Matthew 14, John 6, Mark 6, Luke 9 – feeding of the 5000
John 6:5-13 When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? 6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him; Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, 9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? 10 And Jesus said, make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. 12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. 13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.
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The feeding of the 5000 is the only miracle recorded in all four Gospels – therefore it necessarily is of great importance. What can we learn from this miracle of Christ as it applies to those who follow Jesus and even those who do not?
What you have is enough
Our focus needs to be on Christ first and how what we have can be used to serve Him, not on what we have not. In the miracle of the feeding of the 5000, Andrew (an Apostle of Christ) said to Jesus, “There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?” Andrew’s focus was wrong, he was zeroed in on what they did not have – enough food for so many people. Yet when the 5 loaves and 2 fish were brought to Jesus, Jesus made them enough to feed well over 5000 people. It does not matter how little we have, what matters is that what we do have, we bring it before Christ and allow Him to use it as He wills. Being focused on what we have not, or in the same manner looking at what we have as being insufficient obstructs what we can accomplish or be in Christ.
Who you are is enough
In the same way that what you have is enough, who you are is enough. There are many people who sit on the fence concerning giving themselves to Jesus, why? These people look at self, and see someone not worthy of Jesus, not good enough to belong to Him, having done to much wrong to be forgiven. If that were really the case, not one of us would be accepted by Christ and forgiven and given a new lease on life. Many Christians think they can do nothing or little to serve God because they have little or nothing to offer in their eyes: also untrue.
Look back at the feeding of the 5000. Jesus was perfectly capable of having a meal appear before all these people with a mere thought, He did not need His disciples to distribute the loaves and fish for Him. We can see through this miracle God chooses to work through people, often very ordinary people. Although God can do all things Himself with no human help, He chooses to use human beings to advance the cause of His kingdom. It matters not who you are, what talents you have or have not, nor how non-existent your resources may be. What does matter is that you are willing; willing to give yourself and whatever you have to serve God how He chooses for you to do so. We need only look at the Apostles of Christ to see that this is all true.
Andrew, Peter, James and John were simple fisherman. In the beginning of Christ’s earthly ministry they were all rather clueless. Peter denied Christ 3 times right before His crucifixion. James and John were boisterous and obnoxious. Matthew (Levi) was a tax collector, considered worse than a thief, the lowest of the low. The Apostle Paul (not one of the 12 disciples of Jesus) before coming to Christ strongly persecuted the Church of God and sanctioned the murder of Stephen, the first martyr for Christ – he then wrote the better part of the New Testament and was a tireless teacher of the Gospel of Christ.
There are many other examples as well in the Bible. Rahab was a prostitute, and yet was in the direct ancestral line of Christ Himself. Rahab was the one who hid the spies sent by Joshua, her son was Boaz. King David started out as a simple shepherd of sheep. Moses killed a man. Jonah ran away from God.
Who we are and what we have means nothing
We can see in the miracle of the feeding of the 5000 that how much we have means nothing. 5 loaves and 2 fish were brought to Jesus and well over 5000 people were fed, 5000 refers to the men only, not the women and children that were present as well. Each person had plenty to eat and there was food to spare.
Jesus feeding 5000 people is a pretty simple miracle, for God anyway. There is much more to this miracle than that. We need to see the bigger picture here: despite what little we may have, that insignificant amount of whatever – is abundance through Christ. If we will simply devote whatever resources we have to God and His kingdom, it will always be enough. Now this is not to say that we shall then have all we desire, that is the prosperity gospel, and that is no gospel at all. Rather what we have will always be sufficient to serve Jesus when we offer it to Him in service to Him.
In the same way we ourselves are enough. When we first come to Christ it matters not what we have done, who we are, nor does it matter what we can or cannot do. What matters is a sincere heart seeking out Christ, asking for His forgiveness of our sins and then accepting His free gift of eternal life.
As Believers in Christ we do not have to have it all or even most of it. What we do need is a willingness to serve the Lord; it is not we who provide what is necessary to serve God, but rather God who provides what we need to serve Him. God’s people need to get out of and be free from this mindset; I do not have what it takes, I’m not good enough, I just cannot do that. Instead we need to step out in faith and let God worry about what we need. Yes we need to exercise a little common sense of course in choosing how we serve, but at the same time knowing that God can and will provide. Just because you have little or no experience say, working with children does not mean that you cannot do so. Maybe you never led a small group before, that does not mean you cannot do so, maybe you have never taught Sunday school, that does not mean you are not able to teach or be an assistant.
Greg Laurie tells a story about the first person he witnessed to, his presentation was rather poor because he was so nervous, she still accepted Christ – Greg Laurie is now a huge evangelist.
D.L. Moody worked in his uncle’s shoe store, was converted to Christ by Edward Kimball and although Moody was at that time looked upon as very spiritually darkened – he went on to become one of the greatest evangelists of all time.
Just as obvious is the fact that we will not all become D.L Moodys or people like him. The point however is that we can serve Christ if we but allow ourselves to. We can do things we thought we could not, because we do them through Christ and His strength not our own.
Just do it
I will not tell you that I am a great writer; I won’t even tell you I am a good writer. I will tell you that I have written some good articles. I will also tell you that when I first started writing, I was absolutely terrified of anyone seeing anything I wrote – because I figured that it was not good enough. I started my first blog (Believing God Today, no longer exists) and was afraid of the whole process – what if I goof it up? What if I make mistakes I cannot fix? What if no one ever reads anything on it? Now here I am writing, managing several web sites, and even teaching/helping others to do the same.
Do not allow your preconceived notions to stop you. If you are on the fence about God, get off the fence and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior today – today is the day of salvation. You are not good enough for God, so what, neither are the rest of us! God will take you as you are and make you into so much more than you are today.
If you are fretting about that ministry, pray about it and give it a try, maybe it is not for you, but then again maybe it is, or if not, through that experience you may find the right fit for you. Just be willing to serve God, and remember that not all of us are going to be Billy Graham and Greg Laurie. Some of us are going to be those that help people like that, those that make their ministries able to function.
Someone has to make repairs, serve food, help teach, clean etc. I have done all of these things and Pastors appreciate them as well as other leaders let me tell you.
What our focus should be
Please do not focus on what you cannot do, focus instead on what you can do. Anyone can do something, and something needs to be done by everyone.
Do not dwell on what you do not have to give financially, focus on what you CAN give – every little bit helps. If 100 people gave $5.00 a month it would equal $500.00 a month.
Focus on God and His Word, not on the world and Satan. Satan and his demonic horde will whisper lies in your ears – you are not good enough, you cannot do that, God does not really love you, God has not really forgiven you, you are a loser, etc.
Saturate yourself in the Gospel of Christ, drink the milk and eat the meat of the Word of God, make it a part of your daily life.
Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, with men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
Jeremiah 32:27 Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?
Psalm 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Deuteronomy 31:8 And the LORD, he [it is] that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.