The feeding of the 5000


Here is a version of the miracle of the five loaves and two small fish that turned a surprise picnic with Jesus into an unforgettable feast. The following version is written in the style of the nursery rhyme ‘What’s the time, Mr Wolf?’

On your marks

The feeding of the 5000 is possibly the most well known of Jesus’ miracles. Each of the four gospels writes about it and John’s version is also his reflection on the meaning of the Last Supper. In fact, the early Christians often celebrated their special feast with fish as well as bread and wine. The day a surprise picnic turned into an unforgettable feast not only shows us more about who Jesus is but it is also a parable of what it can mean for each of us when we become Christians.

Get set

The following version is written in the style of the nursery rhyme ‘What’s the time, Mr Wolf?’ and there is scope for lots of voices if this is done as a dramatic reading in an all-age service or with a group of children and adults together. You will need individuals or groups to be the questioner, the voice of Jesus, the voices of the the crowds and the voices of the disciples/friends. Encourage your congregation/group to have fun with this version playing on some of the emotions and humour of the story.

You can find this story in Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:1-15.  See The Barnabas Family Bible (pp.148-9), which has some activities and questions linked to the story.


Introduction: This is the amazing story of the slicing up of five loaves and the scaling up of the two fish

What’s the time, Mr Shepherd, asked his friends


It’s downtime, because i’m tired
It’s me time, because I’m sad
It’s rest time, because we’re tired
It’s alone time, because we’re exhausted
It’s us time, because we need it
It’s time out and it’s time off!

What’s the time, said his friends to the crowds?


It’s still our time, they answered
It’s still story time, they agreed
It’s still healing time, they called out
It’s still listen-with-Jesus time, they chorused
So it’s get-up-and-go time, they clamoured
And they ran after the shepherd.

What’s the time, my friends, said Mr Shepherd?


It’s time they weren’t here, they replied
It’s time to say no, they agreed
It’s time to shut up shop, they asserted
Their time is up.

What’s the time, Mr Shepherd, asked his friends?


It’s their time, he smiled
It’s not just our time, he chuckled
It’s always time for others, he giggled
It’s story time again, he laughed
It’s their time again!

What’s the time, said the friends to the crowds?


Is it snack time, they wondered
Is it lunchtime, they wined
Is it teatime, they moaned
Is it dinner time, they groaned
It’s food time, they all agreed.

What’s the time, friends, asked Mr Shepherd?


It’s time to go, they answered
It’s time they went, they insisted
It’s time up, they agreed
It’s time for home.

What’s the time, Mr Shepherd, asked his friends and the crowd?


It’s time to care time
It’s time to share time
It’s fish-and-bread time
It’s God’s time
It’s more-and-more time, the shepherd declared.

So what’s the time Mr Shepherd?


It’s picnic time
It’s party time
It’s playtime
It’s feast time
And they ate and they ate and they ate!

What’s the time, Mr Shepherd, asked his friends?


It’s pick-up-crumbs time
It’s clear-up-leftovers time
It’s miracle-upon-miracle time
It’s more-than-enough time
It’s the best of times, he said.

What’s the time, Mr Shepherd, asked the crowds and the friends?


Now it’s home time, he said
Now it’s your time, he said
Now it’s will-you-believe-it time
Because its time-and-time-again time.


When God steps into time
When God takes a little and makes it a lot
When God takes our moments and makes them forevers
When God takes our lives and fills them up full
With plenty left over
For now and for all time
Time after time after time…