The multitudes of people were following Jesus everywhere he went. They wanted to hear his words and they wanted their sick family members and friends to be healed. Jesus got into a boat and sailed across the lake to a desert place near the town of Bethsaida.
But the crowd ran by foot around the lake and were waiting for him when he arrived on the other shore! All day he taught them and healed the sick who were brought to him. It was getting late in the day toward evening.
He knew the people were tired and hungry. His disciples came to him saying, "This is a desert place. Send the people away so they can find a place to spend the night and get something to eat."
Jesus said, "They don't need to leave. You give them something to eat."
He asked Philip, "Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?"
He was just testing Philip because Jesus knew how he was going to feed them.
Philip said, "Eight months' wages wouldn't be enough for everyone to have even a bite to eat!" There were 5000 men there besides the women and children! There were thousands of people!
Andrew said to Jesus, "There is a boy here who has some food with him, but it's only five barley loaves and two small fish. That's not nearly enough to feed all these people."
There was a lot of grass in the area and Jesus told his disciples to have the people sit down in groups of fifty. When everyone was seated on the grass Jesus took the loaves and gave thanks for them and started passing out the bread to his disciples and the bread started multiplying and making more and more bread! As they divided it among the people the amount continued to grow. He did the same with the two little fish. Those little fish became a feast for a great crowd of people.
They ate until they were all full. When they had finished, Jesus told his disciples to pick up the leftovers so nothing would be wasted. There were twelve baskets full of leftovers!
Jesus knew the people were thinking of taking him by force and making him their king so he quietly left and went into a mountain area by himself.