Have you ever had unexpected company show up at dinner time? Or have had people stay around longer than you anticipated and you knew they would need to be fed? I think most people would say, “It’s time to go to the store and get more food!” Can you imagine what it would be like if you had fifty families do that? How about five THOUSAND? We would be in a panic…but Jesus wasn’t!
On a certain day, a large amount of people were following Jesus and His disciples because they had seen the miracles of healing that He had been doing with the sick. I suspect there were additional sick in that crowd, possibly expecting Him to notice them.
When they were far away from town, away from the grocery stores and restaurants, Jesus asked Philip about feeding the group. I love the fact that it was Jesus, our provider (Phil. 4:19), who was the one who brought it to the attention of His disciples. He had an expectation that they should be concerned about the needs of others.
After these things Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias). 2 A large crowd followed Him, because they saw the signs which He was performing on those who were sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat down with His disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near. 5 Therefore Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?” 6 This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do. 7 Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little.” 8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, 9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much gr
ass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.11 Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted. 12 When they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” NASB
The purpose was to test their hearts to see if they were learning from Him. Philip was astonished with the idea of getting food for this number of men, women, and children (probably well over ten thousand). I wonder if Philip may have been involved with cooking for the group of disciples or in some capacity involved with food. Philip said if they had 200 denari [equivalent to buying a year supply of wheat, oil, and wind (the basics) for a family of four] worth of bread, everyone would only get a small amount and they would still be hungry! Philip’s admission was that there was a great need, but man was not able to fulfill that need.
Another disciple, Andrew heard the question and had seen that a boy had five barley loaves and two fish. He had a different perspective. He saw that there was some food but still not enough to feed everyone. Andrew said, “but what are these for so many people?” His conclusion was the same as Philip’s: there is a great need, but man was not able to fulfill that need.
Aren’t you glad that Jesus was not restrained by what man could not do, but He acted upon what God could do? Jesus called for everyone to come to supper table!
Our thought process is so very often limited to things “seen”, things that we think are logical without acknowledging God’s power and ability. We so often lack faith.
Jesus took the bread and fish and gave thanks for them. This version of the scripture says that He distributed the bread and fish to the people, as much as they wanted. I would have liked to see how that happened. As He walked among them, He gave each a loaf and each a fish; whole and what the individual needed.
Isn’t that how He distributes blessings to us now? He deals with us individually and specifically to our need. What is your need? The people were there for a reason, but I doubt they thought they would see something like this! They would see Jesus overcome the laws of nature and logic. What are those to the one who created all things?
The scripture says that when the people were filled (not the scrap that Philip thought), Jesus had them pick up the leftovers. Was it a coincidence that there were twelve baskets filled with fish and bread? Could it be that there was one basket for each unbelieving disciple?
So what was the conclusion of the people? “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Why was this important? In Deuteronomy 18:15 Moses proclaimed, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear.”
Jesus is the promised Messiah! No one else has fulfilled the scriptures as He has.
“for God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in him should perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Are you listening to Him?