Summary: Here begins the beautiful story of “Feeding the Five Thousand,” which is told by all four of the evangelists and this is the only event from the earthly ministry of Jesus told in all four gospel. It shows what God can do with a little!
The first outstanding event of Jesus feeding of the five thousand, occurs right after the report of the twelve apostles, who had just returned from their first missionary tour. This is a glowing account of their work and their teaching. Matthew says that Jesus withdrew to a desert place apart when he heard of the death of John the Baptist. In this desert place the multitudes flockedout from the cities, and this excited the tender compassion of Jesus because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Mark says that he taught them many things on that mountain side. His work here continued until the day was far spent, upon which the disciples besought him to send the multitudes away to buy food. Here begins the beautiful story of “Feeding the Five Thousand,” which is told by all four of the evangelists and this is the only event from the earthly ministry of Jesus told in all four gospel. There are certain facts and lessons here that need to be emphasized. First, notice Jesus test of his most senior disciples Philip and Andrew. Second, this miracle provides a back drop for Jesus’ great discourse of John 6 on the Bread of Life. Third, we see how Jesus appreciated and valued all people. Fourth, Jesus wants to supply the total need of people. Fifth, Jesus wants things being done decent and in order. Sixth, Christ, the great wonder-worker uses a child’s ministry to supplying the needs of his people.
Most Scripture references that mentions children speaks of caring for them, protecting them, training them and valuing them. There are some that refer to the ministry of children. Like When Hagar and her son, Ishmael were in the wilderness, fleeing the wrath of Sarah; the Scripture reads, though Hagar was crying and praying, “God heard the voice of the child.” It was the child’s cry for help that got God’s Attention. (Ge 21:17) After Samson repented, he was left blind and helpless, it was a lad that held his hand and guided him to the pillars of the temple. God used a child’s ministry to destroy the Philistines. (Jg 16:26) When the nation of Judah and Jerusalem were headed for the destruction, God send Jeremiah who was just a little lad to speak to the nation warnings of his coming judgment. (Jer 1:7) When the crowd was massive, the disciples tired and confused, and the multitude was restless and hungry, Jesus is going to use the ministry of a young boy with a lad’s lunch to save the day. I want you think about what God can do with a little.
To surprise of everyone, Jesus said, “GIVE YE THEM TO EAT! The bewildered, tired disciples were looking for rest, and feels the great crowd should be sent away. It gets late, the disciples haven’t eaten, nor had they haven’t had any private time with Jesus, tired, hungry, emotionally drained and probably a little cranky. The disciples come and tells Jesus, send the people into town to get food for themselves. Sometimes we can cover selfish motives with religious sentiment. Jesus said: They do not need to depart you give them something to eat. Sometimes we can be guilty of being nothing more than religious well-wishers, kind of like what James said: Depart be ye warmed and filled, we wish you well, I’ll mention you in my prayers. That’s called dead faith.We cannot be true disciples of Jesus with this dead faith, He wouldn’t allow it then and he doesn’t allow it now.
First, we must recognize what we have available to us. Take inventory of what we have. Before we can do anything, we must take inventory, we must know what we have. Like the widow in 2Kings 4, She needed a miracle to get her out of debt, the first requirement was to take inventory, (what have you in your house). We may have had a lot of great things in the past, but what do we have now? What I use to have doesn’t help anybody; it’s what I have now that can be used for the master’s service. The Widow had a little pot of oil and it was enough!
The disciples reported: There is a lad here with five barley loaves and two fishes. This is where the miracle starts, with what we have no matter how small or how little it is, All God requires is for us to take what we have and give it to him. It’s not our responsibility to make the bread, or multiply fish, we are asked to bring it to Jesus. Often, we feel like Philip, there is not enough money to enough bread; like Andrew, who said (what are 2 fish and 5 barley loaves among so many). If we are not careful, we can allow the immensity of the task to keep us from doing anything. This pandemic has paralyzed some people. If we become paralyzed, we will misuse the opportunities we have, misuse the resources we have and sit in inactivity.