Summary: When all we have is a few loaves and fishes, God can help us feed a multitude.
Intro, Goal and Plan
What can we do with meager human resources? Is there an answer in the Gospels? Let’s understand the invisible dimension of life, Jesus. Let’s examine Matthew 14:13-21, the miracle of feeding the 5,000 and see how it applies to us today.
Matthew 14:13-14 He was Moved with Compassion
In Matthew 14:13-14 when confronted by a large crowd, we read that Jesus “was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.” As a Christian, I am ashamed of the sins of the Church. I admit that we too often lack compassion. A common fiction is that people are poor because they are lazy. Yet, honest analysis of the causes of poverty admits many other reasons including the poor being the victims of crime, overpopulation, low wages, inefficient distribution, corruption, bad education, environmental degradation, political oppression, colonialism, disease and war. The miracle of feeding the five thousand is a radical contradiction of selfish religion. Are we moved with compassion?
Matthew 14:15-16 You Give them Something
In Matthew 14:15-16 after the disciples wanted to send the crowds of people away, Jesus simply replied, “You give them something to eat.” Church potluck meals can be traced to Jesus feeding this crowd that had gathered on the north shore of the sea of Galilee. The disciples wanted to dismiss them, just as many of us would. Can we hear the selfish political lies? Kick ‘em out! Can we hear the ancient Greek lie that, God helps those who help themselves? Jesus said, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” Is Jesus inviting us to be givers instead of takers, compassionate instead of mean?
Matthew 14:17-18 We Only...
When confronted by a huge problem, we look at our resources and say, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” Like Elisha we need to lift our eyes to heaven, and behold, the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire all around. Like Ruth, we throw ourselves at the feet of our Redeemer and know that He will Provide. When everyone thinks we are insignificant, little people and laugh at us, God can give us the courage to slay the Goliaths in our lives with the smallest of weapons. When foolish people threaten to ruin our lives, like Abigail, God provides us with wisdom to save the day.
Matthew 14:17-18 Bring them Here
What does Jesus offer to do with our problems? In Matthew 14:17-18 as with the fish and loaves, He says, “Bring them here to Me.” “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you” (Psalm 55:22). “Fear not, I will help you” (Isaiah 41:13). “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6, 7). “He will feed His flock like a shepherd” (Isaiah 40:11). “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17).
Matthew 14:19 He Blessed
In Matthew 14:19 we read that, “looking up to heaven, He [Jesus] blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes.” A little boy had a packed lunch of 5 loaves of bread and two fish. He offered it to Jesus. Jesus blessed it and fed thousands. When we give thanks at a meal, we are not asking God to make bad food good. God created all things good. We acknowledge that we need God in our lives, that we live because of His Providence and we give thanks. When Jesus blessed the loaves and fishes, he was preparing an extraordinary Provision.
Matthew 14:20-21 They all Ate and were Filled
In Matthew 14:20-21 as Jesus fed the huge crowd we read, “they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained.” It reminds us of God’s providence in the wilderness. Communion reminds us of the one who provides our daily bread and the bread of eternal life, Jesus. Our weekly offering is like loaves and fishes. We ask God to multiply our efforts to feed way beyond our numbers. God will supply. We cannot provide what our community needs. We can only look to God’s Divine Providence. He allows us to assist in feeding His people and He multiplies our small offerings.
Our resources are small and the task is huge, but we are in the miracle business. We do not look to what we bring, but to our Lord’s Providence.