And with those leftover was a chance to share the story of the miracle that produced that food. When you have had God work in your life or if you have become a born again Christian, do not keep the miracle to yourself. Share your experience, tell people about what Jesus has done for you and help feed the lost sheep of this world. This is what Jesus calls us to do. After the Apostle Peter denied Jesus 3 times during the crucifixion, Jesus, now resurrected and seeing Peter for the first time asked the Disciple if he loved Him. When Peter exclaimed boldly that he loved Jesus, the Son of God replied: “Feed my sheep.” If you love Jesus, let others know, so they can love Him as well.
In impossible situations, trust in God. He will provide all you need and even more.