After all these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberius.
Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed in those who were diseased. And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples.
Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. Then Jesus lifted up His eyes and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. Philip answered him, " Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little." One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?"
Then Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.
So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost." Therefore they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world."
We all know the story of the feeding of the five thousand, how five loaves of bread and a couple fish were multiplied as another sign or miracle that Jesus performed that many might believe. The five thousand listed here were men. That did not include any women or children that might have also been there. So the number would be greatly enlarged.
In our flesh we look for signs. It's human nature to want to be able to see something. Look at doubting Thomas; he had to see Jesus' wounds before believing He had risen from the dead. Taking someone at their word doesn't always work. It must be why coming to Christ can be difficult. We need to see the miracle.
So we are tested, like He tested His disciples. When we come to Christ, often it is at a time when we are at our lowest. At a time where all hope is lost, we can do no more on our own and we need to take our minds off the situation and look for another way out. Or should I say look for the other Way out?
I was reminded of Psalm 23 as I read that Jesus asked His disciples to make them sit down and all the grass that was in that place: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters... You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies...My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. He gives. Like the living water, He offers the living bread. Both satisfy. He offers a banquet table of spiritual blessings.
Nothing we have in the world is sufficient. Jesus offers us the bread in this story to people who were searching. A multitude showed up on this mountain. They had to have walked. They had to have been determined. Oh, they wanted the literal bread, they wanted healing, but He wanted to offer more. He offered His words of salvation, words of life. Not by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from My mouth (Matthew 4:4, Deuteronomy 8:3). There was not enough bread in the natural but Jesus performed a miracle that they might believe. He still has the same bread to offer that is enough for all.
The fact that there was not enough food to feed these people, to me, points out that we do not have much to give. We cannot work for our salvation. It comes in a time of our greatest need, when we have nothing left of ourselves. He alone gives us all we need and He has as much as we need. When we take what He has and realize we have been filled, that is the miracle, another life saved.
Lord, let all who are in such great need today come to You. Fill them with the bread and water that brings life. Let the words You have written, preached and have asked others to share alongside You be taken into hearts. All these things are offered that we might receive life and Your goodness and mercy, that You might be glorified, that the miracle of life is seen.
Philippians 4:19-20 - And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.