During the ministry of Jesus there were actually two

miraculous feedings of a multitude.  This is the more

spectacular of the two.


I.  Things which happened between chapter five and chapter



    V. 1, "After these things Jesus went over the sea of

Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias."  The term "After

these things" refers back to the events of chapter five.

Jesus and His disciples were in Jerusalem for the observance

of one of the national religious feasts.  John does not tell

us which feast.  While there, Jesus healed a man on the

sabbath day and the Jewish leaders charged Him with breaking

the law of the sabbath.  This was a charge which carried the

penalty of death by stoning if found guilty.

    John does not tell us the outcome of the trial.  He just

closed out the record of that event without telling us how

the Jews disposed of the charge.  However, since the

miraculous feeding of the multitude took place afterwards,

we know that they did not find Him guilty.  I cannot believe

that they would ever pronounce Jesus "Not guilty."

Therefore, I think they just dropped the charge on the

grounds of insufficient evidence.

    However, I personally think that they really dropped the

charges because they were afraid of what the masses of

people would do if they were to try to stone Jesus to death.

I know that later they were afraid of the multitude and I

think that was the reason they dropped this charge against


    At any rate, Jesus is no longer in Jerusalem and the

events of this text are said to take place at a later time.

So for whatever the reason, they did release Him and He

returned to Galilee.

    There must have been numerous things which took place

between chapter five and chapter six.  From the writings of

Matthew, Mark and Luke we can name some of the more

important events.  For one thing, Jesus sent the twelve

apostles out on a preaching campaign throughout the land of

Israel.  They were given power to perform miracles and were

told to preach the gospel message to the lost sheep of the

house of Israel.

    Those apostles had completed their preaching campaign

and had returned to Capernaum to report to Jesus.  They were

overjoyed at the results of their campaign.  They said,

"Even the devils are subject to us."

    Another momentous event that took place during this time

was that Herod Antipas, the Roman ruler of Galilee beheaded

John the Baptist.  When Jesus was told this news, He became

very sad and went into a period of mourning for John.  Jesus

was of a mind to get off somewhere alone and grieve for His

faithful servant John.

    However, when the people in and around Capernaum found

out that Jesus and His disciples had returned to Capernaum,

they thronged in around Him before He could get away.

According to Mark, they brought so many sick people to Jesus

that day that Jesus and His disciples had no time to eat the

noon meal.

    So Jesus took His disciples and entered into a boat and

headed out for the eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee.

Our text calls attention that this sea was also called "The

Sea of Tiberias."  This was in honor to the Roman Emperor by

that name.


II.  The great multitude which followed


    V. 2, "And a great multitude followed him, because they

saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased."

John says a great multitude of people followed Him.  Mark

says they followed on foot.  They saw Jesus and His

disciples go across the sea or lake in a boat and they

headed out on foot around the shores of the lake.  John said

that the thing which excited them and caused them to follow

was that they had seen how He healed the sick and afflicted.

Mark says also that the crowd began to grow.  That is, other

people from all the villages on that north side of the lake

thronged out to see what all the excitement was about.

    V. 3, "And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he

sat with his disciples."  Jesus and His disciples arrived

first.  Jesus had led His disciples up one of the mountains

in the area and were about to get some much needed rest.  No

doubt, they were all mourning the death of John the Baptist.


III.  The nearness of the Jewish Passover


    In verse 4 John makes a statement that seems almost out

of place in this record.  V. 4, "And the passover, a feast

of the Jews, was nigh."  If the feast which Jesus attended

back in chapter four was the passover, then this means that

this event is taking place about a year later.  If the

former feast was not the passover, then it was a much

shorter period of time.

    But the point is:  Why did John mention the passover in

connection with this miracle?  I am not certain.  I think

that it might be to help explain why so many people were in

this great multitude.  A lot of people had apparently

already traveled from the outlying areas of the nation on

their way toward Jerusalem and that accounted for such large

numbers being in Capernaum at this time and for such a large

crowd in this gathering.

IV.  The problem of trying to feed such a large multitude


    V. 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?"  From John's

writing we might get the idea that Jesus spoke this to

Philip when they first saw the crowd coming.  According to

other gospel writers, this conversation did not take place

until late in the evening when it was about time for them to

leave.  Jesus actually spent the afternoon and the early

part of the evening ministering to the great crowd of

people.  He preached to them and healed numerous sick folk.

    It began to be late in the evening when some of the

disciples came to Him.  They suggested that He send the

multitude away, lest they become weak and faint for lack of

nourishment.  We know that Jesus and His disciples had

missed their noon meal and apparently the crowd had done

likewise.  Now it was time for the evening meal and it was a

long way back to town.  There was a very real danger that

some of them might become too weak to make it back.

Apparently the Apostle Philip was among the disciples who

came to Jesus with the suggestion that He send them away.

    Other gospel writers tell us that Jesus said to the

disciples, "You feed them."  John tells us that He

specifically addressed the Apostle Philip and asked, "Where

can we buy bread for them?"  I can only imagine how Philip

reacted to this question.  He must have been bowled over by

the question.  How in the world could they buy enough food

for all this crowd?  It reminds me of the TV commercial

where the baseball players start figuring how much it would

cost to buy pizzas for all the crowd at the stadium.

    At any rate, Jesus was not serious about buying food for

all the crowd.  He just wanted to use the occasion to help

Philip grow in faith.  He wanted Philip's faith to be

stronger.  V. 6, "And this he said to prove him: for he

himself knew what he would do."  I am quite sure that He

wants our's to be stronger also.

    V. 7, "Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of

bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may

take a little."  Philip said, "Two hundred pennyworth would

not buy enough to go around to everybody even if we only

gave each one a tiny little bit."  In other words, "We just

do not have enough money to buy food for all this crowd."

    V. 8-9, "One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's

brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath

five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they

among so many?"  Andrew said, "We do have a little lad who

has five barley loaves two small fish."

V.  The solution to the problem


    V. 10, "And Jesus said, Make the men sit down.  Now

there was much grass in the place..."  We are told by the

other gospel writers that Jesus had them to sit in groups of

50s and 100s.  If everybody was up milling about there would

be no way that everybody would get fed.  A lot of people

would be missed.

    (V. 10), "...So the men sat down, in number about five

thousand."  John said there were about five thousand men.

Other gospel writers tell us that there were about five

thousand men plus the women and children.  If they averaged

only one woman and one child per there was a total of about

15,000 people.

    V. 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."  Jesus used the twelve apostles as

waiters.  Each man always carried a small basket which would

serve as a plate.  So Jesus started breaking off pieces of

bread and fish into the baskets.  The apostles, in turn

served the people and returned for more.  They kept this up

until all of that great multitude of people was full and

said, "No thanks, we don't want any more."

    V. 12-13, "When they were filled, he said unto his

disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing

be lost.  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."

They had more left over than they had when they started.


VI.  Men's difficulty in believing this miracle


    Listen, in out text last Sunday Jesus pointed out how

important it is for us to believe the Scripture.  Now for

those who believe the Scripture, there is no doubt about the

great miracle of this event.  Doubters and skeptics try to

explain away the miracle of it, but all who believe the

Bible recognize that this miracle cannot be explained away.

    It really ought not be a problem for anybody who claims

to believe the Bible.  In the first chapter of this book,

John told us that Jesus is the Word of God.  He said that

the Word was in the beginning with A God and that the Word

was God.  He said that all things were made by Him.  Now get

this scene!  Picture Jesus in the beginning when He did not

even have five loaves of bread or two little fishes.  He had

nothing to break and multiply.  He had nothing but His

power.  But He created all the heavens and the earth.  I

say, that if you believe the Scripture, it ought not be hard

to believe that He broke those five little loaves of bread

and those two little fish and that He fed this great

multitude of 5,000 men plus women and children --- about

15,000 people in all.

    Furthermore, picture this scene.  Back in the wilderness

Moses had about 10 million men and women traveling through

the wilderness and they had no food.  How many penneyworth

would it take to buy enough food for this crowd?  But the

Lord fed them.  He fed them for forty years!  Let me tell

you that anybody who believes the Bible should have no

problem believing that Jesus performed this miracle and fed

this great crowd of people with only two loaves and two


    Let me tell you something else.  Jesus promised that if

a lost, unworthy sinner will trust in Him for salvation,

that sinner will be saved and will go to heaven when he

dies.  Romans 10:13 says, "For whosoever shall call upon the

name of the Lord shall be saved."  Acts 16:31 says, "Believe

on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."  I want

to repeat to you:  Anybody who believes the Bible should

have no trouble believing that Jesus saves.




    Come and trust Him.  Ask Him to save your soul.  Trust

Him to save your soul.