Jesus Feeds Thousands – Twice

The Book of Matthew and the Book of Mark both record that Jesus fed the masses on two separate occasions, once four thousand and once five thousand (plus the women and children). The Book of Luke and the Book of John only record the event of feeding five thousand people. I shall only include the accounts of Matthew here, the others accounts shed a slight bit more detail but not much. If you read no further than here, then note that Jesus Christ who is God can command the elements. He can create food at will. Literally, there is nothing that is righteous that he cannot do. Remember that as you consider the needs of yourself, your family, and your friends. Pray for miracles.

Preceding verses Matthew 14 : 1-12 record the death of John the Baptist whom Jesus felt a close bond to. Jesus was likely mourning the death of his friend who was also his cousin.

The Feeding of the 5,000 – from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Matthew 14 : 13-21

13. When Jesus heard of it, [the death of John the Baptist] he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.

14. And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick,

15. And when it was evening, his disciples came to him saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.

16. But Jesus said unto them, they need not depart; give ye them to eat.

17. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.

18. He said, Bring them hither to me.

19. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.

20. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.

21. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.

Matthew 15 : 29-38

29. And Jesus departed from thence, [the coasts of Tyre and Sidon] and came night unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there.

30. And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them:

31. Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.

32. Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.

33. And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?

34. And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes.

35. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.

36. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.

37. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.

38. And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children.

Jesus the Christ 

Written by James Talmage

Chapter 21


So intent were the people on hearing the Lord’s words, and so concerned in the miraculous relief resulting from His healing ministrations, that they remained in the wilderness, oblivious to the passing of the hours, until the evening approached. It was the springtime, near the recurrence of the annual Passover festival, the season of grass and flowers.[713] Jesus, realizing that the people were hungry, asked Philip, one of the Twelve, “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” The purpose of the question was to test the apostle’s faith; for the Lord had already determined as to what was to be done. Philip’s reply showed surprise at the question, and conveyed his thought that the suggested undertaking was impossible. “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little,” said he. Andrew added that there was a lad present who had five barley loaves, and two small fishes, “But,” said he, “what are they among so many?”

Such is John’s account; the other writers state that the apostles reminded Jesus of the lateness of the hour, and urged that He send the people away to seek for themselves food and lodging in the nearest towns. It appears most probable that the conversation between Jesus and Philip occurred earlier in the afternoon; [714] and that as the hours sped, the Twelve became concerned and advised that the multitude be dismissed. The Master’s reply to the apostles was: “They need not depart; give ye them to eat.” In amazed wonder they replied: “We have here but five loaves and two fishes;” and Andrew’s despairing comment is implied again—What are they among so many?

Jesus gave command, and the people seated themselves on the grass in orderly array; they were grouped in fifties and hundreds; and it was found that the multitude numbered about five thousand men, beside women and children. Taking the loaves and the fishes, Jesus looked toward heaven and pronounced a blessing upon the food; then, dividing the provisions, He gave to the apostles severally, and they in turn distributed to the multitude. The substance of both fish and bread increased under the Master’s touch; and the multitude feasted there in the desert, until all were satisfied. To the disciples Jesus said: “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost;” and twelve baskets were filled with the surplus.

As to the miracle itself, human knowledge is powerless to explain. Though wrought on so great a scale, it is no more nor less inexplicable than any other of the Lord’s miraculous works. It was a manifestation of creative power, by which material elements were organized and compounded to serve a present and pressing need. The broken but unused portion exceeded in bulk and weight the whole of the original little store. Our Lord’s direction to gather up the fragments was an impressive object-lesson against waste; and it may have been to afford such lesson that an excess was supplied. The fare was simple, yet nourishing, wholesome and satisfying. Barley bread and fish constituted the usual food of the poorer classes of the region. The conversion of water into wine at Cana was a qualitative transmutation; the feeding of the multitude involved a quantitative increase; who can say that one, or which, of these miracles of provision was the more wonderful?

The multitude, now fed and filled, gave some consideration to the miracle. In Jesus, by whom so great a work had been wrought, they recognized One having superhuman powers. “This is of a truth the prophet that should come into the world,” said they—the Prophet whose coming had been foretold by Moses and who should be like unto himself. Even as Israel had been miraculously fed during the time of Moses, so now was bread provided in the desert by this new Prophet. In their enthusiasm the people proposed to proclaim Him king, and forcibly compel Him to become their leader. Such was their gross conception of Messianic supremacy. Jesus directed His disciples to depart by boat, while He remained to dismiss the now excited multitude. The disciples hesitated to leave their Master; but He constrained them and they obeyed. His insistence, that the Twelve depart from both Himself and the multitude, may have been due to a desire to protect the chosen disciples against possible infection by the materialistic and unrighteous designs of the throng to make Him king. By means that are not detailed, He caused the people to disperse; and, as night came on, He found that for which He had come in quest, solitude and quiet. Ascending the hill, He chose a secluded place, and there remained in prayer during the greater part of the night.


For three days the glad crowds remained with Jesus and the apostles. Camping out at that season and in that region entailed no great hardship incident to exposure. Their supply of food, however, had become exhausted; and many of them were far from home. Jesus had compassion upon the people, and was loath to send them away fasting, lest they would faint by the way. When He spoke to the disciples on the matter they intimated the impossibility of feeding so great a number, for the entire stock of food at hand comprised but seven loaves and a few little fishes. Had they forgotten the former occasion on which a greater multitude had been fed and filled with but five loaves and two small fishes? Rather let us believe that the disciples remembered well, yet deemed it beyond their duty or privilege to suggest a repetition of the miracle. But the Master commanded; and the people seated themselves on the ground. Blessing and dividing the small provision as before, He gave to the disciples and they distributed to the multitude. Four thousand men, beside women and children, were abundantly fed; and of the broken but uneaten food there remained enough to fill seven baskets. With no semblance of the turbulent enthusiasm that had followed the feeding of the five thousand, this multitude dispersed quietly and returned to their homes, grateful and doubly blessed.

[712] John 6:5-14; compare Matt. 14:15-21; Mark 6:35-44; Luke 9:12-17.

[713] John 6:4; Matt. 14:19; Mark 6:39.

[714] The Earlier and the Later Evening.—Matthew specifies two evenings of the day on which the five thousand were fed; thus “when it was evening” the disciples asked Jesus to send away the multitude; and later, after the miraculous feeding and after the disciples had left by boat, and after the crowds had departed, “when the evening was come” Jesus was alone on the mountain (Matt. 14:15, 23; compare Mark 6:35, 47). Trench Notes on the Miracles, (p. 217) says: “St. Matthew and St. Mark with him, makes two evenings to this day—one which had already commenced before the preparations for the feeding of the multitude had begun (verse 15), the other now, when the disciples had entered into the ship and set forth on their voyage (verse 23). And this was an ordinary way of speaking among the Jews, the first evening being very much our afternoon … the second evening being the twilight, or from six o’clock to twilight, on which absolute darkness followed.” See Smith’s Dict., article “Chronology,” from which the following excerpt is taken: “‘Between the two evenings’ (margin of Exo. 12:6; Numb. 9:3; 28:4) is a natural division between the late afternoon when the sun is low, and the evening when his light has not wholly disappeared, the two evenings into which the natural evening would be cut by the commencement of the civil day if it began at sunset.”