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More Than 5,000 People Fed

After this, Jesus went across Lake Galilee (or, Lake Tiberias). Many people followed him because they saw the miracles he did to heal the sick. Jesus went up on a hill and there sat down with his followers. It was almost the time for the Jewish Passover Feast.

Jesus looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him. He said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread for all these people to eat?” (Jesus asked Philip this question to test him. Jesus already knew what he planned to do.)

Philip answered, “Someone would have to work almost a year to buy enough bread for each person here to have only a little piece.”

Another follower there was Andrew. He was Simon Peter’s brother. Andrew said, “Here is a boy with five loaves of barley bread and two little fish. But that is not enough for so many people.”

10 Jesus said, “Tell the people to sit down.” This was a very grassy place. There were about 5,000 men who sat down there. 11 Then Jesus took the loaves of bread. He thanked God for the bread and gave it to the people who were sitting there. He did the same with the fish. He gave them as much as they wanted.

12 They all had enough to eat. When they had finished, Jesus said to his followers, “Gather the pieces of fish and bread that were not eaten. Don’t waste anything.” 13 So they gathered up the pieces that were left. They filled 12 large baskets with the pieces that were left of the five barley loaves.

14 The people saw this miracle that Jesus did. They said, “He must truly be the Prophet[a] who is coming into the world.”

15 Jesus knew that the people planned to come and take him by force and make him their king. So he left and went into the hills alone.

Jesus Walks on the Water

16 That evening Jesus’ followers went down to Lake Galilee. 17 It was dark now and Jesus had not yet come to them. The followers got into a boat and started across the lake to Capernaum. 18 By now a strong wind was blowing, and the waves on the lake were getting bigger. 19 They rowed the boat about three or four miles. Then they saw Jesus walking on the water, coming toward the boat. The followers were afraid. 20 But Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid. It is I.” 21 Then they were glad to take him into the boat. At once the boat came to land at the place where they wanted to go.

The People Seek Jesus

22 The next day came. Some people had stayed on the other side of the lake. They knew that Jesus had not gone in the boat with his followers but that they had left without him. And they knew that only one boat had been there. 23 But then some boats came from Tiberias. They landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 The people saw that Jesus and his followers were not there now. So they got into boats and went to Capernaum. They wanted to find Jesus.

Jesus, the Bread of Life

25 The people found Jesus on the other side of the lake. They asked him, “Teacher, when did you come here?”

26 Jesus answered, “Are you looking for me because you saw me do miracles? No! I tell you the truth. You are looking for me because you ate the bread and were satisfied. 27 Earthly food spoils and ruins. So don’t work to get that kind of food. But work to get the food that stays good always and gives you eternal life. The Son of Man will give you that food. God the Father has shown that he is with the Son of Man.”

28 The people asked Jesus, “What are the things God wants us to do?”

29 Jesus answered, “The work God wants you to do is this: to believe in the One that God sent.”

30 So the people asked, “What miracle will you do? If we can see a miracle, then we will believe you. What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the desert. This is written in the Scriptures: ‘God gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”[b]

32 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth. Moses was not the one who gave you bread from heaven. But my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 God’s bread is the One who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 The people said, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

35 Then Jesus said, “I am the bread that gives life. He who comes to me will never be hungry. He who believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you before, you have seen me, and still you don’t believe. 37 The Father gives me the people who are mine. Every one of them will come to me, and I will always accept them. 38 I came down from heaven to do what God wants me to do. I did not come to do what I want to do. 39 I must not lose even one of those that God has given me, but I must raise them up on the last day. This is what the One who sent me wants me to do. 40 Everyone who sees the Son and believes in him has eternal life. I will raise him up on the last day. This is what my Father wants.”

41 The Jews began to complain about Jesus. They complained because he said, “I am the bread that comes down from heaven.” 42 The Jews said, “This is Jesus. We know his father and mother. He is only Joseph’s son. How can he say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

43 But Jesus answered, “Stop complaining to each other. 44 The Father is the One who sent me. No one can come to me unless the Father draws him to me. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘God will teach all the people.’[c] Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the One who is from God. Only he has seen the Father. 47 I tell you the truth. He who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread that gives life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert. But still they died. 50 Here is the bread that comes down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread, he will never die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh. I will give my flesh so that the people in the world may have life.”

52 Then the Jews began to argue among themselves. They said, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

53 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth. You must eat the flesh of the Son of Man. And you must drink his blood. If you don’t do this, then you won’t have real life in you. 54 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life. I will raise him up on the last day. 55 My flesh is true food. My blood is true drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me, and I live in him. 57 The Father sent me. The Father lives, and I live because of the Father. So he who eats me will live because of me. 58 I am not like the bread our ancestors ate. They ate that bread, but still they died. I am the bread that came down from heaven. He who eats this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus said all these things while he was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

The Words of Eternal Life

60 The followers of Jesus heard this. Many of them said, “This teaching is hard. Who can accept it?”

61 Jesus knew that his followers were complaining about this. So he said, “Does this teaching bother you? 62 Then will it also bother you to see the Son of Man going back to the place where he came from? 63 It is not the flesh that gives a person life. It is the spirit that gives life. The words I told you are spirit, and so they give life. 64 But some of you don’t believe.” (Jesus knew who did not believe. He knew this from the beginning. And he knew who would turn against him.) 65 Jesus said, “That is the reason I said, ‘If the Father does not let a person come to me, then he cannot come.’”

66 After Jesus said this, many of his followers left him. They stopped following him.

67 Jesus asked the 12 followers, “Do you want to leave, too?”

68 Simon Peter answered Jesus, “Lord, who would we go to? You have the words that give eternal life. 69 We believe in you. We know that you are the Holy One from God.”

70 Then Jesus answered, “I chose all 12 of you. But 1 of you is a devil.”

71 Jesus was talking about Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Judas was 1 of the 12. But later he was going to turn against Jesus.


  1. 6:14 Prophet They probably meant the prophet that God told Moses he would send (Deuteronomy 18:15–19).
  2. 6:31 ‘God gave . . . eat.’ Quotation from Psalm 78:24.
  3. 6:45 ‘God . . . people.’ Quotation from Isaiah 54:13.

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