Summary: How God uses ordinary people to perform miracles.
I admit that more times than not, I have stood in this position confessing my favorite scripture passages, but beyond a shadow of a doubt, this is one of my very favorites.
This story is undeniably God centered, God powered, God miraculous!
Jesus Christ takes what little we have…a simple lunch and feeds over 5,000 people with it.
The story of the loaves and fishes is a very familiar one to most Christians.
Here is Jesus Christ, out in the middle of nowhere, teaching, preaching, and healing, doing his thing, and to show us God’s awesome power and might, he creates enough food to feed all who were present.
Two weeks ago, a Pastor from Liberia came to attend our service, but he was late, so we talked in my office for a while.
He told me he is a missionary from Africa and he wants to build a relationship with us.
He also told me about how he is trying to reach souls for Christ in Africa.
We talked about the problems there with the civil war and starvation.
I was curious to know how he could reach people for Jesus when they are starving.
The answer is, you cannot.
You cannot tell people that Jesus will provide for you when you don’t have food to eat.
Here is Jesus’ example.
Jesus is teaching about the wonderful miracles of God.
But if people are starving, they’re going to find it hard to believe that God will provide for them.
As a part of Jesus’ ministry to the people, he feeds their souls and then their tummies.
Food is such an integral part of our daily lives, because obviously, without it, we cannot survive.
Jesus is even referred to as the bread of life because Jesus provides our very basic sustenance for eternal life which is salvation.
There have been scholarly studies about the numerical values in this story.
Five loaves and two fish add up to seven which is a heavenly number.
The number of baskets left after everyone had enough to eat was 12, the same as the number of disciples who originally followed Jesus.
Even Jesus’ actions were a foretaste of what would happen at the last supper.
Before Jesus distributed the bread, he gave thanks.
If we look at the original Greek text, the word used here is eucharist.
It is the same word Jesus used to give thanks when he broke bread with his disciples at the last supper.
The details of the feeding of the 5,000 are very significant, even that fact that the bread was barley.
If we go back to the Old Testament to 2 Kings, chapter 4, verses 42-44, we read about a similar story of God providing more than enough for all using simple barley bread, a man from Baal-shalishah, and a man named Elisha.
Here is the account:
“A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing food from the first fruits to the man of God; twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. Elisha said, “Give it to the people and let them eat.”
But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred people?”
So he repeated, “Give it to the people and let them eat, for thus says the Lord, “They shall eat and have some left.”
He set it before them, they ate, and had some left, according to the word of the Lord.”
God is so good.
God provides so much for us if we just trust him.
The servant in this story didn’t trust God, but Elisha did…
And out of Elisha’s trust in God, came God’s provisions and God’s miracles.
I cannot help but imagine what would have happened if Elisha had not trusted God.
Could Elisha have kept God from performing God’s miracles out of disbelief?
A well known author of prayer, Maxie Dunnham, says, yes.
He believes that often times, God is just waiting for us to pray.
God wants to act, but God is waiting for us to act first….out of love, out of faith, out of belief, out of trust.
That’s what God wants from us….God wants us to trust, and God will do the rest.
And when we have belief and trust in God, look what God can do with us.
Look at what God did with Elisha and a man from Baal-shalishah.
Look at what Jesus did with a simple little boy at Tabgah.
God wants to use us so desperately, if we only let Him and trust Him.
I don’t want to blow a horn here, the glory has to go to the performer of miracles…to God…to Jesus Christ….
I have personally witnessed such miracles of providing food at a soup kitchen in Pottsville, where there was not enough food prepared for all who came, but somehow, the pot did not get empty as the ladle kept dipping for all who were hungry and there was some left after everyone had their fill.