A Jesus Story: Feeding the Crowd

STORY: FEEDING THE CROWD (a bible story adaptation by Kate Christensen-Martin, plus discussion questions) 

A long, long time ago, we’re talking a couple of thousands of years ago, there lived a man named Jesus. I’m sure you’ve heard of him. He lived such a big life while on Earth that people all over the world still talk about him to this day. Jesus said and did a lot of things that surprised people, things that were considered different or even unheard of. Things like talking to people who no one else would talk to and interrupting important, powerful leaders if he didn’t think they were treating people very well. That’s what Jesus was all about. Love. Jesus was a teacher of Love. Everywhere he went and everything he did, he tried his very best to live Love and teach Love. 

Because Jesus lived his life so big and loud and did things so differently than anyone else, a lot of people followed him and listened to him. He’d travel as far as he could by foot (there were no cars back then, of course) teaching people about how to live big and loud like him, how to love everyone and how to bring change when the way things have always been done isn’t working. 

One day, Jesus was walking around thinking and praying and talking in his special way when he found a beautiful spot by the sea shore. Maybe Jesus liked to collect sea shells and wade in the ocean waters. But this day, there were thousands of people crowded around Jesus trying to hear his amazing teachings about Love. There was a lot going on in their part of the world at that time and many people were feeling frustrated and hopeless. So when Jesus talked honestly about these problems, people would stay and listen and interact with him for hours. He gave them hope. 

On this particular day people had been listening to Jesus at the sea shore for so long that they had grown very hungry. It was long past time for everyone to eat. Jesus had friends by his side who began to worry. They said, “Jesus, everyone needs to eat but not everyone has food. What are we going to do?” You see, many different people were gathered there that day to be with Jesus, people who had a lot of money and plenty of food and then people who had no money and sometimes went days without food. Jesus and his friends felt responsible for everyone there because they were all there to listen to him. Jesus’ friends panicked and said, “We should send everyone away.” Jesus told them, “No, we should feed them,” but Jesus’ friends were confused. “How could we possibly feed all of these people? Only some of them have food with them. There are too many who are without.” But Jesus said, “I’m sure somebody has something to share.”  

Just then, a little boy walked right up to Jesus and he said, “Here, Jesus, take my food.”  In that day, if you had enough money, you’d bring a basket of food with you when you were out and about so that when it was time to eat you could have a meal wherever you were. So the little boy offered up his basket of food to Jesus. The basket contained two fish and five loaves of bread. This was probably what he, his Mom, his Dad, and his siblings were meant to eat for the evening but the boy gave it away. 

Jesus’ friends immediately responded, “That’s not enough food to feed all of these people!” Jesus ignored them and lifted the food toward the sky thanking God for such a blessing. He said, “We’re so grateful for this willing and generous heart.” 

Having spent all day listening to Jesus’ words about how to love people, the little boy was excited to share what he had to help others who didn’t have anything. Seeing the generosity of the little boy and how Jesus was blessed by it, slowly but surely people all throughout the crowd began giving their bread and fish away too. Soon enough, you’d never know that many people there that day had nothing because everyone had plenty to eat and more. By the end of the night, there was still food left over after everyone had their fill. 

It turns out that even though many people that day had nothing, no money and no food, there was plenty there for everyone to be taken care of. When we share what we have, there’s enough for everyone. 


Discussion Questions:

  1. Why do you think the grown-ups in the story didn’t think to share the food? 
  2. Do you think Jesus was surprised by the little boy who offered his food?
  3. Have you ever shared a meal with someone who needed it? What did that feel like?
  4. Do you think there’s enough food on planet earth to feed everybody who lives on the earth?
  5. What are some other ways that we can work to make sure everyone has enough food to eat?