“Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat? ...” (John 6:5-12)

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, "It would take more than half a year's wages [fn] to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!" Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?" Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." (John 6:5-12)

Why did Jesus ask Philip where to buy bread?

Jesus said this to his students because he knew the people in the crowd were hungry. They only had five loaves of barley bread and two small fish to feed the people. What did they do?
Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. (John 6:11)
When they passed out the food, it gradually became obvious that somehow, there was enough food to feed everyone. And after everyone had eaten, they still had twelve baskets of bread left over.

This is considered one of Jesus’ more miraculous acts. Yet it was not Jesus' act, it was God's. For those who do not have faith in God, the miracle is indeed miraculous. 

Why would God bother making sure the people were all fed? The immediate purpose was not just to make sure the people ate. But also to keep the crowd there so they could hear Jesus' teachings.

Then of course was the purpose for most of Jesus' miracles: To illustrate that God was empowering Jesus in his activities to teach us about the Supreme Being.

What does 'giving thanks' mean?

Notice above that 'he gave thanks.' What is 'giving thanks' anyway? The Greek word used is εὐχαριστέω (eucharisteō), which refers to "giving thanks." Notice here the key word "giving". It was not simply "thanking," but a ceremonial "giving" of something.

Other translations of the original words interpret the original texts as 'blessed' as in Jesus 'blessed the food.' So what is actually taking place during this 'blessing'?

Many have interpreted this to mean that Jesus simply thanked God for the food, as many teach. This is because they do not understand the confidential loving relationship that Jesus had with God.

Since we know that Jesus performed an act that ultimately blessed the food, and we know that Jesus' focus was to love and serve God in the spirit of Moses, we must accept that Jesus was doing something that had been described throughout the Old Testament: Jesus was making an offering ("giving") to God with a heartfelt prayer ("thanks").

Is this about the ancient practice of offering?

This process is explained in detail in Deuteronomy. God has established a method to establish a relationship with Him by offering our food to Him before consuming it:
In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. (Genesis 4:2-4)
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together. (Genesis 22:5-7)
Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. (Genesis 35:13-15)
" 'If you bring a grain offering of firstfruits to the LORD, offer crushed heads of new grain roasted in the fire.'" (Leviticus 2:13-15)
But Moses said, "You must allow us to have sacrifices and burnt offerings to present to the LORD our God." (Exodus 10:24-26)
Then Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and other sacrifices to God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses' father-in-law in the presence of God. (Exodus 18:11-13)
"Tell the Israelites to bring Me an offering. You are to receive the offering for Me from each man whose heart prompts him to give." (Exodus 25:1-3)
These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver and bronze; (Exodus 25:2-4)
And make its plates and dishes of pure gold, as well as its pitchers and bowls for the pouring out of offerings. (Exodus 25:28-30)
"For the generations to come this burnt offering is to be made regularly at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting before the LORD. There I will meet you and speak to you; (Exodus 29:41-43)
Do not offer on this altar any other incense or any burnt offering or grain offering, and do not pour a drink offering on it. (Exodus 30:8-10)
Each one who crosses over to those already counted is to give a half shekel, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs. This half shekel is an offering to the LORD. (Exodus 30:12-14)
All who cross over, those twenty years old or more, are to give an offering to the LORD. (Exodus 30:13-15)
Those presenting an offering of silver or bronze brought it as an offering to the LORD, and everyone who had acacia wood for any part of the work brought it. (Exodus 35:23-25)
All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the LORD freewill offerings for all the work the LORD through Moses had commanded them to do. (Exodus 35:28-30)
The bronze from the wave offering was 70 talents and 2,400 shekels. (Exodus 38:28-30)
If your grain offering is cooked in a pan, it is to be made of fine flour and oil. (Leviticus 2:6-8)
Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings. (Leviticus 2:12-14)
Put oil and incense on it; it is a grain offering. (Leviticus 2:14-16)
The priest shall burn the memorial portion of the crushed grain and the oil, together with all the incense, as an offering made to the LORD by fire. (Leviticus 2:15-16)
"Over the table of the Presence they are to spread a blue cloth and put on it the plates, dishes and bowls, and the jars for drink offerings; the bread that is continually there is to remain on it." (Numbers 4:6-8)
"Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, is to have charge of the oil for the light, the fragrant incense, the regular grain offering and the anointing oil. He is to be in charge of the entire tabernacle and everything in it, including its holy furnishings and articles." (Numbers 4:15-17)
Prepare these in addition to the regular morning burnt offering. (Numbers 28:22-24)
" 'In addition to what you vow and your freewill offerings, prepare these for the LORD at your appointed feasts: your burnt offerings, grain offerings, drink offerings and fellowship offerings. ' " (Numbers 29:38-40)
"So we have brought as an offering to the LORD the gold articles each of us acquired—armlets, bracelets, signet rings, earrings and necklaces—to make atonement for ourselves before the LORD." (Numbers 31:49-51)
Then the Israelites, all the people, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the LORD. They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the LORD. (Judges 20:25-27)
The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. (1 Kings 3:3-5)
David built an altar to the LORD there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the LORD answered prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped. (2 Samuel 24:24-25)
On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a month of his own choosing, he offered sacrifices on the altar he had built at Bethel. So he instituted the festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to make offerings. (1 Kings 12:32-33)
 "He who sacrifices thank offerings honors Me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God." (Psalm 50:22-23)
I will sacrifice a freewill offering to You; I will praise Your Name, O LORD, for it is good. (Psalm 54:5-7)
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His Name; bring an offering and come into His courts. (Psalm 96:7-9)
When the king came back from Damascus and saw the altar, he approached it and presented offerings on it. (2 Kings 16:11-13)
A Levite named Mattithiah, the firstborn son of Shallum the Korahite, was entrusted with the responsibility for baking the offering bread. (1 Chronicles 9:30-32)
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His Name. Bring an offering and come before Him; worship the LORD in the splendor of His Holiness. (1 Chronicles 16:28-30)
They were in charge of the bread set out on the table, the flour for the grain offerings, the unleavened wafers, the baking and the mixing, and all measurements of quantity and size. (1 Chronicles 23:28-30)
" 'This is the special gift you are to offer: a sixth of an ephah from each homer of wheat and a sixth of an ephah from each homer of barley. (Ezekiel 45:12-14)
Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing— grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God. (Joel 2:13-15)
But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. (Philippians 2:16-18)
I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. (Philippians 4:17-19)
These are but a few of the descriptions among the Bible that present the importance of offering to the Supreme Being. 

We can see that making offerings to God was practiced by Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David and the other loving servants of God prior to Jesus, as well among Jesus' disciples.

Would Jesus have abandoned this practice?

Are we to believe that Jesus abandoned the ancient practice of making offerings to God? Are we to believe that Jesus made up his own ritual - of "giving thanks" instead of making an offering?

Certainly, Jesus accepted the teachings of the Prophets - as he quoted them repeatedly. He also preached in the Temple "every day" according to his testimony before the High Priest. And he was repeated called "rabbi" by followers and non-followers alike.

Certainly, Jesus practiced making offerings, as David did. As Samuel did. As Isaiah did. As Abraham did. As Moses did.

Jesus also specifically instructed his students to make offerings:
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift." (Matt. 5:23-24)
“See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” (Mark 1:44)
And this was precisely why Jesus said about the food he had just offered to the Supreme Being at the 'last supper:'
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)
Jesus wanted his disciples to remember him by his offerings to the Supreme Being.

Why did some institutions abandon making offerings?

Why have so many modern institutions been ignoring what Jesus taught and practiced? Why did the Bible translators call it "giving thanks" instead of "making an offering? 

And why do they not make offerings to God? 

The primary reason is because Paul - who did not directly hear Jesus' teachings and yet enlisted followers after years of persecuting Christians - began teaching a new doctrine loosely based on the life of Jesus.

The problem is that Paul's doctrine - now called the Pauline theology by scholars - abandoned the foundation of Jesus' teachings. That foundation was the teachings and principles of the Prophets that Jesus passed on to his followers. 

Paul declared that in order to enlist "pagans" - later termed "gentiles" - the Christian doctrine must be softened to allow those that didn't want to follow the teachings of the Prophets - which included the commandments of Moses, and the instructions and activities of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, Samuel, David, Solomon, and others, including John the Baptist and Jesus' own disciples.

Yes, Paul argued against the teachings of Jesus' own disciples, including James and Peter. He was known to have argued these teachings even in public, in front of large crowds.

Well, despite the fact that Paul's doctrine (Pauline theology) contradicted Jesus' own teachings and the teachings of his closest disciples, that theology ended up being embraced by the Romans when they stepped in to marshal Christianity and further push the theology away from Jesus' own teachings and principles.

Side note: Who were the 'gentiles' or 'pagans' that Paul fought to be able to enlist? The word 'gentiles' (from the Greek word ἔθνος defined as 'pagans' in Thayer's lexicon) were considered by Jesus to be atheists - those who did not accept the superiority of God. Most of these 'pagans' or 'gentiles' of Jesus' time were those who followed the Roman pantheon. In other words, they were worshipers of many gods, not unlike the Greeks.

So they did not accept the Supreme Being. They did not accept monotheism, which is why Jesus said he did not come to teach them. He came to teach those who accepted the existence of a Supreme Being.

We must note that the Roman 'pagans' also believed the "son of the gods" was Caesar. So it wasn't hard to teach them the concept of Jesus being the "Son of God" - in line with the Roman Emperor.

The problem is that according to scholars, Paul effectively replaced the principles taught by Jesus with a new doctrine based on becoming saved by virtue of Jesus' dying on the cross.

Despite having never been taught by Jesus, this new philosophy could easily be maintained by Roman pagans, many of whom continued making offerings to the gods under the Roman pantheon.

When the Roman government stepped in to marshal Christianity, which doctrine did they embrace? Did they embrace the pure doctrine of Jesus' teachings, which embraced the teachings of John the Baptist, David, Abraham, Moses, and Joshua?

No. It embraced Paul's version. Why? Because Paul's theology had won more converts throughout the Roman Empre than did Jesus' disciples like James, Peter, Thomas, John and Mary. 

Why? Because again, Paul's doctrine was easier. Jesus' teachings required having a change of heart, and a seeking of love for God - and activities that pleased God. What saves us according to Jesus' teachings is love for God.

Once embracing the Pauline theology, the Roman Empire and its Roman Catholic Church effectively whitewashed the theology of Jesus and his disciples. They erased the ritual of making offerings to God at the altar, replacing this with eating crackers and wine at communion (calling these Jesus' body and blood).

The Romans erased the practices of Jesus' teachings by controlling worship for over 1,000 years. The Romans banned Christianity for nearly 300 years, before Constantine graciously declared (Pauline) Christianity legal in 313. Before then, any sort of Christian activity was considered punishable by imprisonment or death.

After it was made legal, it was still considered heretical to practice anything other than the Pauline doctrine effected by the Roman Catholic Church. Doing so risked being burnt at the stake as a heretic.

In other to effect this, the Roman Catholic church - propped up by the Roman government starting with Theodosius I in 380 - controlled worship in Christianity.

They made it illegal for a layperson to own or even read any scripture, including the Bible. The Church printed only Latin Bibles (with Paul's life and letters taking up nearly half the New Testament) and banned any Bibles written in any other language. 

When John Wycliffe translated the Bible into English for the first time in the 1380s to allow non-Catholic priests the ability to read scripture directly, he was burned at the stake.

And so was John Hus, who also promoted the concept that people should be able to read scripture. In the next century, William Tyndale also translated the Bible into English. He also had it printed on early printing presses.

Then he was burned at the stake by thugs from the Roman Catholic Church.

Does this sound like an organization that wanted to save people and preserve the teachings of Jesus? No. They simply wanted to control people. They wanted to make sure that their authority was not undermined. This was a political organization that tortured and murdered people.

Furthermore, the Church ceremonies for over a thousand years consisted primarily of a priest speaking versus of Latin - which the common people did not understand. They passed out little crackers and sips of wine and spoke Latin, made cross gestures, and that was the ceremony. The concept of offering to God was completely abandoned, and replaced with a ceremony worshiping the murder of God's loving servant, Jesus.

Thus for over a thousand years, the Catholic Church controlled ceremonial worship among Christians (until the 1500s), and made sure that the people had no access to scripture so we couldn't see the teachings of the prophets, and understand that God wants us to establish a loving relationship with Him by making "fellowship offerings" (see above).

What is a 'fellowship offering'?

Just consider the word "fellowship" as in "fellowship offering" in some of the verses above. What does "fellowship" mean? Were they talking about fellowship between the congregation parishioners? No, because this was in context with a type of offering.

A "fellowship" offering means an offering to God that is made with love. It is like when a man offers flowers to his wife: He is expressing his love. He doesn't have to make the offering of flowers. But he does it because he cares about her.

This is what the Supreme Being wants from us: He wants our love. He doesn't care about getting a bunch of gold or bread or grain - He owns all this stuff anyway. Rather, He wants us to reach out to Him and establish a relationship with Him. He wants to exchange a loving relationship with us, and He knows that when we exchange a loving relationship with Him, we will be fulfilled.

Why else would God have created us? Would God just create living beings so He could watch them suffer? No, God created us to exchange love with Him. And love requires freedom (we can't be forced to love, in other words). So God gives us the choice to love Him or not, and why he also called the "fellowship" offerings "freewill" offerings.

Consider God's instruction above to the priests: "You are to receive the offering for Me from each man whose heart prompts him to give." 

For those of us who desire to love Him, He shows us how to develop that love for Him. And what is the first step? It is making offerings to Him, and praising His Names.

And why do many teach their followers to "give thanks" instead of making offerings to God?

It is because the focus is on salvation rather than developing a personal relationship with God. It is not wrong to thank God. But God should not be seen as a waiter or servant - giving us food or whatever when we want it.

All take and no give?

After all, what kind of relationship is simply composed of one person taking from the other all the time, and never giving anything back? We call that a one-sided relationship. A relationship of all take and no give.

A person who loves another person will naturally want to serve the one they love. They will want to give and not just receive.

When a person offers something to God - especially food before it is eaten - there is an inherent sacrifice and an exchange of a relationship. By offering something to God, we are first saying that we will sacrifice our own desire for that food - at least for a minute - and offer it to the Supreme Being - our Best Friend - first.
Is this not what is polite in any relationship? To offer something first to someone we care about? Offering our food to the Supreme Being before eating it is an activity that will help us re-develop our relationship with Him. Simply thanking Him may be nice, but making an offering to God with love and devotion, and then thanking Him, is even better.

*Here is the translation of this event according to the Lost Gospels of Jesus:

When Jesus lifted his eyes and saw a great number of people coming towards him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” And this he said to test him, for he knew what he was intending to do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not even sufficient for each to receive a little.” One of his students – Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother – said to him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?" Jesus replied, “Have the people sit down.” There was much grass in that place, so the people sat down, numbering about five thousand. Jesus then took the loaves, offered them to God, and distributed these to his students, and the students to those who were seated – as much as they wanted – likewise with the fish. When they were filled, he said to his students, “Gather up the leftover pieces so that nothing will be wasted.” (John 6:5-12)