Five Loaves and Two Fish
by Linton Smith
Only two miracles are recorded in all four gospels – the resurrection of Jesus and the feeding of the 5,000, which we are looking at today.
This is one of the better known miracles.. and many are so familiar with it that when they come across it.. they skip over it.. thinking they know what that is about. Today we will try to look at it in a fresh way.
First, we will look at it..
* THROUGH THE EYES OF THE DISCIPLES.
Luke writes.. Luke 9:12,13..
Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.” He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
Imagine you are one of the Twelve. You have come away with Jesus to get some rest.. and here are thousands of people to meet you. Somehow they had worked out where you were going. You suggest to Jesus that He send them away to find food. And He says.. You give them something to eat. How do you react? Absurd! Impossible! That is just what the Twelve thought.
In Mark’s account we are told..
Mark 6:37,38.. They said to him, “That would take eight months of a man’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”
How many loaves do you have? Go and see. Go and check your own resources.. see what you have..
Then in Matthew we are told they reported back..
Matthew 14:17,18.. “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” he said.
Bring them here to me. Whatever you have.. as little as it may be.. bring it to me.
And then Luke tells us..
Luke 9:14,15.. He said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” The disciples did so, and everybody sat down.
How do you feel when you hear that? This is really going out on a limb. If we seat the people they will expect something.. and how are we going to feed them?
But the Twelve did as they were told and thousands of people were fed!
Five loaves and two fish become enough food for 5,000 men plus women and children.. and there are 12 baskets full left over!
There is an important lesson here for us.
Never say, Never. Never say, Impossible. Never say, We can’t do it. It can’t be done. Instead.. examine your resources.. bring what you have to Jesus.. and then do as He says. Get started. It is when we offer ourselves and all we have to Jesus.. and do what He says.. that miracles occur.
Imagine if the Twelve had kept on saying, Impossible.. and ignored what Jesus said.. just imagine…
Next, we will look at this miracle..
* THROUGH THE EYES OF THE CROWD.
As one of the people in the crowd you have seen and heard of the amazing things Jesus and His disciples have been doing.. and with thousands of others.. you have walked and run a long way.. to get here before Jesus arrived by boat.. and..
He welcomed you.. all of you.. and healed those who needed healing..
In Luke 9:10,11 we are told..
They withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.
Jesus was caring and compassionate.
In Matthew 14:14 we read..
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
And in Mark 6:34 we are told..
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
Then you saw His disciples talking to Him.. gesturing.. they came around.. checking on what food people had with them.. they asked you to sit down.. neatly in groups of fifty.. and you saw Jesus blessing the food He had been given..
As the disciples began to distribute the food.. you thought.. by the time they get to me.. there will not be anything left.. but there was.. you ate.. all the people ate.. and the disciples collected the leftovers – twelve baskets full!
Luke describes it like this..
Luke 9:16,17.. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to set before the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
And how did you react? You were amazed! John tells us..
John 6:14.. After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
There is a very important lesson for us here.. When people see Jesus and His followers.. working together.. to meet their needs.. they are impressed.. ready to ask who Jesus is.. on the way perhaps to genuine faith in Him.
Let’s be a church that not only talks.. but does things together.. all manner of practical things.. to show we care.. to show Jesus cares.. and can help.
We have looked at this miracle through the eyes of the disciples.. the eyes of the crowd. Now, we will look at it..
* THROUGH THE EYES OF JESUS.
In John 6:15 we read..
Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
The people found Him again the day after.
We are told in John 6:26 that Jesus said..
You are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.
How did Jesus feel? Disappointed? Sad? I think He must have felt something like parents who want the best for their child.. want him to finish his education because they can see this will give him a great future.. but he insists on leaving school and getting a job..
The child sees only the short view. The parents see the long view.
Jesus sees the very long view. It saddens Him that the people are thinking only about this life.. and not giving a thought to the next life.. to eternity.
In John 6:27,51 He says..
Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life.. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.
Jesus came down from heaven. He knows what heaven is like.. knows what lies ahead for people in heaven.. and He is deeply saddened that all they can think about is this life..
Jesus does make a difference now.. in this life.. a very big difference.
He enables us to live a clean and moral life – and that makes a huge difference.
We still get caught up in natural disasters.. and all manner of pain and suffering inflicted on us by other people.. we still suffer illness.. the death of loved ones.. and we still die.. but Jesus is with us in all these things.. He gives us peace.. and hope and strength!
But the really BIG blessing.. that makes sense of all the pain and sorrow here.. is that there is a future life.. a glorious life.. in heaven.. for those who believe in Him.
Recently.. last Sunday.. in my home town a memorial service was held for 3 men who were killed in a huge explosion on the hills south west of the town.. 1500 people attended..
They were comforted by these words of Jesus..
John 6:38,40.. I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.. My Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
Everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
Look to Jesus today.. and believe in Him!
Refocus your life. Set your sights on heaven!
Sermons and Bible Commentaries for the 5th Sunday after Pentecost
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