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Key References: Mark 6:30-44; John 6:1-15; The Desire of Ages, chap. 39, pp. 364-371; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 8, pp. 41-45; Our Beliefs nos. 21, 11, 4.

Power Text

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation” (Isaiah 12:2).

Power Point

We serve a God who supplies all our needs.

Have you ever been so caught up in something that you forgot all about the time? You were so engrossed that you forgot to eat anything, and suddenly you realized how hungry you were. That is just what happened to a crowd of people one day as they were listening to Jesus. Imagine being part of that crowd.

I knew I should have headed for home right away. But it was a beautiful spring day, and instead I followed the crowd to the shore, listening to their conversations.

“We saw Him a little while ago,” said a man who smelled like the sea. “My brother followed Him in our boat. I walked this way hoping to meet Him.”

“Where could He be?” asked a man in fine traveling clothes. “I have to see Him before I go to Jerusalem for Passover.”

“I want Him to bless my children,” said a woman with three small children clinging to her robe. “They have no father, and I want to raise them in the fear and admonition of the Lord.”

”Jesus, Son of man, where are You?” the fisherman shouted.

“Do you think He can hear you?” the traveler laughed.

“It can’t hurt,” the fisherman muttered.

Suddenly one of the children said, “Mama, look.”

A hush fell over the crowd, and all eyes looked up. Jesus was descending the hillside. He stood and began to speak. He didn’t seem impatient with the people.

I don’t know how long we stood there listening to Him. He gave us so much hope—unlike the priests and rulers. Even the little children didn’t fuss. Suddenly I noticed that the sun was sinking in the west. My stomach started to growl. I heard the disciples telling Jesus that we needed to leave so we could eat. Jesus said the strangest thing to them, “You give them something to eat.”

The one called Philip looked at Him in disbelief and asked, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” (Mark 6:37).

I wondered that too. The nearest village was miles away, and there were far more people here than in most villages!

”How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked. “Go and see” (verse 38).

His followers started to fan out and look. I looked down. I had been so busy listening to Jesus, I had forgotten about my net bag with bread and fish! At that same moment the follower who was called Andrew looked at it, too.

“That boy over there seems to have something,” he said.

Andrew and I stepped toward each other. “It’s not very much,” I said apologetically as I gave it to him.

“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Andrew asked, incredulous.

“Have the people sit down,” said Jesus (see John 6:9, 10).

The other disciples were returning empty-handed. Phillip, Peter, and Andrew asked the people to sit down in groups of 50.

People sat down with great sighs of relief. When everyone was seated, Jesus looked up to heaven, blessed the bread, broke it, and gave it to His disciples.

They filled their traveling baskets with bread and fish. They walked all through the crowd distributing the food. My mother’s bread and fish had never tasted so good.

The disciples and Jesus didn’t eat until everyone else had something. There was even a lot of food left over! The people were overjoyed.

“I can’t believe He did that,” said the fisherman.

“Even though you can feel it in your stomach?” laughed the traveler. “What more proof do you need?”

“That’s not what I meant,” the fisherman retorted.

“I know. It’s amazing,” replied the traveler. “I can hardly wait to get back to my country and tell my friends.”

“I know God will provide for me and my children!” exclaimed the mother who had sought His blessing.

“Jesus gave us bread,” echoed her oldest child.

As the followers distributed bread for us to take home, I thought about how Jesus had fed us from His own hands. Yes, I had brought the lunch, but He had created the fish. He gave sunshine and rain and soil to grow the grain to make the bread. Most important, this experience helped me understand what Jesus would later teach about Himself: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).