Back to index

The Miraculous Feeding

Mark 6:41

And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all.

Full bible text

Marcus 6:32-44
32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii[f] worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

About this painting

The sign of the miraculous feeding is mentioned in all the Gospels. It shows that God wants to provide for our temporary needs (Matt. 6:25), but at the same time it refers to the Heavenly Bread, which gives eternal life. John 6:35 The sign takes place near Bethsaida, north of the Sea of Galilee, east of the Jordan; a remote place. Jesus is moved with compassion for the people, who are like sheep without a shepherd, and teaches them. When the crowd gets hungry in the evening, He miraculously provides bread and fish. He could create bread “out of nothing,” but He uses what little is available: five loaves and two fish. When the little food is multiplied under His hands, His disciples must then work hard to distribute the food; God uses people in His service.

The day after this miraculous feeding, Jesus in Capernaum explains its meaning to the crowd. (John 6) He indicates that it is not about the daily bread, but about the lasting food. ‘Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life’ John 6:27. When asked ‘What must we do to be doing the works of God?’ Jesus answers: ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent’. Verse 29.
‘Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life’. John 6:47.
The Jews expected the Messiah to give bread from heaven, just like Moses in the desert. Jesus knows that many seek Him to get perishable bread, but says:
‘I am the living bread from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh’. John 6: 51.
‘Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day’. John 6: 54.
Jesus means an abiding spiritual feeding of all that He is; a total community of life. For many this statement is hard to take:
‘When many of his disciples heard it, they said: This is a hard saying; who can listen to it? John 6: 60.
Verse 66 says: ’After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him’.

Isaiah 55:1-3

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labour for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
3 Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live; 

Ask a question about this painting

{{ errors.first("field_7") }}
{{ errors.first("field_8") }}
{{ errors.first("field_9") }}
{{ errors.first("privacy") }}
Download the image for free