John 6:1-13 “Strengthening the Disciples Faith”


            1.  What was the verdict at the trial of Jesus?  The Jews let Him go for lack of evidence.  They most likely feared the multitude.  Jesus had done a notable miracle and the people would have been outraged if these men had tried to put Jesus to death.  It reminds me of the story of Jonathan when he ate the honey not knowing that his father had commanded that no one eat until the battle was over.  When Saul tried to have Jonathan killed the people rebelled because Jonathan had been so heroic that day.

            2.  What events took place between Jesus’ trial in Jerusalem and the crossing of the sea of Galilee?  There were several notable events that had occurred between the end of chapter five and the beginning of chapter six. Remember that John did not record everything Jesus did.  (John 20:30)  And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

(John 21:25)  And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

                        a)  Jesus sent out the twelve disciples in groups of two to preach to the people of Israel.  They returned excited that even the demons were subject unto them. 

                        b) John the Baptist was beheaded by Herod.

                        c)  Jesus healed the sick and there were so many that He and the disciples did not even have time to eat.

Jesus saw the need of Himself and His disciples to get away for some rest.  They leave the crowd and cross the sea of Galilee.


(John 6:1)  After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is [the sea] of Tiberias.

            John is writing to gentiles.  In his Gospel he does not give the genealogy of Jesus for the gentiles would not be interested in this.  He repeatedly explains Jewish terms and here in this verse he calls the sea of Galilee by the name his readers would know that is “the sea of Tiberias.”

            Jesus needed a break from the work and so did His disciples.  Jesus knows that we are only human and our power is limited.  We must have rest from our work.   There is always work to be done.  We should work and work hard making good use of our time but we must not neglect rest.  The quality of our work suffers when we are in need of rest. 


(John 6:2)  And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.

            There was a great number of people following Jesus.  They were following because of the miracles which He did.  They wanted to see miracles.  These people needed to follow Him because He is the redeemer and savior of men.  This is why the disciples followed Jesus.  These people will later forsake Jesus because of His teachings.  They are only here to see miracles.  They are here to be entertained.


(John 6:3)  And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.

            Jesus goes ahead of the crowd with His disciples to a mountain.  The terrain is perfect for teaching a crowd.  Jesus plans to not only heal the sick but also to teach these people about the kingdom of God. 

(John 6:4)  And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.

            John inserts this comment to explain why there is such a large group of people in this place.  The feast of Passover was near and people would be traveling to Jerusalem from the outlying areas.  There would be many in town to see Jesus and to see Him do miracles before going to Jerusalem.  They would probably try to travel with Jesus and be with Him as He journeyed to Jerusalem.


(John 6:5)  When Jesus then lifted up [his] eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?

(John 6:6)  And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.

(John 6:7)  Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.


            The disciples had asked Jesus to send the multitude away that they might go and get them something to eat.   Jesus said “They need not depart; give ye them to eat.”  Jesus gave them a command to feed these people.  This task seems impossible.  How are they, who have no food of their own, going to feed some 15000 people?  This causes much discussion among the disciples and as they are pondering the solution to this problem Jesus asks Philip an interesting question.  Jesus wants Philip to tell Him Where shall we buy bread.  The command which Jesus has given has caused a great logistics problem. 

1. The crowd is not to depart and yet they are to be fed. 

2. Where will they buy the food?

3. How will they transport enough food to feed 15000 people up into this mountain. 

4. How much money will it take?

            Jesus has commanded and the disciples begin the thought process needed to obey the command.  They do not have enough money to pay for these people’s supper.  So going to town is not the solution. 

            Whenever Jesus commands He also empowers.  He will not ask them or us to do something for which He does not empower or equip us to do.   When He commanded us to go into all the world and make disciples He empowered us for that task and will supply our every need.


(John 6:8)  One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him,


(John 6:9)  There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?

            Andrew has found some food but it is not near enough.  This Lad had come prepared for the days events.  He or perhaps his mother has made him some lunch.  This young lad is like me his stomach is a fairly high priority with him.  He is going to make sure that he has something to eat. 

            The lad must have also been eager and willing to share his food with others.  I would like to think that the lad, hearing the discussion, offered his lunch to Andrew and Andrew laughed at the idea but also admired the young lad’s gesture. 


(John 6:10)  And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.

            Jesus, having put His disciples to the test, now begins to solve all of the problems which have overwhelmed the disciples.  They were first to all sit down in groups of about 50.  This was done so that all would be fed and no one missed.


(John 6:11)  And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.

            The next solution to the problem was to go to God in prayer.  Jesus thanked the Father in front of all of these people.  If they are to be fed God will have to provide the way. 

            It is true with each and every day of  our lives.  If we are to eat God will have to feed us.

            Jesus gives to His disciples and they give to the people.  They gave each person all they wanted. 

(John 6:12)  When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.

            Notice that everyone was full.  There was no one who went away that day hungry.  Jesus needs to give His disciples ample evidence of what has happened here.  He instructs them to go back to the crowd and gather up any leftovers. 


(John 6:13)  Therefore they gathered [them] together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.

            Each man returned to Jesus with his basket full.  Each man had a basket full of fish and bread.  The little boy’s lunch had fed 15000 people and enough left over to feed twelve hungry men. 

            Child of God remember this miracle.  (Philippians 4:19)  But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.