We're continuing our explorer theme this week, following along with the miracles of Jesus.
This story is a favourite in Children’s Bibles, and it’s easy to see why – it’s simple to follow along but it’s also a big and dramatic miracle. But I remember as a child being a bit confused about why it was in the Bible. Jesus, the Son of God, is using his infinite power to… make everyone lunch? It seemed a bit random! But Jesus’s miracles are about his kingdom, and the type of king he’s going to be. Normal human kingdoms are full of disease, and poverty, and death, and hunger – even in our own United Kingdom. But in his miracles, Jesus showed that the Kingdom of God is a place of partying and celebrating with the finest wine, where disease is cured, the poor are freed, the dead are raised; and where hungry people are fed, with even a little child being part of making it happen.
If your child takes away from this story that Jesus fed 5000 people with 2 fishes and five loaves, and that it was a miracle, that’s amazing. The joy of Scripture is that it works on all kinds of different levels at the same time. But this can also be a chance to explore with your child who Jesus is and what is going on in his kingdom; where can you see it at work in our world, today; and how can you get involved for yourselves?
If you want you can start this week going on another 'mission' around your house to collect the things you need for today's Treehouse.
Try and find: A Bible, an iPad, phone or tablet to allow you to watch the story, a notepad, Pens / Pencils, Paper / Card / Glue / Scissors
Once your bag is packed, do a lap of your house and/or garden and end up ready to learn together.
There’s loads of great adaptations and versions of this story. It’s found in every gospel, but for this I’m using John 6:1-14. There’s also a fun video retelling of the story here. Or you can find the story in the Beginner’s Bible or, for older children, the Jesus Storybook Bible.
Choose from the resources page; here’s a suggestion of a song from the Treehouse Youtube playlist:
My God is so big
- Try folding a sheet of paper in half. Keep folding it in half and see how many folds you can get. Now try cutting the sheet of paper in half. Keep cutting it in half, sharing the pieces out with your children. Talk about how you’re sharing the paper out, but ending up with lots more pieces; what happened when Jesus shared the food with (over) 5000 people?
- Create a basket using scrap card and paper from around the house – or use a template like this. Cut out and colour in some bread and fish and fill the basket with them.
- Some of you guys are amazing bakers! Why not try baking bread with your child while you talk about the story.
- This is a good opportunity to discuss that there are still people who are hungry in our day – including in our area. Talk about ways your child might to help. Maybe they want to plan a shop for Food Bank with you – or maybe they want to start saving up to donate to a charity like Tearfund, that work with people facing poverty around the world. Perhaps this could be a long term project to do together as a family?
Questions to ask while you create/chat
When have you been really hungry? What’s your favourite food?
How much food was there in our story – who brought it?
What did Jesus do?
Why didn’t Jesus just send people home to get something to eat?
Why did Jesus use the little boy’s food for the miracle?
If part of what Jesus does is feeding people who are hungry, what does that mean for us?
Not long after this miracle, Jesus told people he was the Bread of Life. What do you think he meant?
Why not share what you've been up to on the Treehouse Parents Facebook Group?
Make some space and time to pray with your child about what they’ve learned today and what they’re grateful for. Or maybe they just want to chat to God about their day – he loves to hear from them.