Five Loaves Two Fishes

Right away Jesus has to deal with a new problem. The crowd that has been following Jesus is now hungry and tired. Jesus questions Philip by asking him where they can get food to feed this crowd. This question is posed to Philip to find out how he will respond to the multitude’s need. Another reason why Jesus asked Philip was that he was from Bethsaida. He would know where there was a local place to purchase food. It was not as though Jesus had no solution to the problem. He knew what He was going to do. Philip answers Jesus by saying that they do not have enough money to feed this crowd of people. Two hundred pennyworth of bread was all they had. A pennyworth or denarius equaled one day’s wage. The number 200 is associated with “insufficiency” in the Bible. Philip was insufficient in faith. He saw a hopeless situation. He felt as though nothing could be done to meet the needs of the crowd.


Joshua 7:21

Insufficiency of money

2 Samuel 14:26, 18:9

Insufficiency of beauty

Judges 17:4; 18

Insufficiency of mere religion

Ezra 2:6

Insufficiency of external things in worship of God


I am reminded of a time when we had a dinner for some guest churches. We had fixed a certain amount of food. When the churches showed up, we did not know how we would feed such a large crowd. We made the plates, and God multiplied the food. We had food left over when we were done. We thanked and praised God for the multiplication. I believe this is what Jesus did on this day.

Note the following verses from Mark:

Mark 6:35-36 (NKJV)
(35) When the day was now far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, “This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late. (36) Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat.”

If Jesus had sent the multitude away, they may have never made it back to their villages. As always, Jesus has a plan.

Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, tells Jesus that there is a boy with five barley loaves and two fishes. John 6:9. This was probably the boy’s lunch his mother had made for him. He says this is not enough to feed such a large crowd. Jesus responds by saying have them sit the multitude down. The area where they were was very grassy. Verse 10 tells us that there were about five thousand people. This number does not include the women and children. Jesus blesses the loaves and fishes. This food is distributed by the disciples, and it is multiplied to feed everybody.

When everybody was full, Jesus told His disciples to gather up the fragments. When the disciples did this, they had twelve baskets full of fragments! This caused the disciples to admit that Jesus was the prophet, which should come.



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