After learning of the death of John the Baptizer, Jesus went across Lake Galilee (also called Lake Tiberias), to a deserted place in the general area of Bethsaida (87).
But a large crowd of people — who had seen his healing miracles — soon found him & came to him. Then Jesus went up a hill and sat down with his students. The time for the Passover Festival was near. Toward evening, after Jesus had taught the people for a while, his students urged him to send the crowds away so they could find food for their evening meal.
Jesus looked around and had compassion for the people; he knew they were hungry. He said to his students, “I want you to give them something to eat.” Then Jesus asked Philip, “Where do you think we can buy enough food to feed all these people?” (Jesus was testing Philip, since he already knew what he would do.) Philip answered, “For everyone to have even a little bread to eat, it would cost more than two hundred silver coins.”
Then Andrew, Peter’s brother, said, “There is a boy here who has five loaves of bread and two fish. But they will certainly not be enough for all these people.”
There was a lot of grass there, so Jesus told his students to make all the people sit down. There were about five thousand men in the crowd, plus all the women & children.
Jesus took the five loaves of bread and gave thanks to God for them. Then he broke the loaves in pieces, and he gave them to his students, who distributed bread to all the people who were sitting there. Jesus did the same with the two fish. Amazingly, all the people had as much as they wanted to eat!
When they were all satisfied, Jesus said to his students, “Gather the left-overs; don’t waste anything.” Again to their amazement, they filled twelve baskets with the left-overs from the bread & fish that the people had eaten!
When people realized that Jesus had provided the food miraculously, they said, “Surely this is the prophet who was promised in the inspired scriptures!”
Jesus knew that the crowd would be tempted to hail him as their new king, so he sent them all away. Then Jesus sent his students back across the lake in the boat. Finally, he went off to the hills by himself to pray.
(87) Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17, John 6:1-15