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Sunday School Lesson: Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

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Use this free Sunday school lesson with kids from Living Inside Out to teach kids that they can trust God to provide. Find more great Sunday school lessons to help kids grow in their faith.

 

Scripture: John 6:1-14

The Point: We trust God to provide.

Key Verse: “You are the God of great wonders!” —Psalm 77:14

Bible Foundation

THE PROBLEM

Word of Jesus’ miracles and life-changing teaching was spreading—he was becoming something of a celebrity. One day, on a hillside near the Sea of Galilee, a massive crowd of over 5,000 people gathered to hear him. In the midst of the crushing mass, a bad situation became obvious to Jesus’ disciples: These people would soon be hungry and clearly there was no possible way to feed them all.

MORE THAN ENOUGH

Andrew found a young boy in the crowd who had food—but just five loaves and two fish. Miraculously, Jesus multiplied the small meal into a feast for thousands, with baskets of leftover food. Jesus knew what the people needed and, from the start, he “knew what he was going to do.” Through this amazing miracle, he demonstrated that he could—and would—provide. And even more, Jesus showed that when he gets his hands on our stuff, blessings explode in abundance.

COULDA, WOULDA, SHOULDA

Jesus could have spoken a simple word, and food would have appeared. He could have simply thought about it, and the hunger of all the people would’ve been instantly satisfied. Maybe some people think he should’ve done it that way—it certainly would’ve been faster. But Jesus didn’t. Instead, he let the people experience hunger. He helped his disciples recognize their utter inability to solve the problem themselves, and he used a young boy’s small offering as part of his miracle.

A DEEPER AGENDA

The day after he miraculously fed the 5,000, the same crowd gathered again. Jesus illuminated the events of the previous day with an even deeper spiritual meaning: “I am the bread of life,” he said, “Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again” (John 6:35). In the Old Testament, God communicates the same idea, explaining that he purposely allowed his people to hunger and then gave them manna to help them realize that they need him to really live and be satisfied (Deuteronomy 8:3).

LIVING INSIDE OUT

God often works in this way so we realize that only he can provide for our deepest needs and hungers. He wants us to know that he will provide even when it may not seem possible to us, and that he may also want to involve us (our time, our abilities, and so on) in the process of his provision. Are you aware, in this moment, how much you rely on God? That he is the ultimate provider of your food, your water, your shelter, even the air you breathe as you read these words? Take time to give God credit for his provision. Take stock of divine provisions in your life you may have taken for granted. Praise God for the needs he meets and the lessons he seeks to teach you through your dependence upon him.

THE LESSON

Leader Tip- Prepare Ahead

On a large sheet of butcher paper, draw a large target with a bull’s-eye and three large rings surrounding it. In the bull’s-eye, write “YOU.” On the next ring, write “FAMILY.” On the next, write “FRIENDS.” On the outer ring, write “SCHOOL.” Attach the target to a wall or other hard surface

1. Welcome

Say: Jesus performed amazing miracles for many people. He prayed for people to hear and see again, helped people walk, and even raised people from the dead! Watch one amazing miracle where he fed over 5,000 people—with just a little boy’s lunch.

Have kids discuss in small groups:

  • Talk about a time you were really hungry.
  • Tell about a need that God’s met for you.
  • What are some needs you can trust God for this week?

Say: The 5,000 people who were hungry that day didn’t know where their food was going to come from. The disciples even asked, “How are we going to feed these people?” Jesus answered all of them with one boy’s lunch. This miracle shows us that God can give us exactly what we need—and he can do it from places we don’t even expect. That’s why we trust God to provide.

2. Object Lesson

YOU’LL NEED • paper • 1 pair of scissors for each small group

 

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Say: Jesus did some amazing things when he was here on earth. One of the amazing things he did was to take a small boy’s lunch, just some bread and fish, and use it to feed over 5,000 people. Give each small group a pair of scissors and each child a piece of paper. Have the children hold up their papers.

Say: How many corners does your piece of paper have? Allow time for the younger kids to count their corners and answer.

Say: Your paper has four corners. But what if I want to give someone a corner? Cut off a corner of the paper, and hand it to a child. Hold up the paper, and say: Okay, now that I’ve given a corner away, how many corners do I have? Allow kids to answer, and then say: Wait a minute. I have five. Count the corners to show the kids there are now five corners on your paper. Then have each child cut a corner from his or her paper.

Say: You see, the more times Jesus divided the bread and fish, the more he had to give away. Have the children count the corners on the cut-off piece they each have. Not only that, the people had more than enough. Encourage the kids to each cut off more corners, each time counting the multiplying corners.

Have kids discuss in small groups:

  • What surprised you about our activity?
  • What amazed and surprised you about what Jesus did?
  • What is something you give that God could use to help others?

Say: Jesus took a boy’s lunch, just a few loaves of bread and fish, and blessed 5,000 people with it. He can do the same thing with us! He can take what we have and bless others with it. We trust God to provide, and Jesus just might use what we already have to do it.

3. Bull’s-Eye!

YOU’LL NEED a small ball • butcher paper • marker

Say: God provides for us. That means he takes care of us by giving us what we need. Choose one child to stand about 10 feet from the target and throw the ball at it.

Announce which ring the ballhits. Have everyone find a partner and share a way that God has provided for him or her in that area. For example, if the ball hits “FRIENDS” on the target, kids can talk about how God provided them with awesome friends who like the same things they do, who are fun to play with, and so on.3. SWITCH

Choose another child to throw the ball. Have kids switch partners. Repeat several times, until each area is hit.

Have kids discuss in small groups:

  • In what area do you most notice God providing for you?
  • Why does knowing God provides for you in that area help you trust him in other areas?
  • What could you tell someone who didn’t think God could meet his or her needs?

Say: It doesn’t matter where we are, who we’re with, or what we’re doing. God always knows what we need—he hits the bull’s-eye every time. We trust God to provide for us.

4. Creative Drawing

YOU’LL NEED paper • pencils

Give each child a piece of paper and a pencil. Say: Draw something ordinary on your paper that you use every day—such as a spoon, a pencil, or a toothbrush. Encourage kids to draw something different from what others are drawing. Allow about a minute, and then have kids trade papers with people around them.

Say: You have a drawing of something ordinary. Now think of two or more ways you can use that item in a way that’s different from what it’s normally used for. For example, a spoon could help build a sand castle. A toothbrush can scratch your back. Allow about two to three minutes, encouraging kids to think creatively. There are no wrong answers.

Once everyone has finished, have kids trade their papers back and share their ideas with each other.

Have kids discuss in small groups:

  • What are some reasons Jesus might work with ordinary people and things when he does miracles?
  • What’s one ordinary thing about you that God could use in big ways?

Say: God used an ordinary boy and his ordinary lunch to feed 5,000 people. God can use you and your ordinary things to do something amazing, too! We trust God to provide, and sometimes he might even provide for others in marvelous ways through us.

 

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