In an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest sit-down meal served, the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority in Washington, D.C., prepared a banquet for 16,206 guests. Two thousand employees served three tons of beef, 1.5 tons of mashed potatoes, and 40,000 pounds of bagged ice.
Today’s passage details an amazing meal when Jesus used small means to feed many people. Following intensive days of teaching and healing, He retreated for a private moment, but again He was followed by a “great crowd” (v. 5). People had heard about the wonders and teachings of this extraordinary man. They were searching for Jesus.
Seeing the crowds, Jesus asked Philip how they would feed them. Philip’s response was practical. Feeding a crowd of 5,000 men (plus women and children) would be no simple task. It would require “more than half a year’s wages” (v. 7). Andrew volunteered supplies—two small fish and five loaves of barley bread. What seemed like scarcity became abundance in the hands of Jesus. We are not told how this multiplication happened, only that everyone was fed, with plenty to spare. The miracle astounded everyone. “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world” (v. 14).
Jesus withdrew from the crowd, but again He defied the limitations of nature when He walked on the water (v. 19). He was far more than an extraordinary person—the disciples were witnessing God Himself.
The theme of this month’s study was taken from verse 24: the crowd headed to Capernaum “in search of Jesus.” Plenty of people were searching for Jesus. Would they discover the Jesus they thought they wanted, or would they recognize Him as the Son of God?
When facing obstacles, are you like Philip, seeing only the practical limitations? Or are you like Andrew, trusting that God can transform meager resources into abundant blessing? Do you trust your abilities or God’s plans? Ask God to amaze you with His ability not only to meet your needs but also to surpass your expectations.