Jesus Feeds the 5,000

John 6:1-21

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Festival was near.

5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. 

Jesus Walks on the Water

16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. 18 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough.19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” 21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

John 6 is the longest chapter in the New Testament. It provides a rich redemptive-historical perspective on Moses and the central saving act of God in Israel’s history—the exodus. John wants us to see Jesus as the greater Moses and the gospel as the greatest exodus of all. Just as Moses led the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt into the Land of Promise, so Jesus came to lead the pan-national family of God on the ultimate exodus—a journey out of sin and death into the quintessential Promised Land—the new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21:1–5).

Just as the first exodus involved a crisis at sea and the need for supernatural deliverance (Ex. 13:17–14:29), so Jesus responded to his fear-filled disciples, walking to them on the Sea of Galilee, securing their safe delivery to the other side.

The timing of the feeding of the 5,000 is not coincidental. It occurred just before Passover—the meal that inaugurated Israel’s journey through the wilderness. Indeed, Jesus didn’t come merely to provide elements for the Passover meal but to be the Passover meal himself. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). On him we feed and are nourished.

*These devos are taken from Crossway's, ESV Gospel Transformation Bible.