The Miracle of Fish and Bread

Scripture: Matthew 14:15-21, Mark 6:35-44, Luke 9:12-17, John 6:5-14

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will learn God cares about our needs.
  • Students will learn nothing is impossible for God if it is in His will.
  • Students will learn God can take what we give Him and do amazing things with it.
  • Students will learn about the miracle of Jesus providing food for the 5000.

Guiding Question: How can students learn the magnitude of the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5000?

Materials: 5 tiny pita loaves, two sardines, regular size loaf of rustic bread

Procedure: Teach story of Jesus feeding the 5000. Explain how difficult it can be to feed a lot of people when budgets are tight. Discuss that even when things are difficult or money seems tight to get food, nothing is impossible for God and He will always provide. God can help us when life is difficult whether that is at home, in school, at work, or anywhere and any problem! For the activity, bring in five tiny pita loaves about the size of crackers and two sardines. You will also need to bring in a regular sized loaf of rustic bread. At the time of the story, the boy’s lunch would have consisted of five loaves of pita bread about the size of crackers and two fish that area was famous for – salted fish about the size of sardines.

Ask students how many people they think that much food could feed if they gave each person a couple of bites. Remind students that there were 5000 men, but the total number of people was higher because we know there were also women and children there who weren’t counted in the 5000. In Mark and John, Philip says it would take a half a year’s pay (the original was 200 denari) to buy enough bread to feed everyone. A large loaf of regular rustic bread at that time cost ½ sestertius. There were four sestertius in one denari. 200 denari would have bought about 1600 loaves of bread.

Share one loaf of rustic bread so that everyone in class gets about an equal amount. Do the math to figure out how much bread over 5000 people would have gotten out of 1600 loaves….at just 5000 people, each person would have gotten about ⅓ of a loaf – there were probably more people and they had possibly missed several meals. It still wouldn’t have been enough. Jesus made those five tiny loaves and two little fish feed over 5000 people until they were so full they didn’t want to eat anymore and still collected 12 baskets full of leftovers.

Additional Questions: How can students understand the difficulty of sharing food with a mass amount of people?

Supplemental Activity: Using the portion of the food above, have the students try to divide the food evenly to give everyone in the class an equal amount. Have a discussion with the students about how difficult that was and how they can imagine the difficulty of having enough food to feed 5000+ people.

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