Five Loaves ~ 2 Fishes CD
the interactive story of the Feeding of the 5000 at Bethsaida

from Neil MacQueen, Sunday Software,
Printed from
For Neil's four week lesson set on this story, go to
This version posted November 16, 2012. Check back for updates!

First Things to Know:
  • Five Loaves ~ 2 Fishes CD puts your students in the role of the small boy who offered his bread and fish to help Jesus reveal who he truly was. It takes about 20-25 minutes to play.
  • The game is your primary Bible study. It has the entire story presented in an Open, Dig, Reflect lesson paradigm. Follow-up study ideas are suggested below.
  • The meaning of the story might not be what you think!  It's not primarily a story about "sharing what you have". Read my feisty Bible Background below for what this story is REALLY about
  • We have combined all four Gospel versions in the game: Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15 (which includes the story of the small boy), --each of which has slightly different details. See "the differences" in the Bible Background below. As part of your lesson plan with older children, I recommend doing a comparison of the versions after you have used the software. 
  • Your students play the part of the small boy. We have added his "Uncle Reuben" to give voice to the people in the crowd, and emphasize the importance of making time to listen to Jesus. In a sense: Reuben is your kids.

In your lesson plan.... after some introductory remarks, play the game FIRST, then follow up with further study/discussion, based in part on the discussion material presented in the final quiz questions, the discussion panel at the end, and what the music video is trying to say. SEE THE DISCUSSION PANEL GRAPHIC BELOW.

With older students, after using the software, dive into the Discussion Panel's suggested questions and Bible verse look-up. You may also have them compare the four Gospel versions (notes below). Go in as much depth as you choose or have time for. One important reason to compare the stories is so that students are aware that the NEXT TIME they hear or read the story that it may sound different to them. If you have more than one week on the story, play it twice, using a different final reflection/discussion options each week.

Grades K-2 will enjoy the CD, but need help steering. You can use the mouse to nudge-steer them left/right as they move the arrow keys. You will need to give them some instructions about what to do next, as they do not always hear the characters in the game giving the directions (they get enthralled). They may need help climbing up the bales to the storeroom, and will need someone to read the possible answers to questions. We've tuned the questions to be a tad tricky (to get kids to think), so younger kids will need some help. 

Game Outline...

In the game students will:

1. Meet and hear from Peter on his boat and then on the dock at Bethsaida.
2. Go into Bethsaida and convince their "Uncle" about taking time to go hear Jesus.
3. Collect the 5 loaves and 2 fish and walk down the beach to hear Jesus.
4. Hear Jesus preach, and get to offer him the bread and fish.
5. Collect up the 12 baskets and hear again from Jesus.
6. Speak with their Uncle and go fishing on the Sea of Galilee.
7. Answer the quiz questions out on the Sea, and choose a discussion panel for further study .
8. Watch a reflection music video featuring the song "5 Loaves, 2 Fishes".
The Final Quiz Questions include additional discussion questions (listed below) which you may choose to follow up on.

An optional Discussion Panel can be accessed at the end of the game. A copy is seen below in this guide.

The Music Reflection Video at the end of the game can be viewed outside of the game if you choose, just look for the ".mov" file in the game's installed "5000" folder on your harddrive. Print the lyrics and chords from

Navigation and Tech:

Steer by using your arrow keys. Jump by pressing the Home Key. Pressing the Shift key will accelerate walking. You can also use your mouse to look down/up and steer left right while moving forward. Press X to get in/out of the boat. Click on the fish/bread to pick them up.  Right clicking your mouse turns the cursor into an arrow for selecting, but also 'locks' the player point of view from looking up/down. Locking the player point of view may help younger children navigate.

Your computer needs to have plenty of ram and videoram to play this game and enjoy the music video (minimum 1.4 ghz, 2 gb ram, 64 mb videoram). If due to low computer resources/speed you have problems viewing the music reflection video at the end of the game, exit the game and look in the "5000" folder for the ".mov" movie file and play it as a standalone video. Double clicking the "*.mov" file should open it in your Quicktime movie player.

If your graphics seem "fat" or stretched a bit wide, this is because your screen resolution is set for wide-aspect viewing. Open up your graphic display properties in your Windows Control panel's "Display" options and set your graphic properties to "fixed aspect". This will control your computer's display proportions during the game.

About Reuben:

In many ways, Reuben represents your students, and all those who are wondering why they are taking the time to learn about Jesus. We wrote Reuben's complaints and narrations with your kids in mind ;-)  Reuben experiences a "conversion" at the end of the story. You will want to remind your kids that he's not part of the biblical narrative, and discuss with them how Reuben might be THEM.

Game Play Tips and "Cheats" for the Teachers

Like most interactive games, things must happen in the right sequence. For example, you can't go hear Jesus until you get the Uncle to come with  you. Listen carefully to the narrations for instructions about "what to do next".

  1. There are only two villages on the Sea, Capernaum and Bethsaida. You want to go to Bethsaida which is the "village on the right" as you approach the western shore.
  2. Press X to get off/on the boat where you see the X on the dock.
  3. When you get off the boat, talk to Peter first on the dock.
  4. Uncle Reuben is standing by a well behind the village. You must answer all three of his questions correctly to get him to agree to go with you.
  5. There are two ways to get up to the store room to find the fish and loaves: 1) Jump up the bales on the outside wall (press Home key to jump while pressing forward key).  2) Walk like a tightrope walker along the ropes between and alongside the buildings! (use your mouse to move your eyes down to watch the rope. It's tricky but fun.)
  6. In the storeroom, click on the 2 fish and 5 loaves to carry them, then return to Uncle Reuben (as he suggested). Then start walking to the shore to hear Jesus.
  7. As you approach the shore, the game will take over and present dialogs. (there is a long audio pause when you first see the boat, then you'll hear Jesus talking) Then the player will have the opportunity to hear Jesus, give bread and collect baskets.
  8. After the miracle, approach Uncle Reuben for final words and get in the boat to "go fishing" (find the quiz in the Sea).
  9. After answering the quiz questions, the answers have an extra discussion question you can have the students write down an answer to, or discuss with you afterwards.
  10. View the music reflection video at the end menu.
  11. Tell the students NOT to exit the game at the end until you have instructed them to do so. This will keep the menu visible and allow you to have them RETAKE THE QUIZ and see the discussion questions with you, and/or VIEW the music video with you or with the class for more discussion.

"Five Loaves, Two Fishes"
Words and Music by Neil MacQueen Copyright 2012. Permission granted for local church use.
See the printable lyrics with chords at
These words appear in the music video as well.

Five loaves, two fishes, O Lord donít you know what my wish-is, to be with you, and serve you all my life. (2X)
I was small, but you reached out to me.
I was weak but you gave me strength to see
Though a poor boyís lunch was all I had to spare
When you bless, thereís always more to be shared

Five loaves, two fishes, O Lord donít you know what my wish-is, (just) to be with you, and serve you all my life. (2x)
Nothing is impossible for God,
even when it seems --against the odds.
In a world that hungers for bread and word and love
Jesus mul-ti-plies the gift from above.

(with) Five loaves, two fishes, O Lord donít you know what my wish-is, just to be with you, and serve you all my life. (2x)

(Bridge)  Itís not enough to care - when you see the need. Thereís always a job to do - when you believe!

(with) Five loaves, two fishes, O Lord donít you know what my wish-is, just to be with you, and serve you all my life. (2x)

If you'd like a free copy of the instrumental backing track to sing along to, email

About Uncle Reuben...

We created the character of Reuben to provide some content and direction to your students. He is meant to represent your kids, and the change we hope will come over them. Remind your kids that "Uncle Reuben" is not part of the Bible's story.  After playing the game, ask the kids about Reuben's attitude, and how & why he changed. Here are the 3 questions he asks and your students must correctly answer in order for him to divulge the location of the fish and bread:

1. Iím glad you made it here to Beth-saida. Your parents told me that you wanted to go hear Jesus. But why do you really want to go hear him?  Correct answer: A)  Because Jesus is a great teacher and may be the Messiah! 

2. Iím kind of busy right now. Canít you see Iím getting water for the bakery?  Do you really expect me to drop everything to go listen to a dangerous preacher?   Correct answer: B) Iím kind of busy right now. Canít you see Iím getting water for the bakery?  Do you really expect me to drop everything to go listen to a dangerous preacher?

3. Some of the people who I know who are going to hear Jesus are sinners and hypocrites! Iím not so bad, why should I go and be seen with them? Correct answer: B) Everyone is a sinner, even you Uncle, and the Messiah came to forgive.


What is this story REALLY about?

Traditionally, Sunday School has compressed this story into a "story about sharing what you have", and "Jesus will multiply our gifts". Those ideas are certainly good ones to teach and IN the story by God's Spirit. The music video song highlights those sentiments, but sneakily also points to the more original, or "PRIMARY" meaning of this miracle story, which is: JESUS WANTS US TO BELIEVE IN HIM. 

He had spent all day teaching. They would not have starved had they been sent home.

Jesus saw an opportunity to teach them the most important lesson: who HE was.
The miracle reveals his identity and authority to those ready to see.
HE is The One. HE is the bread they need.

At the end of the game, there's a Discussion Panel you can view. It has several suggested scripture readings which get at this "Jesus=bread" and feast image.

The miracle announces that Jesus was the Messiah, the One who had the Authority. He wasn't merely a "good teacher" with a lesson about sharing. This is typical of Jesus and his other miracles as well. They ANNOUNCE, POINT TO, REVEAL his identity to people who weren't expecting God and had lost hope in the Messiah.

The miracle's lesson is like Sunday School too.  Coming and hearing is not enough.  Jesus wants to us KNOW who he is, and to believe.  Jesus is here to make disciples, not just be helpful.

The Context of the Miracle within the Gospels
In Matthew, Mark and Luke, this story follows on the death of John the Baptist, which further reinforces the point that this miracle is Jesus' calling card: "I am indeed The One, The Messiah whom John foretold". In John, the miracle comes after a long section on Jesus addressing his authority. Thus, the miracle is about WHO is Jesus, and not primarily about 'sharing'.

That said, Gospel stories can have several meanings, and insights do continue to evolve from them by the power of the Spirit, even though there was an original context and intent.  My goal in this Bible Background is not to throw out the "small boy" and "sharing/multiply the gifts" ...but to rebalance it, --to keep the story from being taught as a moral platitude about "sharing". Yes, Jesus wants us to share, but the question is WHY?  The answer is not "because it's a good idea", but rather, we share because we believe in him. Reuben's character in the game REINFORCES this teaching. He is the student who doesn't really want to be there. He's the kid with excuses.

"5 Loaves, 2 Fishes, O Lord don't you know what my wish is, -just to be with you and serve you all my life."

Is the bread in this story "something about Communion"? 
The early Christians saw this connection. Jesus referred to himself as "bread" in several scriptures, and talked about feasting. In that sense, this miracle like many others fits into his Kingdom of God themes and images.  So this is another reason NOT to turn this miracle into a "simple parable about sharing our gifts", because it's more a parable about Jesus sharing HIS gift.

Is this a story about "people sharing their gifts"?

If so, it's a paltry example!  5000 people and all that was shared was 5 loaves and 2 fish???  That part of the story actually serves to point out how MUCH we need Jesus. We simply don't have enough.  If Jesus had wanted to make it a story about sharing, he probably would have upbraided the crowd or the disciples, but he doesn't.  In fact, the fact that 5000 people only had 5 loaves is a great point about US vs JESUS.  Jesus had compassion on the crowd, but probably not because they were hungry, but because he knew what they REALLY needed: belief. 

Is this a story about "a small boy like our children giving his all to Jesus" ?
Old-timey preachers and traditional lessons love that image, so do I ! ...and it is sweet. But only John includes the small boy, the other Gospels do not.

A better approach to the small boy: Rather than focusing on his bread and fish, let's focus on the FACT that THE SMALL BOY WAS THERE LISTENING TO JESUS!   Like our children today, the small boy could have stayed home, or gone out to play with his friends. But he choose to be there and listen to Jesus.

If you're going to EXTOL THE VIRTUES OF THE BOY in the story, extol his desire to COME hear Jesus. The music video speaks to this. See the lyrics below.

Life Application for our Kids:  

This miracle tells us that Jesus wants us to learn form him AND believe in who he is. One of the ways that happens is when we put ourselves in a position to learn from Jesus, so that we can also get to KNOW Jesus. in a way deeper than words.  This is the point Reuben learns in the game.

At the end of the day by the shore, or the end of the morning at church, after you have been with Jesus, what do you need to do next?

Now you know the meaning of the lyrics in the song:  "5 Loaves, 2 Fishes, O Lord don't you know what my WISH IS, -just to be with you, and serve you all my life."  Like the boy that day, we want our kids to walk away believing Jesus more than just a teacher, ...that he is their Savior, and that with Jesus, anything is possible, ...even their FAITH is possible.   

The discussion panel and quiz at the end of the game delve into these questions. Below is a copy of that final discussion panel.

Differences in the Four Gospels

The four Gospel versions of the Feeding of the 5000 are not identical. There are some subtle and incidental differences, which challenged the design of our 5 Loaves ~ 2 Fishes CD. For example, where did the story take place? Thereís no agreement. And only John mentions the small boy --which goes to support the interpretation that the miracle wasn't really about the boy and his small gift. They are supporting 'props'.

Matthew 14: Jesus and his disciples seek a ďdeserted placeĒ to rest somewhere along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus sees the crowd gathered and comes ashore to teach them. Afterwards, Jesus sends the disciples back by boat while he goes off to pray.

Mark 6: Jesus and his disciples seek a ďdeserted placeĒ to rest somewhere along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Seeing the crowds on the shore, Jesus comes ashore and begins to teach the multitude. After the miracle, Jesus sends his disciples to Bethsaida by boat, while he goes off on his own.

Luke 9:  Luke places the miracle near Bethsaida, which is just up the road from Capernaum, Peterís hometown and an early base for Jesusí missionary efforts. Luke does not mention where Jesus and the disciples went afterwards. We chose Luke's location for our CD because the boat and seashore were more visually interesting.

John 6: Jesus and his disciples go up a mountain somewhere along the Sea of Galilee. After the miracle, John says Jesus and his disciples went by boat back to Capernaum, -which is just south of Bethsaida. Only Johnís Gospel mentions the little boy with his 5 loaves and 2 fish.

Why "play through" the story...

Our game helps students WANT to delve into the story, and the game will give them a memorable experience of it.  The story is laid out in linear fashion inside the game, meaning, while it looks like they can run around anywhere, the STORY content  displays in order. Because it's fun to play, they can come back to it again and again, --which will improve their memory of it.

Interactive Games help the story get into your kids' brains. They do this, in part, by creating a sense of anticipation in the player. A state of "anticipation" focuses attention and heightens memory formation. For more about the BRAIN RESEARCH behind "how stories get into our heads", go to my blog:  

Our "5 Loaves" CD was produced using some of the same terrain and 3d models found in our Faith Through the Roof CD --the story of the man let down through the roof, which also took place along the Sea of Galilee in Peter's hometown of Capernaum.

Here is the text of the optional Discussion Panel at the end of the game:

Is this a story about feeding hungry people?
The scripture says they were hungry after a long day, and ďJesus had compassion on themĒ. But the people that day were not all poor, and would not have starved if Jesus had sent them away hungry. Jesus wanted to help them AND make a point about WHO they had just spent the day with!

  • What do you think they told their friends and family when they got home?
  • Did they just talk about a miraculous free meal?
  • What do you think they told others about Jesus?
  • Create a skit about coming home that evening and waking your family to tell them what had happened, why you think Jesus is the hoped for Messiah, and what you were going to do next.

Little Gift + Jesus = Anything is possible!
Read Matthew 17:20 and discuss how it might fit with the story of Five Loaves, 2 Fishes.

ďJust to be with you and serve you all my lifeĒ
Come up with specific examples of how YOU can: ~ learn more about Jesus and his teachings ~ bring others to learn from Jesus ~ help others believe in Jesus and worship him ~ care for others as Jesus cared

For Further Study:
Read Matthew 5:6 ...what Jesus really wants us to fill us up with.
Read John 6:51 ...the kind of bread Jesus wants to give us.
Read Revelation 7:11-17 ...the vision of those who no longer hunger.

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