The Kitchen Miracle-Maker (Jesus Feeds the 5000)

In short...

Themes: Making a difference; every little helps; the life of Jesus.

Summary: The story of Jesus Feeds the 5000 is related in all four gospels (Matthew 14: 13 - 21; Mark 6: 30 - 44; Luke 9: 10 - 17; John 6: 1 - 15). It is also referred to as The Miracle of the Loaves and the Fishes. The gospels relate how Jesus withdrew to a remote place where he was followed by a crowd. It grew late and the crowd had eaten nothing and were hungry. The only food available - the loaves and fishes - belonged to a young boy. Jesus blessed the food and gave it to his disciples who shared it among the crowd. Everyone was fed and at the end there were still 12 baskets of left-over food.

Resources: The assembly framework to download / print (pdf). An image of the loaves and fishes from the story; an image depicting 1 person in 5000.

The video

The story of 'Jesus Feeds the 5000' is retold - with a twist. Mary and Mark are hosts of something reminiscent of a modern-day cookery programme. Jesus and his disciples take on the challenge to provide food for the 5000 people assembled, but with only two small fish and five loaves available it's clear that another miracle is called for.

Various attempts are made to create delicious dishes - delicate bite-sized sandwiches, Mediterranean grilled-fish salad, golden fishcakes - but when the time is up the results are far from miraculous. Then Jesus blesses the food and shares it among the crowd. There's plenty for everyone - and there's even some left over. It's a miracle!

Duration: 4' 28"

Final words: 'Keep at it!'

Video questions

  • What miracle is Jesus described as having done 'last time'? (He made wine out of water at a wedding)
  • How much food is available to feed the crowd? (Just five barley loaves and two small fish)
  • What three dishes do Andrew, Peter and Philip attempt to create? (Tangy fish paste sandwiches; Mediterranean grilled-fish salad; fishcakes coated in golden breadcrumbs)
  • What remains after the crowd has been fed? (12 baskets of left-overs)

Key links

Assembly framework (pdf)
Image: the loaves and the fishes
Image: One person in 5000

Suggested framework

1. Entry music
Play some music as the children enter the hall. Possible piece: Minuet and Trio in G major KV1 by Mozart - composed when he was just 5. YouTube link

2. Introduction
Today we're going to find out how a little can go a long way - from one the miracles that the Bible tells us Jesus performed during the three years he spent preaching and teaching. Jesus knew the importance of sharing and offering what little we have to help others. And in the story we're going to watch he used someone to help him that no one expected. A child - a small boy.

A really huge crowd had gathered to hear Jesus speak. Everyone in the crowd was hungry, because they'd been waiting for Jesus all day and no one had brought anything to eat. No-one except the very small boy, who had brought his packed tea that his mum had made for him - five small loves and two small fish.

And there were about 5000 people sitting waiting to be fed. Can you imagine what 5000 people looks like? (Reflect on how many are currently sitting in the hall compared to 5000. Show the image of one figure - in red - among 5000).

So now we're going to find out what Jesus did to feed 5000 people with just five small loaves and two small fish.

3. Video
Play the video. The duration is 4' 28" and the final words are: 'Keep at it!'

4. After the video
Who has seen any cookery competitions on TV? How do you think the disciples did? Do you think it was a fair contest? Why?

The real story from the Bible didn’t take place on a cookery show of course. Jesus didn’t need any gadgets or a competition to perform his miracle. He simply blessed the food and asked his disciples to hand it out to the crowd.

Now imagine you were one of his disciples. What would you expect to happen very quickly? (Gather responses.) Yes - for the food to run out. But it didn’t. Not only did every single one of the 5000 people eat their fill but there was food left over. Who can remember how much that was? (12 baskets.)

What do you think we can learn from the story? (Gather responses.) Jesus used the smallest of boys with the smallest amount of food to perform one of his biggest miracles. It shows us that even though we are small, we can have big dreams and achieve big things. It also shows that a little kindness can mean a lot to many people.

5. Opportunity for reflection
Jesus used the small amount of food from the boy to perform a miracle because he wanted to show people that something amazing can come out of something small.
Can you think of anytime in your life when you have felt too small or too weak to do something..?
There are big issues in the world at the moment - for example, how to protect our planet from ongoing pollution.
Can you think of any other big issues that you have heard about..?
Can you think of something you can do, no matter how small, that might make a difference..?
Can you think of any small things you can do at school or at home that might make a big difference to our friends, teachers or family..?

6. Opportunity to sing
If your assembly is to include a song now would be a good opportunity. Suggestions below.

7. Opportunity for prayer
Use your usual form of address ('Dear God', 'Lord', 'Close your eyes and reflect', etc) and:
Thank you that even though we are small, we can be used to do mighty things.
Help us think about the small changes we can make at school and at home.
Help us think of others and how we can make the world a better place.
Help us to have confidence in ourselves and trust that we can make a difference.

8. Exit. Play the music again and explain that it was written by Mozart when he was only five years old - and that he went on to become a very famous composer.

Suggested songs

'All together as a family' (All about our school, no 15)

Song: 'Together'. All about our school, no 13. Vocal version.

Other suitable songs

This little light of mine
Together - Songs for Every Assembly
Here I am, Lord - Essential Assembly Hymns

Other assembly frameworks in this set

Living Your Best Life (Jesus Heals a Man with Leprosy)
Samson - The Judge
You won't believe what happens at this Pentecost party!