Then he told his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” They did what he said, and had them all sit down. Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed and broke them. He kept giving them to the disciples to set before the crowd. Everyone ate and was filled. They picked up twelve baskets of leftover pieces (9:14b-17 CSB).
Jesus is someone who is able to satisfy (9:12-17). This is the only miracle, except Christ’s resurrection, that is recorded in all Four Gospels. Clearly the Holy Spirit considers this to be a significant event. Consider also that this miracle occurs within the context of Jesus seeking to provide his disciples with rest. This is another example of his compassion. Notice also that Jesus welcomed the crowds.
Christ demonstrated their insufficiency (9:12-14a). The disciples acted in a manner that is psychologically and emotionally accurate. They were tired after their journey and the long day, and they were concerned about the people. As they heard their own stomachs growling, they thought of others being hungry.
The Lord Jesus seized this opportunity to teach his disciples and to provide for another teaching occasion with the crowds. (He also gave what is called “The Bread of Life Discourse” in John 6 following this; first came the sign and then the word to explain it). Luke focuses on the apostles. It’s as if Jesus said, “Good thinking, men! Now what are you going to do about it?” The apostles look at their own resources and present two facts to show their own insufficiency.
- First, Philip takes out his “smartphone”, opens the “calculator app”, and figures out that it would take eight months wages to feed a crowd that large. “We don’t have that much money!”
- Second, Andrew finds a boy who still has five small loaves of bread and two fish. Obviously, that’s not enough to feed the crowd. “We only have a little!”
If you look at your own resources, you are only going to see how much you need and how little you have. We will never attempt great things for God with that kind of outlook. To follow the Lord requires faith. Jesus acted in this way to lead them to him, to the One who could provide and for whom they could minister to others in need. Too often Christians become mired in talk of “we never did that before” or “we could never do that”. And so the world goes on unreached into deeper evil, while the church is stuck in her lack of vision and faith in the Lord. It is imperative that we break out of this swamp of depression immediately! The current pandemic is a time to believe and to obey.
The Lord Jesus demonstrated his all-sufficiency (9:14b-17).
- Christ prayed and gave thanks (cf. John 6:11) for the food. His prayer pointed people to seek God for the meeting of their needs. Jesus was always “making room” for God in the lives of people.
- Then he constantly broke the bread and the fish, while the apostles passed the food out as the people sat in one hundred rows of fifty each. “They all ate and were filled or satisfied!” Everyone had enough, and each apostle had his own lunch box filled.
Who, then, is this Jesus? Clearly, he has a great message and a great vision, but he is also able to greatly satisfy! Is the lunch box of your heart empty? Jesus is able to satisfy, though money, possessions, vacations, entertainment, sports, drugs, alcohol, and sex cannot. Think about our current situation. People cannot go on vacation, cannot watch live sporting events, and cannot go out for entertainment, like casinos, bars, and movies. It is an excellent opportunity to evaluate how you’ve been spending your life. Why not change your mind about your life, turn and trust in Christ, and receive a full life? Christian, why not use this time to make the Lord the center of your life and lifestyle? Focus on the Lord today. Look at a world filled with fear and hate, and then get down on your knees and plead with God for mercy! Pray for the salvation of men and women, and girls and boys everywhere.