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‘God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:19). Declare this truth over your life today.

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Bible passage John 6:1–15

John 6

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
 1Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick. 3Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4The Jewish Passover Feast was near.

 5When 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?" 6He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

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

 8Another 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?"

 10Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 11Jesus 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.

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

 14After 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." 15Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Audio Bible passage

The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).

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Revealing his identity
What is it that draws people to Jesus? His authoritative words, supernatural power, compassion? Jesus cares for us at our point of need, healing and filling us (vs 2,11).

Though his miracles clearly point to Jesus’ heavenly identity, the disciples’ and the crowd’s (vs 6,9,14,15) vision is too small and earthbound. The feeding miracle recalls the manna in the desert (6:32), showing that Jesus, being God, is the great provider and the source of life and in him all hunger is satisfied. By healing the sick he’s revealed as the Restorer of broken creation. This is God mighty in power! How might your expectations about what Jesus can do be too modest?

Providing for others
As Christians called to look after the least we may feel overwhelmed by the needs around us. It’s easy to let our serving be led by our own sense of lack in ourselves (vs 7,9). Jesus lacks nothing. Like him, we can work out of a place of resting responsively in the Father’s love (5:20,30) and so discern best where we are to called to be effective.

As resurrection people we can operate out of the victory Jesus has won over all deficiency in the world. He is not the God of the just enough but the God of abundance (vs 12,13; 2 Corinthians 9:8)!


What can you give for God’s use? Your time, money, friendship, hope, imagination? And to whom?

Phil Andrews

Deeper Bible study

In this new day, what differences do you really expect Jesus to make?

This familiar story (recorded in all four Gospels) demonstrates a gloriously creative act of God incarnate. (More about miracles tomorrow.) John records several distinctive details. Easily overlooked is his reference to Passover (v 4) with its celebration, among other things, of God’s feeding his people (Exodus 16). This makes an important back-story.

Only John records Jesus asking Philip ‘Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?’ (v 5). It is a testing question. And what a test! After witnessing many miraculous signs (v 2) does Philip have enough faith to see that another miracle is possible? His prosaic answer reveals a very practical closed mindset. Yet, it’s understandable, isn’t it? What difference can Jesus really be expected to make? Too often, when faced by problems we close our minds to God’s possibilities. We need to be stretched to see how God can work beyond our imagining. He can always do immeasurably more than we imagine!

Further, John ends the story with extreme danger, as people would ‘make him king by force’ (v 15). Remember how Jesus rejected the temptations of turning stones to bread and gaining cheap kingship (Matthew 4:2–11)! He will not abuse divine power for personal ends. Yet, risking instant popular acclaim, here Jesus uses divine power to meet genuine need – like providing manna in the desert. How easily the crowd misunderstands and tries to elevate him as the political saviour. This, however, would be disastrous for his Father’s mission and Jesus must totally reject it. Feeding the crowd with bread is not the way he becomes Saviour of the world. No. He is the Bread of Life, with ‘food that endures to eternal life’ (John 6:27). That’s the extraordinary truth Jesus is preparing them for.

Michael Quicke

Bible in a year

Read the Bible in a year.

2 Samuel 13,14

1 Corinthians 6


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  • Rachael Hampton | Wednesday, 10 May 2017

    Why did Andrew even bother to mention that a lad had brought some lunch with him? Was it a throwaway comment - ('but what's the use of that?'). Or did he have an inkling that Jesus might do something spectacular? And I wonder how the kid felt about giving up his lunch? God didn't need something physical to provide the manna, yet Jesus here uses the tiny offering to provide abundantly for a multitude. Wooo. Always such an encouragement to us as we bring Him each day the little we have, often feeling it is too small to be of much use. Yet there is even more to this. John often calls Jesus' miracles signs. Surely He is also graphically showing here that when His earthly body is broken - just one man from humble origins, one body - countless multitudes will be fed with the Living Bread of Life. Thank You, Thank You Jesus.

  • Rachael Hampton | Wednesday, 10 May 2017

    Dear Jane, Amen to the prayers of TERESA, RUTH and other WL friends. What a thorny path you are on this last year or so, and now you are without the support of your housemate/friend Sigi. Cancer, grief, DVT, cancer again, and you were to have a hip replacement this year I think. May you, and all whose roads are rough and steep, be blessed and encouraged by the abundant provision of our 'emotional, passionate Fater Who gave all to save us', as Anne so beautifully describes our God.

  • David Forbes | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    Out of the ashes of our failures Lord, the Lord of miracles.. allow us to believe in your mighty power available to us today. And may your power in us be enough to change us into vessels worthy as your children. Lord of miracles do your work in us. Help our unbelief and your name be glorified!

  • Adam Julians | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    Rachael, how about this. We read yesterday about Jesus talking to people who were diligent about the scriptures but not interested in him. What if similarly here he is interested in people who prefer him to food. The bread of life rather than bread just as the word rather than scripture? So as you rightly say, the boy surrendering what he had by way of food and Andrew talking about what was available then leaving it with Jesus to do with that what he will. As opposed to Philip who's mind was only on the physical and financial. And Jesus choosing people to be around who were obedient to his calling to follow him and to be part of the kingdom rather than those who he withdrew from and wanted to take the kingdom by force. The greater "force" being God's love than a physical rebellion against Roman dominion.

  • Ruth Chisholm | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    Jesus will not abuse divine power for personal ends. (Deeper Study) is it just me or do others find it easier to pray for the needs of others around you than for your own needs?

  • Hilary Dale | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    Help me, Lord, to trust rightly in you, not as a slot machine God providing instantly for my selfish whims, but YES as the God of abundance, NOT a god of just enough. The God who will meet all my needs in the glorious riches of Christ Jesus! Be that need-meeting God to those who bear so much trial.

  • Elizabeth Sadler | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    "More than enough".Our God is utterly faithful and delights to provide for us in abundance. Yesterday I bought a little beach hut in an ideal position on the sea front;good friends at my new church need to move in a hurry, and asked if I would like it.Faithful readers of WL will know of my struggles over the years,when at times I did not know how I would survive, as my life fell apart,and I was forced to pay out huge amounts of money.Now I not only have a lovely home ,but a little hut which can be used for church,friends and family,carrying on the vision of its past owners.

  • Hilary Dale | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    A minor-ish thing, compared to others' illnesses and suffering, but I'd appreciate a WL prayer for my son Mark today...he has had something stolen/"borrowed" by someone at school and it is distressing him - I have prayed with him for its return, knowing its not always that simple, but I'd love him to experience God's extravagant response. Mark also desperately needs a dose of motivation for GCSE exam season! But most of all still needs to be convinced that God delights for and cares for him... dear Lord, by your Spirit cause him to turn to you and know the joy of the "Abba Father" cry welling up within him, and the motivation of life that is lived out of love for You.

  • Cat Ward | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    As one who struggles with food and "More than enough" may I ask for prayer to see that I and others like me have only sufficiency and abundance in Christ's provision of the True and Living Bread.

  • Hilary Dale | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    Elizabeth, that is delightful, and an encouragement indeed, knowing some of the pain of your journey, it is thrilling to hear of God's generous love, and of your faithful trust in him through so much! Thankyou for sharing!

  • Anne Mcgowan | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    I am so encouraged by this, by RACHAEL's words.. the little we have in more than enough in His hands, up to 12 baskets more. Jesus just knows who he is, there is no fanfare as he takes the bread and fish. I think he had a smile on his face as Andrew said what he did, and he then gave thanks, and gave out the food. He didn't have deep intercessory prayer over the basket, wasn't begging for a miracle, as I would have done. He just gave thanks and off it went. A different Kingdom come to earth. Totally counter culture to our earthly one, where the least are the greatest, you love your enemies and you turn 5 loaves into 5000, God as man dwelling amongst us full of grace and truth. Is not this man our brother, demonstrating a life in the Spirit that is as much ours as it was his? Showing us how we can live as sons of God, not in the spirit of bondage again to fear but the Spirit of adoption by which we cry Abba Father. We are children and we are heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, this too is our birthright as we have been translated from the one kingdom to the Kingdom of His dear Son.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    The resources were totally inadequate to meet the need in this instance, but when the Lord blessed it, there was more than enough. When in need, we should seek God’s direction for something to set our hands to and then trust Him to bless it (Deuteronomy 28:8) and multiply the results of our work. But one hundred times zero is zero. I'm sure many people have missed their miracles because they never took that first step of faith and used what they had.

  • Roger Hall | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    Philip, learned and bore fruit!

  • Sara Ward | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    Amen, Rachael. Elizabeth, you've been in my prayers and know what you've been through - it's so good to hear all that's happened. May you at last know peace. God's provision so often comes in ways we least expect - especially if we're looking for it in some other way. God bless, WL's.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    RUTH perhaps not easier but more a case of the closer we get to the Lord, the less 'needs' we have as we know prayer is not all about our needs. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever. Living like this we remember God meets them anyway through Christ Jesus.

  • Roger Hall | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    Hilary, your own prayer for Mark is perfectly expressed, and I just need to add "amen, " bless you!

  • Angela Munday | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    Jesus had complete faith in His Father in Heaven and met the practical needs of the people with prayer upon the small offering of bread and fish. Complete contentment followed; they had been fed by their Saviour. "For God so loved the World" and will feed those who come to Him.

  • Jacky Taylor | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    I haven't had the time or brain power to read today but I listened as I worked and have tears in my eyes as yet again God has timed the reading and comments to just what I was needing this morning. Thank you Wordlive producers for listening to the Holy Spirit.

  • Jane Hill | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    Ruth C. How I agree. I find it hard to pray for myself, so thank you all who are remembering me in your prayers.Frustrated at not being able to garden (my hobby) I have had time to sit and appreciate the variety of God's creation as never before. What wonderful variety in the Spring flowers and what glorious weather! And what wonderful provision for physical needs with so many caring friends and siblings..God has provided in abundance. Thank you Lord.

  • Derek Forster | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    All the way my Savior leads me; Cheers each winding path I tread, Gives me grace for ev’ry trial, Feeds me with the living bread; Tho’ my weary steps may falter, and my soul athirst may be, Gushing from the Rock before me, Lo! a spring of joy I see; Gushing from the Rock before me, Lo! a spring of joy I see;

  • Lynda Spencer | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    I am humbled this morning by the vastness of the needs expressed on this page and by the grace with which each one of you is accepting the road you have been called to travel. HILARY, I do not for a moment think your request is 'minor-ish' and I have lifted Mark to the Lord along with the needs of others. I asked a friend at church the other day if she would pray about a particular situation one of my sons was facing. Her response was, "It will be a privilege to pray for him." That is my response this morning as I read the needs expressed here. It is a privilege to be able to speak to my Heavenly Father (and yours!!) on behalf of you all. I do it gladly, and with gratitude that I am part of such a caring, loving community.

  • Ian Whyte | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    V10 is interesting as it implies the women didn't sit down straight away. Perhaps they helped the disciples distribute the food first.

  • David Chipchase | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    TIM, thank you for that reference yesterday. HILARY, I think your request is major-ish and I will certainly add my voice to the chorus of prayers.

  • David Chipchase | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    What a timely reminder; our God loves and cares for all the people on this earth! South Sudan has been a source of despair for me recently. I was quite weepy when I watched a news report this evening. It is so overwhelming I don't know what to pray but I am now energized remembering God is in control and He does miracles! Please, WL'ers, could we pray for God's miraculous intercession in South Sudan? Thank you all.

  • Shona McLennan | Thursday, 11 May 2017


  • Elizabeth Sadler | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    DAVID I see that 2 Christian men have been released from prison in the Sudan.Wonderful answer to prayer!

  • Ruth Chisholm | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    HILARY one of my early memories is my Mum praying for something seemingly small but had a profound impact on my journey of faith. If it's important to us it's important to God. Been praying for an out of the box outcome in answer to our prayers for Mark. GILVIN thank you, you summed up what I guess I was trying to say, I'll never refuse offers of prayer, but I live with a heart full of thanks in the confidence "that he who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

  • Hilary Dale | Thursday, 11 May 2017

    Dear WL friends, thankyou for your encouragement and prayer today, it means a lot to me. No answers yet, but I'll keep you posted.

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