Then one day Jesus went to the Lake of Tiberias, which is also known as the Lake of Galilee. And a massive crowd of people followed him everywhere. They were attracted by his miracles and the healings they watched him perform. Jesus went up the slope of a hill and sat down with his disciples. Now it was approaching the time of the Jewish celebration of Passover, and there were many pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem in the crowd.
As Jesus sat down, he looked out and saw the massive crowd of people scrambling up the hill, for they wanted to be near him. So he turned to Philip and said, “Where will we buy enough food to feed all these people?” Now Jesus already knew what he was about to do, but he said this to stretch Philip’s faith.
Philip answered, “Well, I suppose if we were to give everyone only a snack, it would cost thousands of dollars to buy enough food!”
But just then, Andrew, Peter’s brother, spoke up and said, “Look! Here’s a young person with five barley loaves and two small fish . . . but how far would that go with this huge crowd?”
“Have everyone sit down,” Jesus said to his disciples. So on the vast grassy slope, more than five thousand hungry people sat down. Jesus then took the barley loaves and the fish and gave thanks to God. He then gave it to the disciples to distribute to the people. Miraculously, the food multiplied, with everyone eating as much as they wanted!
When everyone was satisfied, Jesus told his disciples, “Now go back and gather up the pieces left over so that nothing will be wasted.” The disciples filled up twelve baskets of fragments, a basket of leftovers for each disciple.
All the people were astounded as they saw with their own eyes the incredible miracle Jesus had performed! They began to say among themselves, “He really is the One—the true prophet we’ve been expecting!”
So Jesus, knowing that they were about to take him and make him their king by force, quickly left and went up the mountainside alone.
After waiting until evening for Jesus to return, the disciples went down to the lake. But as darkness fell, he still hadn’t returned, so the disciples got into a boat and headed across the lake to Capernaum. By now a strong wind began to blow and was stirring up the waters. The disciples had rowed about halfway across the lake when all of a sudden they caught sight of Jesus walking on top of the waves, coming toward them. The disciples panicked, but Jesus called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. You know who I am.”
They were relieved to take him in, and the moment Jesus stepped into the boat, they were instantly transported to the other side!
The next morning, the crowds were still on the opposite shore of the lake, near the place where they had eaten the bread he had multiplied after he had given thanks to God. Yet Jesus was nowhere to be found. They realized that only one boat had been there and that Jesus’ hadn’t boarded, and they concluded that his disciples had left him behind. So when the people saw on the shoreline a number of small boats from Tiberias, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum to search for him.
When they finally found him, they asked him, “Teacher, how did you get here?”
Jesus replied, “Let me make this very clear, you came looking for me because I fed you by a miracle, not because you believe in me. Why would you strive for food that is perishable and not be passionate to seek the food of eternal life, which never spoils? I, the Son of Man, am ready to give you what matters most, for God the Father has destined me for this purpose.”