Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

After many witness encounters, I usually give out a Gospel of John to the person if they don't have a Bible of their own. So far we've gone through the first five chapters from the viewpoint of someone reading it for the first time. Let's pick it up in chapter six.

1 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Feast was near.
I really notice that the Bible speaks a lot of Jesus being Jewish. When I witness to Jewish people I constantly have to remind them of this fact. They seem to think that to follow Christ would mean they have to cease being Jewish. I remind them that Jesus never ceased to be a Jew.

5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

I've heard this question asked of me a lot. "If God knows everything, then why does He ask questions?" If you read the Bible enough, you'll see that God answers most of our questions. Here, He is asking Philip to test him.

7 Philip answered him, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!"

8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, 9 "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"

10 Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

14 After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world." 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

Here is another example of Jesus using His miracles to authenticate Himself. The people of that day were intimately familiar with the Scriptures, and every time Jesus fulfilled prophecy, He spoke very clearly of His identity as the one God of Israel.

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