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Matthew 14:15-21: Jesus Feeds Five Thousand

Posted by adventbiblestudy on February 6, 2012


Matthew 14:15-21 MKJV And evening coming on, His disciples came to Him, saying, The place is deserted and the time has already gone by. Send the crowd away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves. (16) But Jesus said to them, They do not need to leave, you give them something to eat. (17) And they said to Him, We have here only five loaves and two fish. (18) And He said, Bring them here to Me. (19) And He commanded the crowd to recline on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to Heaven He blessed and broke, and gave the loaves to His disciples. And the disciples gave to the crowd. (20) And they all ate and were filled. And they took up twelve hand baskets full from the fragments that remained. (21) And they who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

John 6:1-15 MKJV After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, the Sea of Tiberias. (2) And a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His miracles which He did on the sick ones. (3) And Jesus went up into a mountain and sat there with His disciples. (4) And the Passover was near, a feast of the Jews. (5) Then Jesus lifted up His eyes and saw a great crowd come to Him. He said to Philip, Where shall we buy loaves so that these may eat? (6) And He said this to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. (7) Philip answered Him, Loaves for two hundred denarii are not enough for them, that every one may take a little. (8) One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, (9) There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are these among so many? (10) And Jesus said, Make the men recline. And there was much grass in the place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. (11) And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks, He distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to those who had reclined; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. (12) And when they were filled, He said to His disciples, Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing is lost. (13) Therefore they gathered and filled twelve handbaskets with fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over to those who had eaten. (14) Then seeing the miracle that Jesus did, those men said, This is truly the Prophet, the One coming into the world. (15) Therefore when Jesus perceived that they would come and take Him by force, that they might make Him a king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain alone by Himself.

 

After healing a great number of people following Jesus after crossing the narrow portion of the southern shores of Galilee, the sun was low in the sky. With evening coming the disciples thought it was wise to send the people back while it was still light enough to travel. Philip asked Him if they should send the people into the villages to buy food to eat. Jesus looked around at the thousands of people spread out among the rolling hills. His heart was filled with the joy of seeing people applying His lessons to their lives. Jesus felt as if the power from His Father was magnified by the faith of the people. He knew there was nothing His Father could not, and would not do for His people. As Philip waited for an answer, Jesus closed His eyes for a short prayer. Feeling the power of the Spirit filling Him to overflowing, Jesus opened His eyes and said, “Where shall we buy loaves so that these may eat?” Jesus was testing Philip. He wanted to know if Philip was searching for and feeling the same power. Philip answered Him, “Loaves for two hundred denarii are not enough for them, that every one may take a little.” Had Philip prayed before questioning Jesus?

Andrew having over heard the conversation, wondered out among the people, inquiring if any had brought food to share. Elam had been listening to Jesus preach, and could not wait to share his meager supplies with others. His eyes lit up as big as pomegranates when he heard Andrew asking for food to share. Elam ran up to Andrew and exclaimed, “I have food, I have enough to share with everyone!” Andrew knelt down to look into the sack Elam was proudly holding open. He looked inside to see five barley loaves and two small fish. Andrew patted him on the shoulder saying, “we will take these to Jesus, and see what the others have found.” Elam’s heart jumped with joy. He was going to meet Jesus. All of his expectations were exceeded by the thought he was going to share his lunch with Jesus.

Returning to Jesus Andrew informed Him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are these among so many?” Jesus could not help but notice the excitement on Elam’s face. He sat down, placed the boy on His lap, and let Elam show Him his treasure. Jesus exclaimed, “this is more than enough.” He looked up at the disciples saying,. “Make the men recline.” The area was well covered in grass which made a natural matte, allowing people to sit and relax. As the disciples were directing the people to sit down, they gathered up the every empty basket they could find. Once everyone was seated, Jesus stood up, took a basket, and held it in front of Elam. Emptying his sack into the basket Elam peered over the edge. In his sack it looked like such a huge amount of food. The five loaves and two small fish looked lost in the large basket. Jesus held the basket high up over His head, giving thanks to His Father for looking after Him during the day, allowing Him to share His words of life with them, and for the food they were about to receive. Jesus lowered the basket, now filled to overflowing with bread and fish. The disciples gathered around Jesus, filling basket after basket, distributing food among the people. Jesus looked at the expression on their faces as they took out loaf after loaf, but the basket He had blessed remained full. That day they had fed more than five thousand men, plus women and children.

Jesus sat back with Elam dining on His lap, listening to the sound of the chatter increase in volume as news of the miracle spread throughout the camp. It was good to hear so many people praising God. The women began to break out in song, the men joining in, praising God for the miracle He had shared with them. Jesus wondered if they had made the connection. They understood the lesson of helping one another, did they understand how the Father is always ready, willing, and able to help those who follow Him with an open and sincere heart? Did they see the spiritual connection between the bread and Word, and the fish and helping one another, the examples they can set to strengthen and encourage one another?

When the singing quieted down, Jesus listened to the sound of waves splashing on the shore. Others listened to the soothing rhythm, and began dozing off in a tranquil slumber. The solitude was broken only by the occasional sound of children laughing and playing. Soon they also laid down, some watching the sun set, others curling up next to their mother. Jesus heard one man comment, “This is truly the Prophet, the One coming into the world.” Others who heard it thought of it as a compliment. Something inside Jesus addressed it as more of a warning. As He considered their thoughts, and the way many of them looked at Him, it became apparent, they were considering ways of using His power to fulfill their selfish desires. Therefore when Jesus perceived that they would come and take Him by force, that they might make Him a king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain alone by Himself.

The news of John’s death was still fresh on His mind. Jesus knew God’s plan did not include an over throw of the current establishment. Jesus knew how the Roman government would be used to fulfill prophecy. He prayed for those with misconceptions of His mission. He prayed they would open their hearts to the love He was teaching. If only they could understand this world was not what God had intended. If only they could see the unseen battles being fought all around them. Jesus prayed they would understand that one day He would return to restore this world to the beauty, peace and glory it once was. Jesus thought of the gifts He had given this world at creation. Looking down from the mountain His mind rested upon the image of the perfect earth, and the perfect man formed in His image. This scene gave Jesus the strength to face the trials ahead, and the determination to share God’s plan of salvation with all of His disciples, so they can become faithful workers of the harvest for the Father.

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