Thursday, April 27, 2017

New Eyes on a Familiar Story - Jesus Feeds 5,000

Late that afternoon or evening the disciples came to him and said “…Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy food and find lodging for themselves.”Turning to Philip, [Jesus] asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do.

Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!

But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary – you feed them.”

“With what?” they asked.

“How much bread do you have?” Jesus asked. “Go and find out.”

Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?

“Bring them here,” [Jesus] said. “Tell [the people] to sit down on the green, grassy slope in groups of about fifty each.” So they sat down in groups of fifty or a hundred.

Then Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven and gave thanks to God. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share. (The men alone, not including the women and children, numbered 5,000.)

And they all ate as much as they wanted. After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.” So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves.

When the people saw him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!” When Jesus saw that they were ready to force him to be their king, he slipped away into the hills by himself.
A Mash-up of Matthew 14:15-21, Mark 6:35-44, Luke 9:12-17, John 6:5-15 (NLT)

Let’s notice the details in this familiar story.


This is one of only a few stories recorded in all four Gospels, indicating its importance. Each writer adds a few details that the others don’t, so I’ve mashed together all four accounts.

I believe nothing Jesus does is left to chance. He orchestrates every scene to reveal something about himself, ourselves, or Kingdom values and life. Every detail teaches.

So read the story with fresh eyes, noticing the order of events, descriptive words, Jesus’ instructions, the people involved and their actions. Ask questions of the text. What is the importance of each detail? Why does Jesus give an instruction? What do Jesus’ actions (and non-actions) reveal? What happens just before and after this story?

Please share your thoughts in the comments. We’ll continue in the next post.

Jesus orchestrates every scene to reveal something about himself, ourselves or the Kingdom. (tweet this)

#SeedsofScripture #Feeds5000 #miracle

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