In our preschool classes we are continuing to talk about the life of Jesus. We started in Advent and will continue all the way through Easter. So we have four whole months dedicated to teaching our little ones about the life of Jesus. Although that’s a lot of time, it’s still not nearly enough time to talk about everything, so we’ve tried to pick the lessons that our little ones can most relate to and therefore hopefully retain.
Last week we talked about how much Jesus loves children. Yes, Jesus loves everyone, but he specifically talks about God’s love for little children. He loves them and always has time for them.
In the weeks before that, we talked about Jesus’ miracles for a couple weeks – including Jesus’ first miracle turning water to wine at a wedding, and several of Jesus’ healing miracles. Today our children will see another miracle, but one that is perhaps more tangible to our kids than the others – the feeding of the 5,000.
Most of you are probably already familiar with the story of Jesus feeding five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish. But there might be a few things your kids will learn today that you haven’t stopped to think about. Notably, we always say feeding the 5,000 – but the Bible actually says 5,000 men, aside from women and children. There were a lot more than 5,000 people there.
By this point in his life, there was an enormous crowd of people following Jesus everywhere he went. People were eager to hear him teach, they also followed him to ask for healings and blessings. This particular day these people had been following Jesus around all day and at dinner time they were starving! The disciples wanted to send the people away so they would have time to get back to the villages and get food. But Jesus loved these people and he wanted to help them right then and there. So when the disciples found five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus decided to feed everyone. At the end of the picnic they even had a bunch left over. They ended up with more than what they started with.
Today’s story is another story about a miracle, yes, but it also tells us so much about Jesus. We see that Jesus feels compassion towards everyone who comes to him for help.
When you review today’s lesson with your kids, point out that this was a miracle but it is also an example of Jesus helping people in a tangible way. Sharing and empathy are feelings/actions that children can really relate to. Show your kids how Jesus is sharing the food and how he is feeling compassion for all the people in the group. Ask them questions about sharing and caring about other people. How can they share and care for other people?
You can also point out to your kids how this story shows us that Jesus is the son of God, which means, for example, that he can do miracles that no one else can do. But it also shows us that Jesus is the son of man, which means, for example, that he feels what people like you and me feel. Jesus knows what it means to feel sad and tired, thirsty and hungry.
And the biggest take away for our littlest Mungarians is that Jesus loves everyone and he never wants us to be sick, scared, hurt or hungry. Jesus has compassion on all who come to him. He is always there to take care of us. He gives us what we need.