By Luke Johnson | October 26, 2014
Read John 6:1-15
Does anything pop out to you or surprise you in this story?
What are some of the problems in the story?
- The crowd has been in the wilderness all day and is hungry.
- Jesus asks Philip to figure out how to feed everyone -- and it’ll cost more than half a year’s salary!
- Andrew finds some food, but it’s not nearly enough to feed everyone. (v. 9)
How does Jesus react when they find only 5 pieces of bread and 2 fish?
What does he do next?
Food in the Wilderness
Where else in the Bible have people been fed in some miraculous way?
(E.g., manna in the desert, Exod 16; Elisha’s food miracles in 2 Kings 4)
Does this scene remind you of the Last Supper in any way?
Christian life is shaped by the Eucharist: Take -- Break -- Give Thanks -- Share
We take (receive) what God gives to us.
We break off a piece for ourselves.
We thank God for it.
And we share it with others.
How many of these 4 things does Jesus do in verse 11?
(It seems like Jesus might be doing something “eucharisty”.)
The Number 12
How many baskets of bread were left over?
(And how many disciples helped to deliver it?)
Why do you think John would bother to tell us that there were 12 baskets of bread left over?
What’s so special about “12” here?
The 12 disciples distributed all the bread and fish to the crowd. In the New Testament, the Twelve Disciples sometimes symbolize the Church. The disciples follow Jesus just as the Church follows Jesus. Jesus called the 12 disciples to come after him, just as he calls us to come after him. “12” in the Bible often means “the whole body of people”.
If the disciples are acting like the Church acts, why do you think it might be important that the disciples give the bread and fish to the crowd? (How are the disciples acting like the Church by sharing food from Jesus?)
Keep thinking about this story as you read the next passage:
Read John 6:35-40, 48-51
What does Jesus declare about himself here?
Why is Jesus’ “bread” better than other kinds of bread?
God the Father sent Jesus to earth for a particular reason. How does Jesus explain the Father’s will? (verse 40)
Think back to the feeding of the 5,000: What do you think Jesus was trying to communicate to the people by feeding them out in the wilderness?
(E.g., Jesus is greater than Moses; Jesus acts with God’s power; true life comes from Jesus)
The Boy Who Gived
Did you notice the boy in the first part of the story? What was his role?
Philip said to feed the crowd they’d need more than half a year’s salary.
What do you think the boy’s lunch was worth? (5 small loaves and 2 fish)
Do you think he could’ve imagined that over 5000 people would share his lunch?
The boy didn’t need to be an impressive person. We don’t even know his name. He was just a boy with a bag of food. Imagine Jesus’ invitation to the boy: “Join me in my mission in the world. All you have to do is hand me your bag of food. Watch what we can do together.”
Have you ever experienced something normal turning into something really not normal?
Think about yourself and your daily routine for a moment. How do you think Jesus could use your regular-run-of-the-mill-everyday-life to draw other people to himself?