The Feeding of the Five Thousand

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Just prior to this time, Jesus had a great crowd around Him and a woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years touched Him (Lk. 8:43-44). She knew that He had healed others and she wanted Him to heal her. Jesus knew that somebody with faith had touched Him and had been healed by His power (Lk. 8:45-48). This passage can be divided into three parts:

  1. The account of their sending (vv. 1-5).
  2. The work they did (vv. 6-9).
  3. Their return and report (vv. 10-17).
John began his ministry with,"Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Now He sends His disciples to preach “the kingdom of God” (v. 2). As they go we are not given much details but we are told one result of their going. That is that Herod the tetrarch heard what was happening and wanted to see the Lord (v. 9). When they returned they reported to Jesus. He knew they were tired so He took them to a desert place for some R and R. However, when they reached the desert place there was a multitude already there. Instead of trying to find another place to escape, Jesus welcomed them and spoke to them (vv. 11-17). It is here that we learn about the feeding of the five-thousand.


He took what they had and fed the crowd. From this I learn that I can not feed a crowd with what I have. What I need to do is give it to Christ and He will multiply my efforts to feed them.

Luke 9:1-17 (English Standard Version)

And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, "Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them." And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen. Herod said, "John I beheaded, but who is this about whom I hear such things?" And he sought to see him. On their return the apostles told him all that they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida. When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing. Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, "Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place." But he said to them, "You give them something to eat." They said, "We have no more than five loaves and two fish--unless we are to go and buy food for all these people." For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, "Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each." And they did so, and had them all sit down. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.

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