Jesus feeds five thousand through the miracle of the loaves and fishes.           Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9: 10.17


After completing His great Galilean Ministry, Jesus had sent out the twelve disciples in groups of twos to teach and to preach in Palestine. He had given them power to heal the sick and to cast out evil spirits. The disciples had come back to Jesus and reported to Him on all that they had done.

The event of our story very likely took place in the spring of 29 before the Pass­over. The Gospel accounts of Mark, Matthew and John all note that "there was much green grass in the place" where this story took place. The rainy season had almost come to an end. The rains would account for much green grass and very likely also a very beautiful array of flowers. Today, when the rainy season ends and the dry or summer season has begun, the flowers fade rather quickly and the grass becomes brown and burnt.


Jesus was somewhere in the area of the Sea of Galilee when the disciples re­turned. Probably He was in Capernaum which He had made His home after He had been rejected by the people of N az­areth. Crowds gathered wherever Jesus was. Mark 6:31 indicates that this was true also at this time. So many people were coming and going that Jesus and His disciples did not have a chance even to eat.




The area of the Sea of Galilee was a very busy part of Palestine at the time of


Christ. The area is comparatively small. The Sea of Galilee itself is around 13 miles long at its longest part, and 8 miles at its widest part. Seemingly there were many towns and villages along the shore of the Sea of Galilee and in the small triangular plain of Gennesaret at its northwestern end.

At this time fishing was a major in­dustry in this area. Fish pickled in brine or dried were "trucked" via donkey and camel back to the fish markets of Jerusa­lem. Pickled fish from the Sea of Galilee were considered a very great delicacy in Rome.

Magdala, the home of Mary Magdalene (Mary of Magdala) was a center for the fishing industry. It also served as a sea­port. Wheat from the fertile fields east of the Sea of Galilee in the area of Philip the Tetrach (Syria today) was shipped across the sea and shipped overland to be sold in other parts of Palestine.




Jesus suggested to His disciples that they sail to the eastern shore which was less populated. This would give them a chance to rest and relax somewhat. Jesus would have the opportunity to hear what had been accomplished by the twelve as they had traveled about teaching the people. The twelve also had need for further instruction.


The crowd of people saw Jesus and His disciples enter a boat and

sail toward the eastern shore. When they saw the direc­tion that the boat was taking, they began walking along the shore. At the Jordan River, they crossed over into the area of Philip the Tetrarch. Nearby was Beth­saida-Julias, a town he had rebuilt and named in honor of the daughter of Augustus.

A little to the south of this town is a quiet, lonely spot. The area slopes up­ward to a high plateau. It was somewhere in this area that the crowd awaited the coming of Jesus and His disciples.

As the boat was coming to shore, Jesus looked at the crowd of people waiting for Him. He felt sorry for them, for they were as "sheep without a shepherd." Jesus knew that they were looking for the Mes­siah, who, according to their view, would establish a glorious, earthly kingdom. This Messiah would free Palestine from the power of the Romans and other foreigners.





When Jesus came to shore, He healed the sick. Then, He walked up the slope and began to speak to the people. It must have been a beautiful sight: the people sitting on the green grass amidst the spring flowers and in the distance shim­mered the blue waters of the lovely Sea of Galilee.



The Sea of Galilee and Mount Hermon. It was on grassy slopes such as those in the background that Christ fed the multitudes.