Lessons Learned from the Feeding of the Five Thousand
The topic we're going to close out today with comes from the New Testament. We're going to look at one of the most well-known miracles of Jesus. That is the feeding of the five thousand. This is one of the only lessons of Jesus that is found in all four of the gospels. With the other being the resurrection.
It's important to note that everything, for the most part, that happens in these accounts matches up with the other accounts. I say that because sometimes Matthew will record a miracle, but he'll move to something that happens at another time. While Mark might record a miracle and what immediately follows.
Let's look at the definition of a miracle.
Miracle: a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be a work of a Divine agency.
In other words, an event that breaks the laws of nature. We know it can't have been done by humans because humans can't break the laws of nature. We know that it was done by a higher being. Another thing to note is that they were not done by accident or for selfish gain.
This is the miracle of feeding 5000 people. The miracle isn't about feeding 5000, but rather what He used and what He didn't use.
As we go throughout the sermon we'll have two main points; the before, during, and after events of this miraculous feeding of five thousand. Then, we'll look at the takeaway and application that we can see from the different groups of people in this event.
Before the Feeding of the Five Thousand
- Luke 9:1-5
Jesus doesn't sugarcoat things as he talks about them going out, they are going to be rejected. There were those who wondered who Jesus was.
- Mark 6:14
Herod said or Jesus, that John was risen from the dead. Herod had put John to death. Herod had mixed feelings about John.
- Matthew 14:5
Herod had wanted to put John to death but had mixed feelings. When his step-daughter danced for him, and he offered her up to half the kingdom, and her mother prompted her to ask for John's head on a platter.
Historically, in the book of Josephus, we see that this event of John's beheading is recorded in historical documents.
During the Feeding of Five Thousand
This is after hearing of the news of John the Baptist, Jesus seeing the reality of those who live and preach the truth. That's what was going to happen to Jesus soon, and what would happen to most of his apostles.
- Matthew 14:22-24
Jesus offers them a time of rest, they went off to rest. Yet, the people, the multitude, followed Him.
These people were so eager to see Jesus that they outran the boat that Jesus was arriving on. Jesus could have sent them away, but rather, He was moved with compassion.
- Mark 6:34
He could have been angry and sent them away, but He showed love toward them. That's who Jesus is, He is the Good Shepherd, John 10:11.
- Mark 6:35-37
This was a very large group of people. This would have taken a miracle. A miracle isn't something that can be done by man, it had to be done by a higher power. But, Jesus already knew what He was going to do.
- John 6:5-6, 7
Jesus seeing the multitude, asked Philip wear they would buy bread to feed the people. Even though, Jesus already knew what he would do.
- John 6:8
Andrew, looking around, sees a lad with two small fish, and five loaves of bread. That might make a meal for one person or a small snack. The lad would have been a small child. Think of how easy it would be to mock the child with these small items.
Think about today, this being a small child, it can be said to you today... him? He's not mature enough to do things in the church today for God. What does he have to offer, now? What can she do now? Often, it's said that the youth is the future of the church. But, the reality is we as young people are not just the future of the church. We ARE the church, now. We need to make sure we are acting like it and doing everything we can to serve God.
Even as a child if you don't have much to offer, there is always something you can do.
He didn't have the two hundred denarii that was needed. But he did do what he could. He gave what he had.
- Galatians 6:10
It's not about how much you give, but the fact that you give that is important. We think this boy is a small, seemingly insignificant part of this, yet he played a big role in what happened.
Jesus divides the people up.
- Matthew 14:19-21
The 5000 number didn't even include women and children. We don't know the total amount that he fed. This miracle wasn't just about what he used, but rather what he didn't use. Jesus used five loaves and two fish to satisfy the needs of thousands of people. Yet, there were 12 baskets left over. He used what the young boy had, to feed this great multitude of people.
After the Feeding of the Five Thousand
- Matthew 14:22-33
He sends his apostles away by boat and the multitudes away so he could pray. While they were on the sea a storm arises. Jesus walks toward the boat. Peter, the only one willing to come out of the boat.
Where is our focus when we face different storms of life? We need to make sure we keep our focus on Jesus.
- Matthew 14:29
Remember that some of His apostles were fishermen. They were in their element, they were used to storms.
- John 6:6
Jesus knew what He was doing. He sent the apostles out into the boat. He fed the people, He walked on the water, and invited Peter to walk on the water, and calmed the sea. All this was to show them that truly He is the Son of God.
Notice, when he got into the boat, they said, "Truly you are the Son of God."
Compare that to what Herod said, that He must be John who was risen from the dead or one of the prophets. But, no, Jesus is the Son of God.
- John 6:24-30
Notice, these were the people who had seen the feeding of the five thousand. They likely had seen other miracles. They ask for another sign. They had seen and they continue to ask him for signs. While we need that evidence to believe we have to be honest with the evidence. They saw the miracles that He had performed, and they still wanted more.
The Application of the Lesson on the Feeding of Five Thousand
Lessons from the Crowd
They were so eager to see Jesus they ran ahead of the boat. Are we so eager to find Jesus that we're running to meet Him, to read His word, to serve Him?
- 2 Timothy 3:12
They were following him or physical nourishment, but what is our nourishment?
- John 4:34
Can we say the same thing? That our food is to serve God? His food is to do the will of the father. Is that our life? Is our food to be willingly ready to serve God.
Lessons from the Apostles
After being honest with the evidence once it was shown they were willing to admit that He was the Christ. There are many people who are not willing to admit that He is the Christ and this, sadly, happens even today.
Lessons from Jesus
1) Jesus showed compassion.
In two of the accounts, Jesus saw to their physical needs.
- Matthew 14:14
He healed the sick and fed the multitude. He cared for them physically, and their physical needs.
- Mark 6:44
He cared for their spiritual needs as well. This is what a good shepherd does.
2) Jesus is a man of prayer.
We see it when he prayed, blessing the bread and then giving it to the disciples.
But, in Matthew 14 he also went alone to pray.
Lessons from the Lad
There are two words to describe the lad. The first, submissive. He could have made the choice to keep the food to himself, to hide it from the other people. This young boy didn't need the miracle, he already had the nourishment. He was submissive and gave up all that he had.
Submission isn't about being weak, it's about humility, being willing to put others first.
The second word is trusting. He wasn't the one who needed the miracle. What if he gave the food to the apostles and didn't get any back? No, he trusted Jesus enough to give up his sustenance to let Jesus do what He did.
Are we truly submissive to give everything we have to serve Him? Are we trusting enough to give all that we have to the Lord?
- Galatians 2:20
- 2 Corinthians 5:15
Jesus didn't die so that we could continue to live as we want to live. He died so that we can live as He wants us to live.
We've looked at one of the most well-known miracles of Jesus and looked at the people who surrounded this event.
We've talked about God, or Jesus asking individuals what they had in their hand, Moses, with the rod, David with a sling, and the lad with the fish. These seem like insignificant items, but God used them for something great.
God doesn't speak to us directly today, but what if He did, what if He asked what was in your hand? What do you have to use? What would your response be? Would you hide what you had to offer? Would you willingly give? Would you trust that and glorify Him in whatever way we can?
God has given His Word into our hands. It is the rod, that is our comfort. It is the sling, that is our weapon. It is the bread and fish that are our nourishment. What are we going to do with it? It has been placed in our hands.
What are we going to do with what He's placed in our hands? The first thing we can do is obey the gospel. That is believing that Jesus is the Christ by repenting of your sins and confessing that you believe that Jesus truly is the Christ. And, by being immersed in water being baptized for the remission of your sins. And, living faithfully.
We can also go out and take the gospel to others, to teach others. That is the great commission as found in Matthew 28, and what Paul told Timothy to do in 2 Timothy 4:2.
Today, if you would like to become a Christian or need prayers to follow the teaching of Jesus faithfully, please contact us.