John 6:1-15 Bountiful Provision

After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. 14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”

15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

Bountiful Provision

Your resources aren’t enough.  Really, you don’t have anything that wasn’t given to you by God.  At this time in the year many of my students seem drained and emotionally spent.  They come back from summer full of good intentions, but a combination of overwork, poor decisions, and a busy social schedule drain most of them by mid to late September.  It’s actually good for them in a way because when life demands more than we have, we either crumble or throw ourselves at the feet of Jesus.

In this passage Philip is tested with a catering issue.  He has to feed 5,000 men with very little.  The disciples look at what they have but they don’t have enough.  Jesus takes the resources surrendered to him and he multiplies them so that there is what seems like a waste at the end.  There are 12 baskets more than necessary provided by Jesus.  This speaks not only to God’s provision but to his bounty.  He gives us more than we need to be able to do what he wants us to do.

Sometimes being stretched is what God wants us to experience.  Sometimes God will not provide bounty because we are not doing his will.  Some people add so much to the basic calling of God on their life that they do not have any scraps left over.  By this I mean that God may have called them to work in Starbucks, but they add part-time work for a clothing store, they go to the movies every night, and they eat at fancy restaurants.  God also calls us to simplicity and some of us may have overfilled our lives whilst also expecting God to take care of all our extras.

A relationship with Jesus lived in total surrender helps us to discern where our time, money and strength should be spent.  Once we are walking in the Spirit, Jesus provides above and beyond all we can possibly imagine.


I want more, but I have enough.  I see the life that you are leading me through and you have provided for me enough to eat and enough to drink in every phase.  I have now got more than I need, help me to be grateful.  Help me to live simply and take care of my students, my friends, and my family as you wish.


  1. What is Philip asked to do and why?
  2. What does Jesus reveal about himself?
  3. Why would people want to make him king?
  4. What needs do you have?  What do you lack?
  5. Does Jesus really provide more than you need in order to accomplish what he has called you to do?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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22 Responses to John 6:1-15 Bountiful Provision

  1. Nickie says:

    When I first came to school, I noticed that everyone was busy and loved their busyness. I thought I wouldn’t be like them. Then this semester happened and I’m taking more credits and work hours than I have previously. I’ve also added 3 or 4 more responsibilities to my list of things to do every week. I’m exhausted and feeling like I don’t have any more energy to give to anything. This post was what I needed to hear and echoes my prayer from yesterday of asking God to give me the energy to get the basics done.

  2. Mary says:

    1. Think outside the box…trust Jesus.
    2. He has power over all creation, and he cares enough to meet our needs.
    3. Maybe they think he is a magician that they can control, since he just performed a miracle. But also because they think he might be the prophet Moses spoke of (Deut. 18:15), and they had been awaiting a king to deliver them.
    4. Hmmm…I don’t lack any “needs”. In fact, I have more than I need.
    5. Yes and no. Jesus said that he came to give us abundant life, and I do have an abundant life. I am satisfied and content and happy. At the same time, there is a tension between having an abundance and overindulging. What God has provided me with is more than enough, which I believe is so that I have additional to give away, and I do. Where I would say no is that there is always a sense of need for Him, in which he continuously gives of Himself, and I am continuously filled, but always desiring more of Him. So as far as giving of Himself and teaching me life lessons, I think Jesus gives me exactly what I need when I need it, but as far as resources go, He gives me more than I need so I can be a blessing to others.

  3. karas says:

    Jesus asks Philip to meet a need, and really to believe. He points out Philip’s short-sightedness, something we all suffer from. Jesus reveals how He tests us in order to strengthen our faith, and also that He knew what was really important. People just wanted food, but Jesus wanted so much more for them. Again, we are so short-sighted. I guess really all I need is Jesus, although I’ve found that I kind of need the things He’s put in my life – food, clothing, shelter, sleep, and people. Particularly believers, and personally my friends and family. I can’t say I really lack anything that I need, although I definitely feel like I need help at times. But Jesus does provide what I need, and more than I need. He truly is all I need, it’s just sometimes I fail to see/feel that.

  4. Sara Cavitt says:

    1) Philip is asked to trust that all of the people will be fed and that their needs will be met.
    2) Jesus reveals that He always provides and will take care of His people in ways according to His will, not ours.
    3) They wanted Him as their king, because they saw His power in provision.
    4) Although I may think that I do have needs, when I really look at my life, God has blessed me so much!
    5) In looking at my life, He has been so faithful in providing for my needs! I would not be where I am today without His guidance and provision.

  5. Jenna says:

    1. Jesus asks Philip to get food for the crowd to eat. Maybe He did this to show another sign of His authority?
    2. Jesus reveals that He is able to provide for people’s needs – and abundantly more than they need!
    3. They recognized Jesus as the Prophet, or the Messiah. Their idea of the Messiah was a great political ruler who would lead a rebellion against the Romans.
    4. I have many dreams and passions that I feel God may be calling me to, but I don’t see how I’ll ever get to a point where those things could become real.
    4. I believe that Jesus does provide what I need – the problem is not getting bogged down in the good things that aren’t the things He’s called me to!

  6. Sarah Deurbrouck says:

    It is funny how only when Jesus does amazing miracles like this do they want to make him king. It doesn’t seem like any other times are the people of Israel just loving Jesus, wanting to exalt him as Messiah. And it is interesting that Jesus withdraws. He knows his time has not yet come. This miracle does indeed say something about the character of God. It most definitely speaks to the authority of Jesus, and his ability alone to provide. It also speaks to how bountifully our Savior truly does bless us. I have been such a recipient of that goodness lately. Being married 3 months, I have experienced joy as I never have before. God is always good, and it is easy to remember that in the good times, as the people of Israel do here. Yet, it is difficult to remember that God really is good in the tough times, something the people (even the disciples) struggle with.

  7. Lacy says:

    1. He is told to follow directions in feeding an enormous crowd with five loaves and two fish, in order to see that Jesus always provides.
    2. Jesus demonstrates that he is sufficient to satisfy every need.
    3. They were impressed with his miracle-working abilities.
    4. God has provided more than enough for me in every way. If I have needs, they are for more faith and a deeper relationship with God, and I know that he is constantly working to grow me in those areas.
    5. I have been blessed with so much more than I need.

  8. Nick says:

    He is asked to feed the 5,000 people that are following Jesus. Jesus reveals that he is powerful over everything and that he will provide us with much more than we need. The people were amazed by his works and wanted to see more of his signs. There’s nothing in my life that I truly need because Jesus continues to bless me and provide me with more than I need to complete the work that he has set forth for me.

  9. Stephanie Luck says:

    1. Philip was asked to find a way to provide food for over 5,000 people. Jesus was testing him to see if Philip would see Jesus as his provider.
    2. We see that Jesus is an all-powerful creator who is teaching His followers to trust in Him.
    3. They saw that Jesus could get them what they wanted! That seems to be our motivation at times too…
    4. Physically, there are always things I might want, but I am very well provided for in reality–thank the Lord! Spiritually and emotionally, I need more of Jesus!
    5. Certainly, though so often I use it for selfish gain.

  10. Jesus asks Philip how he would go about feeding the crowds that were following him. Jesus was testing Philip’s faith and perspective. Would trust in the Lord’s divine provision or turn to what he and the other disciples could provide? Jesus then supersedes their expectations and performs a miracle to feed the 5000+ members of the crowd.

  11. Dominic Shortridge says:

    1. Jesus asks Philip to have all the people who are there to sit down. This could be so that they are able to see how many people there were there that day, and to also distribute the food to them.
    2. Jesus reveals that he is the source of provision for his people.
    5. God has definitely provided more than enough than I need to accomplish what he has called me to do. This I can truly say by recognizing the family that I grew up with, and where I am going to school right now. There is more than enough for me, and I am also among the people who are passing in the surplus of goods.

  12. Belle says:

    What is Philip asked to do and why? He is asked where they could buy bread so that the large crowd could eat. Jesus asked him to test him for his answer.
    What does Jesus reveal about himself? He reveals that He does provide needs and so much more, than we can think or imagine.
    Why would people want to make him king? Because of the things that He has given them. Maybe they wanted him to be king so they could get free food?
    What needs do you have? What do you lack? I have certain desires and dreams. But looking over my life right now I do have everything that I need. In reality, I lack nothing, because if Christ is all I have, then what I need is met. I forget that truth sometimes by thinking of what I do not have.
    Does Jesus really provide more than you need in order to accomplish what he has called you to do? I know that He does, but honestly, sometimes, I don’t believe it. I need to remember that and fully believe that.

  13. nataliaria says:

    As it becomes apparent that the people who have gathered to listen to Jesus have no intention of leaving, Jesus asks Philip where food might be purchased in order to feed the people.

    In this passage, several of Jesus’ characteristics are revealed. We see His compassion, in that He knew the people would be hungry, and aspired to feed them. We see His sovereignty in that He had a plan, and His creativity in the plan itself. And we see His omnipotence and power over creation in the miracle that He does in multiplying the food.

    I believe that it is this last revelation, that of the miraculous feeding, that spurs the people to want to crown Jesus king. They are seeking for a powerful, articulate leader who is attentive to their needs, and Jesus seems to fit the bill nicely.

    I resonated quite deeply with Mr. Worrall’s observations about the September status of Moody students as exhausted and running on near empty. I have been caught off guard by the time-consuming nature of my classes and extra-curricular obligations, and I desire to be refreshed and energized. I would desperately like to know that the entire semester will not be moving along at this break-neck speed, but I have a feeling that it will. I suppose my true need is to rest in God’s strength and grace as sufficient for me, and rely upon His wisdom to guide me as I work my way through these last weeks of my on-campus Moody career.

    I very much agree that Jesus provides what we need in order to do what He desires for us to do. However, this is not always readily apparent. Sometimes it is necessary to continue pressing on in serving Him, even when it feels like there is nothing left to fall back on, in faith that He will and always does provide. Because provide He does, excessively and joyfully. And that is a wonderful promise to hold onto.

  14. Rachel says:

    Jesus works a miracle- multiplying the limited resources of the hungry and poor. He should be king! Just think how the world would be transformed with that power! As for my need… I have food, water, a home, education… I need healing, I need grace, I need to know that the Lord is present and will provide. I need a friend who sticks closer than my sister (my best friend). I lack hope. I lack truth. I need to know that I am wrong. Does he provide this? I suppose. Will he provide this? He must. Let my weakness prove his strength.

  15. Kathleen says:

    School can be both physically and emotionally draining. I understand what Mr. Worrall is saying about us having a choice either to shut down completely or come to Jesus. It can be difficult to not simply fall into a routine. Jesus always provides. It might not be in the ways we expect or ask for, but He always knows what is best for us. We learn so much when all we can do is throw ourselves at the feet of Jesus and ask for help.

  16. Bethany says:

    Philip is asked to trust Jesus because he is not doing a great job of that. Jesus shows that he cares for every individual and is in complete control. I don’t know about providing more than I need to accomplish his will, but I would say that he provides the exact perfect amount. At times it feels like he provides me with more than I need or less than I need, but then I have to remember that he is sovereign and will take care of me in the perfect way even when it doesn’t feel like it.

  17. Beth Coale says:

    Late because of senior retreat:
    1. Philip was asked to answer some testing questions. Jesus asked Philip about getting bread; Philip probably thought he was being smart and realistic, probably not even expecting that Jesus was about to perform a miracle. (If he had known Jesus was going to do a miracle, maybe his response would have been different, but he didn’t even know.)
    2. That He can be trusted, provide, and perform miracles. That Him doing amazing things should be expected.
    3. …because they think He is the promised Messiah. He provided for their physical needs, it was not unreasonable for some of them to hope that maybe he could lead them to freedom from the Romans.
    4. I need to be more hopeful, positive, and cheerful. I am guilty of what Philip did – not expecting good things.
    5. Yes, but sometimes it doesn’t feel that way.

  18. Amy says:

    1. He is asked to feed the people because they have been outside following and listening to Jesus all day without food.
    2. That Jesus has the power to do miracles!
    3. They think that Jesus is the Messiah who will free them from the Roman Guard.
    4. I do not lack many needs. God has provided everything for me and my husband.
    5. Definitely! God has given us a home, jobs with food benefits, protection, a wonderful school, friends, believing families, and he is providing over and beyond what we need. What a great God he is!

  19. Ashley says:

    I read Matthew 6 multiple times today to remind myself that God gives us exactly what we need, and we are not to be anxious about anything. I also read Matthew 7, where we are told to seek and knock. We are told that our heavenly father loves to give us good gifts. This is sometimes hard for me to believe fully. I have a huge imagination and lofty dreams. I am sometimes afraid to dream about the future, for fear that I will be disappointed. It is encouraging to know that God gives us all that we need, and often provides us with a whole lot more for his glory.

  20. Rebekah Thompson (Bekah) says:

    1. He is asked to trust in the Lord and that he will have an answer to solve the problem
    2. That he will provide, always has, always will
    3.Because they just saw a great and wondrous sign he did, as well as heard many things of him and so far he has proven them to be true.
    4.Things come unexpectedly, mostly illness in my family, my Dad suddenly not being able to walk or stand or sit, and my sister being diagnosed with lupus. People leaving life…my life changing dramatically and throughout all of it I have learned that Jesus is constant, and only he can satisfy me. He has never failed me and never shown me that I could not trust in him with all my needs.
    5. Yes, more so than i could have ever imagined, more then I could have ever deserved. He is a Holy, righteous, protecting, and loving God.

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