Feeding the Five Thousand
Text: Matthew 14:15-21
This is the same feeding 5000 found in all four gospel accounts. It is the same event where the young boy has the five loaves and two fish. Matthew doesn’t record those details, nor does he record what the Lord said to the multitude the day after he fed them. John records that in John 6 when Jesus said He is the Bread of Life. Many in Moses’ day ate bread in the wilderness just like you did and they eventually died. Then Jesus Christ emphasized that He is the Bread of Life and if any man eats His flesh and drinks His blood he’ll never die. And when the multitude heard that they started leaving.
The Good Shepherd fed the Israelites in the wilderness with manna when they were redeemed from Egypt. Now he fed the 5000 with 2 barley loaves and 5 fish, and He will feed His flock in the wilderness one more time in the future in Revelation 12:5-6, 13-14.
Let’s consider the feeding of the five thousand.
- Situation: It’s dinner time, these people need to go find themselves something to eat. This is the normal end to the day. The disciples just simply see the day coming to a close and sending everyone home until tomorrow. But oh how the LORD can take a normal day and turn it into something beyond what we could think or ask.
- Man’s solution is to send the people away. Let them go buy food for themselves.
- The LORD says GIVE them food. Man says we don’t have enough money to buy them food. See John 6:5-7.
- Little is Much When God is in it. In fact throughout the Bible the little things, the remnant, that’s really all the matters to God. He said to Abraham if there’s a handful of righteous people in Sodom I’ll spare it.
- With my help, give them something to eat. Zechariah 4:6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.
- Joshua marched around the walls of Jericho and they fell down.
- Hezekiah prayed and 185,000 Assyrian soldiers were killed right outside the walls of Jerusalem in one night.
- Israel escapes Egypt and walks through the Red Sea on dry ground but the armies of Egypt are drowned when they try to do the same. Israel didn’t fire a single shot.
- Gideon took 300 men, clay pots, candles and trumpets to gain victory over an innumerable amount of Midianites.
- The LORD must shake His head at me and at us for our faithlessness. We believe He’s the Creator of the earth and the cattle on a thousand hills, but when He says GIVE we question whether He’s going to have the resources to do the job.
- Or when He says GO we wonder whether the opportunity is actually right.
- How did the Spirit of God work through the Lord Jesus Christ? Here’s the LORD’s method. There is no magic spell. Whatever happens in verse 19 is sufficient to transition from not even close to enough to feed the crowd to an overabundance.
- BLESSED what was given. He set it apart and designated it for service to God.
- BRAKE what was given. If it isn’t broken it can’t be multiplied. Do you want the LORD to use you? Probably not. It’s going to require breaking. This is the thing no one asks for. We’d love to see the miracle, but we don’t want the breaking required. This is not “name it, claim it” faith. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5.
- GAVE to his disciples to give to others. The only thing that can be given is what’s been blessed and broken. Jesus Christ is the broken Shepherd saying this is my body, broken for you. And that body of Jesus Christ is distributed through preaching for centuries and over the face of all the earth. The giving is a logistical matter. This is how the multiplication works. God gives gifts so God can do His work through more people and multiply His work.
- The people ate, were filled, and they TOOK UP twelve baskets full. After the disciples distributed the baskets to the people they went back around and gathered up the leftovers. Look at what Jesus says about that in John 6:12-14.