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RE:QUEST

A space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith

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Miracles: the feeding of the 5,000

How did Jesus treat people who were hungry?

 

Miracles are often seen as signs by the Gospel writers to explain what sort of God Christians believe in and how Jesus - by performing miracles - shows that.

In the versions told by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, there is a story about the large crowd who had gathered to hear Jesus' teaching, becoming hungry. They have walked all day, following and listening to Jesus. The disciples get concerned about how this group can be fed and point out to Jesus that it would cost much more money than any of them has to feed them all. Jesus remains calm about this problem.

A boy steps forward and brings five fish and two bread rolls. Perhaps the disciples wanted to laugh - such a small gift was not going to help them solve the problem! But Jesus prays and the crowd are fed.

Over twelve baskets of leftovers are collected. About 5000 men are involved. The miracle shows Christians the importance of looking to God for the support we need in difficult times. He knows what we need and is willing and able to help. Many Christians believe that sometimes God meets these with a direct miracle. But Christians also see this as a way to help them think about how they should live and give.

The little boy didn’t have much but gave what he had, and Jesus did amazing things with it. For Christians, it’s a lesson that teaches them they should let God use them to help others with what they have, even if it doesn't look like a lot.

 

The miracle only counts the number of men, which suggests that there were more there because women and children were not usually counted! Christians often read or refer to this story when they celebrate communion. In this story, Jesus takes the bread, breaks it, and gives it to the crowd. They are made happy and whole again. It is a sign of what Jesus will do at the end of his life, when his body will be broken and given for the good of humankind. You can read the story in the Bible: John 6: 1-15 Some questions for reflection:
  1. What are the basic needs that a person has?
  2. What can we do to help meet these needs?
  3. What do you think Christians can learn from this miracle about how they should live?