The MIRACLE (of Jesus feeding 5,000 men plus women and children) we will be looking at is recorded in all 4 gospels (see Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:1-15). This emphasizes the power of Jesus Christ to perform miracles and it also means there are invaluable lessons for us to glean from it. As we shall see, there is a LITERAL lesson and a SPIRITUAL lesson. Jesus and His disciples had been extremely busy canvassing the cities of Israel, so Jesus said “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile” (verse 31, NKJV). Yet there were multitudes of people that followed them to the desert (verses 32-33). How did Jesus respond? Verse 34 says, “And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was MOVED WITH COMPASSION FOR THEM, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd.” As the day grew old the disciples wanted to send them away so they could buy food for supper but Jesus told them to feed them (verses 35-37). The disciples told Jesus they lacked the money to buy enough for the large crowd so Jesus asked them ‘How many loaves do you have?’ and they said, ‘Five, and two fish’ (verse 38). The Lord then commanded the multitudes to sit down in groups of hundreds and fifties and they sat down (verse 39-40).

Now we will read of the amazing miracle that Jesus performed. “And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all. So, they all ate and were filled” (verse 41). Skeptics have tried to explain away this obvious miracle but we take God’s Word at face value; Jesus LITERALLY took “Five loaves of bread and two fish” and fed 5,000 men PLUS their wives and children! How did He do this? By MULTIPLYING them! This was not hard for the One who earlier had “turned water into wine” (see John 2:1-11) and performed countless miracles of healing (see Mark 1:21-34). Yet He did not do this miracle to receive the praise of men; He multiplied the loaves and fishes TO MEET THE NEED OF MEN! We had read that He was “moved with compassion” and when He saw their need for food, He used His supernatural power to provide them with food. Yet notice, He first “looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them.” He looked to His heavenly Father and thanked Him before He multiplied the food, knowing that His Father was the Giver of “every good gift” (see James 1:17). Then He used His disciples to distribute the food among the multitudes. What is the lesson for us in this? Ah, I believe it teaches us that the Lord Jesus will provide for the food for men but He is pleased to USE HIS PEOPLE IN FEEDING THE WORLD. I’m not saying believers will be able to solve world hunger, but believers should be willing to meet the needs of some as the Lord enables them to do so (see Proverbs 22:9; Romans 12:20; Galatians 6:9-10; Hebrews 13:16).

What is the SPIRITUAL LESSON in this miracle? I would encourage you to read John 6:22-40. In that passage you will see that Jesus used that miracle to teach the people that He is “the BREAD OF LIFE” Who came down from heaven to give LIFE TO THE WORLD. He was on His way to the cross where He would “lay down His life in order to give men ETERNAL LIFE” if they would believe on Him. He went on to declare, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life, I am the bread of life…This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will LIVE FOREVER; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world…Most assuredly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. WHOEVER EATS MY FLESH AND DRINKS MY BLOOD HAS ETERNAL LIFE” (verse 47, 50-51, 53-54). We know that when one literally “eats bread” their body absorbs its nutrients and it sustains their life. But to gain “eternal life” one must, by faith, appropriate the death of Christ by believing He laid down His body of flesh on the cross to bear their sins (see 1st Peter 2:24) and that He shed His blood to redeem them (see 1st Peter 1:18-19). The very moment you believe you have eternal life (see John 3:16 and 5:24)!

There is one more “spiritual lesson” here. We saw that the Lord used His disciples to “literally feed the people with bread and fishes.” The Lord also wants to use His people to “feed people the Word of God” so they can partake of “the BREAD OF LIFE.” In other words, He wants us to “Go out into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15) so they can hear the gospel, eat the “bread of life” by faith, and have eternal life. May we, dear fellow-believer, be willing to take this “bread of life” that the Lord has graciously provided for those who are “dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1) and distribute it around the world.  (471.3)  (DO)