Jesus Feeds 5000+
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Enact the story of Jesus feeding over 5000 people. [Note: 1st – 3rd graders visited this workshop.]
For scripture, objectives, and Background - see above.
- Read the scripture for this lesson.
- Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
- Gather the materials.
- For 3rd grade: Bibles; One purple Adventure Bible with tabs (Law, History, etc.); Bible tab writing kit: tabs, fine-line Sharpie pen; Copies of scripts (see end of lesson)
- For 1st and 2nd grade: Bible story book The Young Reader’s Bible
- Props: baskets that fit inside one another, pieces of cloth to cover the baskets
- The Humongous Book of Bible Skits (with CD of background noise)
- CD Player
Before Start of Class:
- Lay out costumes in one area of the room. [To avoid everyone digging through the box]
- Cue track 30 of the CD from the book The Humongous Book of Bible Skits. Set CD player to REPEAT. Turn sound down. [The player resets itself to track 1 if you turn it off.]
- For when 3rd graders visit: In the Bible with tabs, bookmark John 6:1 and Luke 9.
Opening - Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the Drama Workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.
[Note: The Shepherd will be taking care of attendance/name tags while you are starting your lesson.]
Say: We are learning (continuing to learn) about the miracle of Jesus feeding a large crowd of people – it’s a story with lots of potential for drama. There’s a huge crowd of people, there’s the tension of everyone being hungry and only a small amount of fish and bread are available; we’ll get to act out what happens.
Dig - Main Content and Reflection:
Hold a Bible and review its organization:
For the 1st grade:
Say: The Bible is divided into two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament.
For 2nd and 3rd grade:
Ask: The Bible is divided into two sections, what are they? (the OT and the NT)
For all students:
Say: The Old Testament was the Bible that Jesus learned as a child. The New Testament tells us the story of Jesus’ life.
- So in which part of the Bible would we find a story about Jesus? (NT)
Say: Besides being divided into two testaments, the Bible is further divided into books.
- Can anyone tell me how many books there are in the Bible?
Say: There are 66 books in the Bible.
- What are the first four books of the New Testament? (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John)
- What do we call those first four books? (the Gospels)
Say: The word Gospel means “good news.” These first four books of the New Testament tell the story of the good news about Jesus’ birth, his life, and about the start of the church after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
For 3rd grade:
Say: If you have your own Bible today, be sure you receive a tab for the Gospel section of your Bible. [Show the classroom Bible with tabs. Have the Shepherd do Gospel tabs for students who bring their Bibles. Use the classroom Bible with tabs as an example.]
For all students:
Say: Our Bible story today is one of the many miracles that Jesus did.
- What is a miracle? (accept a few answers)
Say: A miracle is an amazing event that can teach us something about God.
Say: The story about the miracle we are studying today can be found in all four of the Gospels – each gospel telling the story a little differently.
- Why do you suppose that the four Gospels might tell the story with slightly different details? (accept all answers: written by different authors, at different times)
Say: When we are done reading our Bible story we are going to say what is said in church after the scripture is read. Be ready to say “thanks be to God!” when the scripture is finished.
For 1st and 2nd grade:
Say: Our Bible story today is found in the book of John. John is the fourth Gospel; remember the gospels are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Read pages 298 - 302 in The Young Reader’s Bible. Show pictures as you read.
On the third week of this lesson instead of reading the story, ask the students to tell you the story.
For 3rd grade:
Distribute Bibles. Have everyone find John 6:1-13.
Make sure that everyone finds the verses. Enlist the Shepherd to help individuals. Remind them of the quick way to find the New Testament.
Ask the students if they can tell you the story. Have them check their Bibles for accuracy.
For all students:
Say: For the Word of God in scripture, for the Word of God among us, for the Word of God within us,
The class says: Thanks be to God!
- Why do you suppose Jesus did this miracle? (accept a few answers)
For 3rd graders:
- You just received your Bibles in church. Have you discovered the features that are in this Bible?
Say: Look at the “Did You Know” note that is on the page where this story is told in the Gospel of Luke. Look up Luke 9.
Have someone read the note about “Why did Jesus feed 5000 people?”
For all students:
Say: Jesus wanted people to believe in God. He didn’t do miracles just to wow the crowds or just so that people would follow him to see what he’d do next. Jesus used his miracles to teach about God – that God was powerful, and cared about people.
Say: We said earlier that a miracle is an amazing event that can teach us something about God. Let’s act out our story and as we do, be thinking about what this miracle teaches you.
Enact the story:
Say: If there is time, we can do the show more than once; some can be the audience while others are acting out the story; then we’ll switch. [Allow time for discussion & closing.]
Turn up the sound on the CD player.
For 1st and 2nd grade:
Don’t pass out scripts. The workshop leader serves as the narrator and the reader of all of the parts. As you read, pause where appropriate, to allow the students to “act” and adlib any dialogue. You may have to prompt the students to ad lib. It time allows, repeat with different actors playing different parts.
For 3rd grade:
Pass out copies of the script. Run through it. If time allows, repeat with different actors playing different parts.
- What does this miracle teach you? (allow a few answers)
- Was there anything leftover after everyone had eaten all they wanted? (yes, 12 baskets full)
Say: A young boy shared his lunch and look what happened! Jesus wants us to share what we have with others. When we share what little we have, we will be amazed at what can happen. God can turn it into something bigger.
- What do you have to offer to share with Jesus?
[Note: Lead the children to understand that Jesus doesn’t always ask us for material things. He also asks for our faith, our love, our kindness, our forgiveness of one another…]
Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending. A suggestion: “Dear God, Thank you for teaching us about miracles. Thank you for miracles that still happen today – the miracle of new birth, the miracle of people’s change in their attitude about your love. Thank you for the miracle of your son Jesus who came to earth and taught us to pray... (End with everyone joining in on the Lord’s Prayer.) Amen.”
Extra Activities (If you have extra time):
Talk about our responsibility today for feeding the hungry.
Ask: In what ways can we take seriously our discipleship and the fact that we are Jesus’ hands on earth today?
Drama: The Feeding of the 5000+ Script
- Disciples (at least 2) – one is Philip, one is Andrew
- The crowd – which can include people who need healing: someone who is crippled or blind
Props: a large basket covered with a piece of cloth, inside of this basket is hidden smaller baskets also covered with cloths, a big box to use as a boat (optional).
The Skit: Start off in the tent. Jesus is standing and the crowd is sitting around him. The two disciples are standing off to the side.
NARRATOR: Jesus and his disciples had been teaching and healing in a large crowd of people. Finally Jesus signaled for his disciples.
Jesus waved to his disciples to come. The disciples walk over to Jesus.
JESUS: Let’s go to a quiet place on the other side of the lake.
DISCIPLES: Ok Jesus. (signal to the crowd) Everyone, go home now.
Jesus and his disciples climb into the boat.
NARRATOR: Jesus and his disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee.
The disciples make rowing motions and slowly move out of the tent towards the wall with the lake.
NARRATOR: Meanwhile, the crowd figured out where Jesus was going.
THE CROWD: He’s going across the lake. Let’s follow him.
The crowd runs (or hops if their lame) in slow motion, going around the other side of the room, near the windows and approaching the lake wall.
DISCIPLES: More people!
Jesus and the disciples get out of the boat. Everyone stays standing.
NARRATOR: Jesus was not angry to see the crowd. In fact he continued to heal them.
SOMEONE FROM THE CROWD: Jesus, Jesus! Heal me!
JESUS: (puts his hand on the person) Bless you child, be healed!
Person healed acts joyful (for example, if they were lame, then they should dance around.)
NARRATOR: The people stayed for hours. It was getting to be dinnertime. Finally, Jesus asked Philip…
JESUS: Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?
PHILIP: Eight months of my pay would not buy enough bread for everyone to have a bite!
NARRATOR: The disciples went through the crowd looking for food.
Give the covered basket to one of the children in the crowd.
The disciples mingle among the crowd asking if anyone has food. Andrew finds one person who has the covered basket.
ANDREW: This person has five loaves and two fish. But that’s not enough for this big crowd.
NARRATOR: Jesus asked everyone to sit down in groups.
Everyone except Jesus sits down. Jesus takes the basket.
NARRATOR: Taking the five loaves and the two fish, Jesus looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves. Jesus gave the food to the crowd.
Jesus looks upward and blesses the food. Then he opens the basket and gives a smaller basket to each disciple, who then act is if they are distributing food. The crowds pretend to eat.
NARRATOR: Everyone had plenty to eat! And there were leftovers!
JESUS: Gather up the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.
The disciples gather up leftovers from the crowd.
PHILIP: Hey, Andrew, we started with just five loaves of bread and two fish. Did you notice how many baskets we had leftover!?!
ANDREW: Yes! There were twelve baskets leftover!
PHILIP: How many people are here?
ANDREW: Over 5000!
NARRATOR: When the people saw this miracle they exclaimed…
CROWD: Surely this is the Prophet who was to come into the world!
==The End ==
- Bruno, Bonnie and Carol Reinsma. The Young Reader’s Bible. Cincinnati, OH: Standard Publishing, 1998.
- Cartwright, Teryl et al. The Humongous Book of Bible Skits for Children’s Ministry. Loveland, CO: Group Publishing, 2006.
- Graham, Wendy J. “The Feeding of the 5000: Drama Workshop.” 2004. https://www.rotation.org/topic...-the-5000-lesson-set (for the skit)
- Nowak, Jacqueline. “Jesus’ Miracles – Art Workshop: The Feeding of the 5000.” 1998. (extra time idea/wording)
- Smith, Gail. “Jesus Feeds More Than 5,000 People: Art Workshop.” 2005.
Written by Carol Hulbert for First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI
Copyright 2008 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material
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