I know that there are many that go hungry in our world. And I cannot imagine the helpless feeling many parents around the world feel when they cannot feed their children.
Every day I am so very thankful that I have not had to face that kind of hunger in my life.
And I pray that you, dear reader, have not had to either.
Jesus Feeds the Hungry
In our reading this week, Jesus sought to take his disciples out to a desert place, a place apart, so that they could get some much needed rest from the weariness of ministry. However, when they arrived by ship to this desert place, another multitude awaited them.
People came running out of the surrounding cities and communities to meet Jesus. They longed to see and hear this miracle worker and gracious teacher. All day long they stayed and listened. So intent were they on being near Jesus and hearing all that He had to say, that they ignored their hunger.
When night time was close, the disciples’ concern for the people’s, and their own, need for food prompted them to approach Jesus. When they asked Jesus to send the people away, Jesus gave them an astounding command…
He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. Mark 6:37a
Uh, what? Yep. That’s what Jesus told the disciples to do…feed 5,000 plus people!
We are told there were 5,000 men. So, including women and children in the crowd, this was a massive number for 12 disciples to think about providing food for.
And they promptly remind Jesus of this fact, this impossible expectation He was placing on them…
And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? Mark 6:37b
The disciples were well aware of their own limitations. But Jesus was not fazed, and proceeded to make the way.
And fed over 5,000 people…with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes!
As I imagined such a scene, a green grass-covered countryside overflowing with hungry people being fed by our compassionate Saviour, I realized 5 lessons Jesus is teaching all of us through this miracle.
5 Truths in the Feeding of the 5,000
First, to be like Jesus, we must be compassionate.
And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, Mark 6:34a
Compassion can be defined as love in action.
If we say that we love, and yet stand by and do nothing when we see a need, we lie. True love,true compassion moves us to action.I like another way I’ve heard compassion defined.
Compassion is love with shoes on.
Jesus did something about their need. He fulfilled it!
Second, the feeding of the 5,000 teaches us that to be like Jesus, we must seek to serve others.
And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. Mark 6:41
Jesus did not view Himself as above the problems and needs of the people. He lived among them, ate with them, even touched the sick and healed them. Every day Jesus spoke to and reasoned with and taught sinners of all kinds.
He humbled Himself to meet them where they were.
Just as He does for us!
When Jesus saw the people’s need, He sought to serve them. And did, literally. He took bread and fish and served them their supper!
Third, the feeding of the 5,000 teaches us that we all need a Shepherd to lead us.
And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: Mark 6:34
It is humbling to admit that we are not capable of commanding our own lives. That we are as sheep, needing Someone to give us direction, protection, and daily provision of all kinds. But that is just the truth.
We all need Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
Sheep have many unflattering characteristics, and yet so often, we are just like them.
Sheep are easily distracted and prone to wander from safety.
They are easily led, and are not discerning about who or what they follow, to their own destruction.
They have no way to defend themselves. Most animals defend themselves either by fighting, fleeing, or posturing. Sheep have no claws or fangs or mighty horns to fight with. They are very slow and cumbersome, so fleeing isn’t a possibility. And they have no way to look fierce and threatening. They don’t even have a mighty roar. Instead, all they have is a “baa.” Not at all intimidating.
How many times do we find ourselves acting like sheep—wandering from God and what is right and good for us, being led by others instead of the wisdom of God, and desperately needing God to be our defense?
Praise God that He wants to be our all, in all! And will be, when we turn to Him as our Shepherd and the God of our lives.
Fourth, the feeding of the 5,000 teaches us that God can do much with a very little.
In fact, He can do much with nothing. He created all the world out of nothing, after all! (Genesis 1)
He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. Mark 6:38
Jesus took just 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish…and fed over 5,000 people! And then took up 12 baskets full of fragments! What was left over was even way more than what He started with.
Most of us would readily admit that we cannot work miracles. But do you truly believe that God can?
The harder question, many times, is whether we believe that He will? For…
God cannot lie. (Titus 1:2)
Therefore, whenever God says He will do something, then we can expect that He will.
Are you needing a miracle in your life? Give God your little, your whole life. And all your problems. Give Him all your abilities and all your inabilities.
And in complete surrender to God’s will, watch God make much of your little and deliver you…in accordance with His will and time.
God can supply our need, and will do so, if we will remember that He is our Help and our Hope.
Finally, this miracle feeding of the 5,000 teaches us that when God tells us to do something huge, we need not worry.
For it is actually He that will do it!
And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all.
And they did all eat, and were filled. Mark 6:41-42
Jesus gave the disciples a job to do. An impossible task, to be sure. However, knowing all that would be involved, Jesus then proceeded to provide all that was needed to carry out the task.
Jesus provided all the materials and even the guidance for the job He’d given them. He provided all the food they would need. And then told them exactly how to organize and carry out His command.
And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. Mark 6:39-40
Is God calling you to some impossible task? Something completely out of your comfort zone? Then here is a verse for you, one I have clung to often—
Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24
It is true that…We can’t.
But, God can!
All we have to do is give Him what we have (what He has already given us), and watch Him make much with it!
The feeding of the 5,000 is certainly an amazing miracle. Wish I could have seen it!
Drawing nigh to Him,
LET’S TALK ABOUT IT.
What stands out to you about this miracle? In what ways are you trusting Jesus to make much of your little?