Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the apostle John. More specifically today’s passage is found in the first fifty-nine verses of the sixth chapter. “After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. And the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of the disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men 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 to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the miracles that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone” (John 6:1-15).
“And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea, and entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid. Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went” (John 6:16-21).
“The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone; (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks) When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou higher? Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed” (John 6:22-27).
“Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? What dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this isi the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:28-40).
“The Jews them murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It. Is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any many hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:41-51).
“The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum” (John 6:52-59).
FROM EARTHLY BREAD TO SPIRITUAL BREAD! BREAD OF THE FATHERS! BREAD OF THR GENERATION OF THE MESSIAH! THE BREAD MOSES GAVE! THE BREAD JESUS GAVE! FROM FOLLOWING TO FORSAKING! FROM MINISTRY ON LAND TO TOIL IN THE SEA! FROM MINISTRY ON LAND TO STRUGGLING IN THE STORM! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find one of the miracles which Jesus performed and which is recorded in each of the other gospel narratives being written by the apostle John. In each of the Synoptic gospels you will find each of the authors writing about a great multitude of people who gathered themselves unto Jesus at a specific time during His earthly ministry. As you read each of the four gospels—specifically the gospel narrative which was written by the apostle Matthew—you will find and discover that Jesus was no stranger to ministry among the crowds. Time and time again Jesus would find Himself surrounded and inundated by great crowds and great multitudes of people who would gather themselves together unto Him. Throughout the public life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ we find a great number of men and women gathering themselves unto Him for to hear and listen to the words He would teach and speak unto them. What’s more is that there would be countless times when great crowds and multitudes of people would gather themselves together unto Jesus that they might find and experience ministry within their own personal lives and physical bodies. In fact, I would dare say that much of Jesus’ ministry was spent among the crowds as He would continually be one who was moved with compassion toward them. It made very little difference if Jesus took His disciples apart together with Him to rest and to pray for He would continually give Himself unto the great crowds of people who came unto Him seeking healing, deliverance, wholeness, strength, and so much more.
What you find in the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John is essentially the fourth rendition and fourth account of Jesus’ ministry unto and feeding of the five thousand. As you begin reading the sixth chapter of this gospel you will find that after those things which took place within the city of Jerusalem—after Jesus had healed the man who had suffered from an infirmity for thirty and eight years on the sabbath by commanding him to rise, take up his mat and walk and after Jesus had directly confronted the Jews who sought to persecute Him because of it—Jesus would go over the sea of Galilee which was also known as the sea of Tiberias. That which the apostle John writes and records in this passage of Scripture is that there was a great multitude of people which followed Him because they saw His miracles which He did on them that were diseased. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of what is found within the opening verses of this passage of Scripture for although we find a great multitude of people following Jesus we find them following Him because they saw the great miracles which He did on them which were diseased. This great group of people would indeed follow Jesus to the other side of the sea of Galilee because of what they had heard and witnessed concerning Him—how He had wrought healing and miracles within the lives of those who were diseased within their physical bodies and suffered from all manner of illness and disease. This great multitude of people which would come after Jesus did so because of what they heard He had done and perhaps sought to see who this Jesus was and/or perhaps even to experience healing within their own physical bodies. The apostle John makes it perfectly clear within this passage of Scripture that this great multitude of people gathered themselves unto and followed Jesus over the sea of Tiberias because they had indeed heard a report concerning that which Jesus did. Oh it is this report and what they heard concerning the Lord Jesus Christ that prompts me to present you with the words which are found in the fifty-third chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah:
“Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lam to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong: because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of man, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:1-12).
Within this particular portion of Old Testament text we find and encounter the prophet Isaiah prophesying and proclaiming perhaps one of the greatest prophetic declarations concerning the Messiah and the Christ. Having already prophesied the Messiah would be born unto a virgin and would bear the name Immanuel he would now prophesy of the Messiah’s suffering—and not only of the Messiah’s suffering but also of how the Messiah would surely carry our griefs and sorrows. Moreover the prophet Isaiah would prophesy a powerful word concerning the Messiah and how it would be by His stripes that we are healed. The words we find in this portion of Scripture are entirely and altogether astounding when you take the time to consider them for they call and draw our attention to the tremendous truth concerning the suffering of the Messiah and what that suffering would mean—not only in terms of making atonement for our iniquities and transgressions but also for the griefs and sorrows we carry. Not only this but it would be through the suffering of the Messiah that we would find and experienced healing for the prophet Isaiah would emphatically declare that it would be by His stripes that we are indeed healed. We must needs recognize and understand this for throughout the public life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ we find Him working miracles and healing countless men and women of their diseases, sickness, and infirmities. Within the first five chapters of the gospel narrative written by the apostle John we find Jesus healing the nobleman’s son when this desperate father came unto Jesus beseeching Him to come with him unto his home that his child might not die. What Jesus would do was speak the word that would bring about the healing and restoration within the physical body of this nobleman’s son and he would fully and completely recover. Moreover, it would be in the fifth chapter we find Jesus healing a man at the pool of Bethesda who had an infirmity for thirty and eight years.
It is absolutely necessary that we pay attention to what is found in the fifth and sixth chapters of this New Testament gospel for the book itself is a powerful book of contrasts and differences between those during Jesus’ day. As you read the words which are found in the fifth chapter of this New Testament gospel you will find Jesus healing this man who had suffered from an infirmity for thirty and eight years and doing so on the sabbath. When Jesus found this man in the Temple and not only spoke of his healing and wholeness but also warned him not to sin lest something worse and greater come upon him he would proclaim unto the Jews that it was Jesus who healed him on the sabbath. The apostle John writes and records how when the Jews discovered and learned that it was Jesus who had healed this man and had done so on the sabbath they began persecuting Him. Not only this but when Jesus responded to them by declaring how His Father worked and He too had to work they not only sought to persecute Him but also sought to kill Him. We must needs recognize and pay close attention to this particular passage for there is a strong and stark contrast between what took place here in the fifth chapter and what took place in the sixth chapter. It is absolutely necessary that we understand the context surrounding Jesus’ healing of this man on the sabbath day for it so angered and infuriated the Jews that they would begin persecuting Him because of it. Their persecution would increase all the more when they would hear Jesus declare unto them how His Father worked and how He Himself must also work. This statement which Jesus made concerning His Father working and He Himself working would be the catalyst for the anger of the Jews toward and against Him as they would seek to persecute and kill Him. Consider if you will the words which are found in the fifth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John:
“Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel” (John 5:8-20).
In the fifth chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative we find Jesus healing this man who suffered with and from this infirmity for thirty and eight years, and His doing so on the sabbath. It would be Jesus’ healing of this man on the sabbath day that would so anger and infuriate the Jews in Judaea and Jerusalem they would actually begin persecuting Him as a result of it. This persecution would quickly escalate to their seeking to destroy and kill Him when He made the declaration that His Father worked and He Himself must also work. When the Jews there in Judaea and Jerusalem heard these words—not only did they persecute Him but they also sought to kill Him. It is absolutely necessary and imperative we recognize and pay attention to this as it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous contrast that is found in the sixth chapter. Whereas in the fifth chapter we find the Jews in Judaea and Jerusalem seeking to persecute and kill Jesus because He healed on the sabbath and because He declared that God was His Father we find in the sixth chapter a great multitude of people following Jesus because they saw the miracles which He did on them that were diseased. The text within this particular gospel seems to suggest that when Jesus arrived on the other side of the sea of Galilee there was a great multitude of people who gathered themselves unto Jesus and followed Him because they heard the miracles which He Himself had performed and wrought upon the sick. Please do not miss and lose sight of this for while in the fifth chapter we find the Jews persecuting and seeking to kill Jesus because He healed on the sabbath and made Himself equal with God we find in the sixth chapter a great multitude of people following Jesus because of what they saw concerning the miracles which Jesus had performed in the lives of those who were sick and diseased. It is with this in mind I feel compelled to call and draw your attention to the following words which are found in the final verses of the ninth and eleventh chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew:
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:35-38).
“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:25-30).
In the ninth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew we find Jesus teaching in the synagogues where He went, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. What the apostle Matthew writes immediately after this was great multitudes gathering themselves unto Jesus during those days and Jesus being moved with compassion on them because they fainted and were scattered abroad. Jesus would look out upon the great multitudes of people which were before Him and saw them as sheep without shepherd. It would be Jesus’ seeing the great multitudes of people as sheep without a shepherd that would cause Him to speak unto His disciples and proclaim unto them that the harvest is truly plenteous and yet the labourers are few. Not only this but Jesus would also instruct them to pray the Lord of the harvest that He might send forth labourers into the midst of it. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and pay close attention to this for in the eleventh chapter of this gospel we find Jesus offering an invitation to all those who laboured or felt they were labouring—and not only all those who laboured but also those who were heavy laden. Jesus offered a profound and powerful invitation unto all those who were burdened and overwhelmed within their hearts, within their minds, within their souls, and within their physical bodies and offered them rest—and not only rest but also rest for their souls. Jesus would declare unto them that He was meek and lowly in heart and would then invite them to take His yoke upon them for His yoke was easy and His burden was light.
It is this concept of rest—and not only rest but also Jesus being our shepherd that prompts me to call and draw your attention to a familiar psalm within the Old Testament poetic book of the Psalms as well as a passage which is found in the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel. I am absolutely and completely convinced that if we are to truly understand that which is found in the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John we must needs also turn and direct our attention to the words which are found and recorded within these two passages of Scripture for it is what we find within these two passages of Scripture that help serve as a foundation for what we find Jesus doing on the other side of the sea of Galilee. There would indeed be something Jesus would do on the other side of the sea of Galilee and it would have a direct foundation in the language we find within these Old Testament passages of Scripture. In the twenty-third chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms we find the familiar and beloved psalm written by David acknowledging the LORD as his shepherd. It is in the thirty-fourth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel we find the prophet prophesying and speaking on behalf of the LORD unto the shepherds over and in the midst of His people—and not only unto the shepherds in the midst of the people of Israel but also how the LORD was and would be their shepherd who would feed, watch over and take care of them. Oh it is with this in mind I now invite you to turn and direct your attention to the following words which are found in both of these Old Testament passages of Scripture beginning with that which is before us in the book of the Psalms:
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth 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” (Psalm 23:1-6).
“And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the LORD God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the fact of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; As I live, saith the LORD God, surely because my flock because a prey, and my flock became meat to ever beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the LORD God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them. For thus saith the LORD God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the LORD God. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment. And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the LORD God; Behold, I Judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the goats. Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? And to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet? And as for my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet. Therefore thus saith the LORD God unto them; Behold, I even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle. Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad; therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it” (Ezekiel 34:1-24).
I, EVEN I, WILL BOTH SEARCH MY SHEEP, AND SEEK THEM OUT! SO WILL I SEEK OUT MY SHEEP! DELIVER THEM OUT OF ALL PLACLES WHERE THEY HAVE BEEN SCATTERED IN THE CLOUDY AND DARK DAY! I WILL BRING THEM OUT! GATHER THEM FROM THE COUNTRIES! BRING THEM TO THEIR OWN LAND! FEED THEM UPON THE MOUNTAINS OF ISRAEL BY THE RIVERS! I WILL FEED THEM IN A GOOD PASTURE! UPON THE HIGH MOUNTAINS OF ISRAEL SHALL THEIR FOLD BE! THERE SHALL THEY LIE IN A GOOD FOLD! IN A FAT PASTURE SHALL THEY FEED UPON THE MOUNTAINS OF ISRAEL! I WILL FEED MY FLOCK! I WILL CAUSE THEM TO LIE DOWN! I WILL SEEK THAT WHICH WAS LOST! BRING AGAIN THAT WHICH WAS DRIVEN AWAY! BIND UP THAT WHICH WS BROKEN! STRENGTHEN THAT WHICH WAS SICK!
Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of what is found in this passage of Scripture for within it—not only do we find the LORD having a controversy with the shepherds which were among the people who cared nothing for the sheep but only for themselves. That which we find in this passage of Scripture is an incredibly powerful picture of the LORD’s controversy with the earthly and natural shepherds which were over the sheep of His pasture which were His people Israel. The LORD through the prophet Ezekiel would proclaim His indictment and judgment against and upon the shepherds at the beginning of this passage of Scripture and would then wonderfully and powerfully transition to His speaking directly unto the sheep themselves. The LORD saw His sheep as being a people weak, bruised, scattered and mistreated and He Himself would rise up and shepherd them. In the twenty-third chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms we find David speaking of the LORD as being his shepherd and declaring of the LORD that because He was His shepherd He would not be in want. What’s more is that David would also declare of the LORD how He made him to lie down in green pastures and would lead him beside still waters. The words which David spoke in the twenty-third Psalm must be carefully understood for even within this passage in the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel we find this link and connection between the LORD Himself being the shepherd of Israel as well as David being a shepherd whom the LORD would raise up over His people. Within this prophetic book of Ezekiel we find the LORD wonderfully and powerfully declaring unto His people that which He would do for them as their shepherd. The LORD would indeed and would in fact search for His sheep and would seek them out that He might deliver them out of all the places where they were scattered. What’s more is that the LORD would indeed and would in fact bring them into their own land where He would care for, nurture and feed them.
It is with all of this in mind I invite you to consider the words which are found in the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John for in the opening verses of the sixth chapter we find a great multitude of people following Jesus because they saw His miracles which He did on them which were diseased. If you turn and direct your attention back to the fourteenth chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find Him writing how Jesus and the disciples departed by ship unto a place apart—perhaps to find a place of rest and quiet for themselves. As would happen so often the multitudes of people would catch wind of Jesus’ movement and would flock to where He was. The apostle Matthew would even go on to declare how the great multitude which followed Jesus came out of the cities which were present round about the sea of Galilee. As Jesus would go forth He saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion toward them and healed their sick. We dare not and must not miss what is presented before us in this passage of Scripture for what we find here is an incredibly powerful picture of what exactly took place there and how it directly ties together with the words which David spoke in the twenty-third Psalm as well as what the LORD would declare through His prophet and servant Ezekiel. The apostle Matthew wrote how Jesus was moved with compassion upon this great multitude which would gather themselves unto Him and how He would heal their sick. In fact, when you read both of these narratives together you get the sense that this great multitude of people gathered themselves unto Jesus because they saw how He had healed those which were diseased and how Jesus would heal those sick which were present within this multitude.
In the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative which was written by the apostle John we find a great multitude of people gathering themselves unto and following Jesus because they had seen the great miracles which He had wrought and performed among those which were diseased. This great crowd and multitude would gather themselves together unto the Lord Jesus Christ because they had indeed heard and seen all the great miracles which He Himself had performed among the sick during those days. The apostle John goes on to write and record how Jesus went up into a high mountain where He would sit together with His disciples—something which we must needs recognize and understand when we think about the words which are found in the thirty-fourth chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel. It is in the thirty-fourth chapter of this prophetic book we find it written how the LORD Himself would feed His people upon the high mountains of Israel and here in this portion of Scripture we find Jesus going up into a mountain together with the disciples and there sitting down together with them. What makes this particular passage truly interesting is when you read how after Jesus had sat down upon this mountain together with His disciples He would look and see a great multitude which were coming unto Him. Upon seeing this great multitude coming unto Him he would speak unto Philip and ask him from where they ought to buy bread that the multitude might eat? Please don’t miss what is found in this passage of Scripture as it suggests Jesus’ desire to not only heal all those who were sick and diseased but also to feed them. If there is one thing I can’t help but be incredibly gripped and captivated by it’s the fact that the apostle Matthew—one who was present at this particular point in time—wrote how Jesus healed all those who came unto Him as he was moved with compassion toward them. The apostle John—one who was also present there with the Lord Jesus—would write how Jesus would see the great company coming toward Him and would be interested in how they would feed this great multitude.
If there is one thing I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated by when I read these words it’s that there is no mention of Jesus healing those who gathered themselves unto Him on this particular occasion, however, we do find a great and pressing desire within the heart of Jesus to feed this multitude. Jesus would see this multitude gathering themselves unto Him and His main and underlying focus and desire was how they would feed those who had gathered themselves unto Him. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this particular truth as it draws and calls our attention to the Lord’s desire to feed this multitude and to provide for their earthly and natural needs. Jesus undoubtedly recognized that the great multitude of people were not only hungry but were also tired and weary. Scripture goes on to reveal how Jesus was not willing to send the crowd away without feeding them for the threat and danger of many of them fainting along the way was incredibly great. Many of these who had gathered themselves together unto the Lord Jesus on this particular day had traveled a great distance and if they had departed and/or been sent away at that point many would have fainted along the way. Scripture is very clear that Jesus was not willing to send this great multitude away fainting and fasting and instead sought to feed and fill them. FROM FAINTING AND FASTING TO FED AND FULL!
In the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John we find Jesus seeing the great company and great multitude of people coming toward Him and immediately asking Philip from where they would buy bread that the multitude of people might eat. This is absolutely necessary to think about and consider for Jesus’ desire for the multitude was not only to heal them but also to feed them. Jesus was not willing to send the crowd away fasting for He knew and understood that many of them would indeed faint along the way. Imagine what it would and could have been like to come unto Jesus and receive physical healing within your body and yet to faint along the way after leaving His presence because you were tired, hungry and weary. Oh in all reality I can’t help but think about how many individuals among us within this generation have faced and experienced this particular reality within their own lives. They have gathered themselves together unto us and have received healing and wholeness within their physical bodies and yet they have fainted along the way because they have not been fed. I absolutely love reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for what we find here is an incredibly powerful picture of the Lord Jesus being unwilling to let the great multitude of people which had gathered themselves together unto Him to depart from his presence and return unto their homes fasting and fainting. Oh I would dare say that despite the vast number of churches and houses of worship which are present among us within our culture and society today there are a number of men and women who are departing and returning unto their homes fasting and fainting because they are not being fed. I am absolutely and completely convinced there are men and women among us within our generation today who might very well gather together in our churches and houses of worship and have been forced to depart fainting and fasting because the “shepherds” did not and perhaps even were not willing to feed them.
What is so incredibly powerful about the words found in this passage of Scripture is that the sixth chapter of this New Testament gospel would indeed begin with an invitation unto rest and an offer to partake of physical bread and would eventually transition to an offer for spiritual bread. Much like the fourth chapter of this gospel would begin with the natural and physical water that would be present within Jacob’s well and natural thirst and would transition into a place where Jesus would speak of spiritual and living water and everlasting life and never thirsting again so also would this passage begin in the natural and quickly transition into the supernatural and spiritual. It is absolutely necessary that we read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for what we find here is Jesus offering to feed this great company and multitude of people with earthly and natural bread and yet taking and transitioning this to an offer and invitation to feed them with spiritual bread—bread which Moses himself did not and could not offer unto their fathers in the wilderness. It is truly astonishing to read the words found in this passage of Scripture and to consider how it would not only touch upon Jesus’ feeding the great crowd and multitude with physical bread but it would also look back to Moses feeding their fathers with manna and Jesus’ offer and invitation to feed them with living bread—bread which He would describe and refer to as His own flesh.
The words which we find in the sixth chapter of this New Testament gospel are incredibly powerful when you take the time to think about and consider them for as you read them you will essentially read of three different offers to provide bread for the people. As I read the words which are found in this portion of Scripture I can’t help but see an earthly invitation to provide bread for men which would not only point to bread which was offered in the wilderness unto the children of Israel during the days of Moses but also that which would point to the living bread which Jesus would offer unto all those who would believe on and come unto Him. The more you read the words found in this passage of Scripture the more you will encounter the truth surrounding Jesus inviting this great crowd of people into a place of rest—and not merely into a place of rest but also a place of rest where He would feed them. I cannot help but read the words found in this text and be brought face to face with the incredibly awesome and powerful truth that not only did Jesus desire to feed this great multitude of people which had gathered themselves unto Him but in order to feed them he needed to invite them into a place of rest before Him. You cannot read the words which are found in this text and not encounter the absolutely awesome and powerful truth that while it was indeed true Jesus desired to feed this multitude which had gathered themselves unto Him He first needed to invite them into a place of rest in that place. This great multitude of people had indeed and had in fact gathered themselves unto Him because they had seen all the great miracles which He had performed among those which were diseased and when they had gathered themselves together unto Jesus He purposed within Himself to feed them.
What makes this particular narrative and account so unique—particularly and especially when you consider it in light of the other three accounts—is that in this passage you find Jesus actually initiating the miracle and dialogue concerning the multitude. In the former gospels we find and read how the disciples urged Jesus to send the crowds away that they might buy food and bread to eat as some of them traveled great distances to come unto Him. Jesus would respond unto His disciples by declaring that they did not need to go away and depart and then instructed and commanded them to feed them. When you read the words found in the gospel narrative written by the apostle John you will find Jesus actually looking upon the crowd and asking Philip where they would buy bread that the whole crowd and multitude might eat. The apostle John writes how Jesus asked this question of Philip because He desired to prove him for He himself already knew what he was going to do. Jesus already knew about the young lad with the five loaves of bread and the two fish and Jesus already knew that He was going to use this to feed this great multitude. At the wedding at Cana of Galilee Jesus would turn and transform water into wine that the guests and all those present at the wedding and marriage might drink and partake. Upon this mountain we do not find Jesus turning water into wine but rather we find Jesus taking five loaves of bread and two fish, blessing and breaking it, and distributing it unto the disciples to in turn give it unto the crowds. When Jesus asked Philip where they would buy bread that they might feed the people he responded by declaring how two hundred pennyworth of bread would not be sufficient for them that every man might eat a little. It’s quite unique and telling to think about the fact that Philip saw the crowd only being fed a little and yet Jesus saw the crowd eating and being filled and full.
If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s that the Lord Jesus Christ didn’t merely desire to feed this great multitude of people a little. Jesus didn’t desire to merely give them a sampling of the bread which he would bless and break nor did He desire to give them a sampling of the fish which He would also bless and break. Jesus desired to feed this crowd and not only feed them but feed them to the full that all might eat and leave full. Perhaps one of the greatest truths we can find in this passage of Scripture is that when Jesus desires to feed the great crowds and multitudes He doesn’t just do so halfheartedly. It is absolutely remarkable and astonishing to read the words found in this passage of Scripture and to discover how Jesus already knew and understood within Himself that which He was going to do and how He would both bless and break the loaves of bread and the fish that the whole crowd might eat until they were will. It’s worth noting the disciples themselves couldn’t see how this great crowd and multitude could be fed even a little much less to the full. The disciples themselves could not understand how this great crowd of people could eat but just a little and yet Jesus didn’t see this crowd eating only a little but eating much until they were all full. What makes this all the more remarkable when you read the words is that the disciples couldn’t even see the crowd and multitude being fed a little and saw what they thought would be needed to feed this great multitude of people. The disciples thought that a great sum of money would be needed to feed this multitude of people and yet what Jesus showed and demonstrated unto them was that money was not and would not be needed to feed this crowd of people.
As I sit here today thinking about this passage I find it incredibly intriguing to think about how the disciples thought and perceived that a great sum of money would be needed to buy enough bread to feed the multitude. Not only this but even when Philip mentioned a specific dollar amount that would be needed and used to buy bread he would speak of it as being enough to feed the crowd only a little. One of the greatest truths surrounding this passage is that Philip saw a specific sum of money and it being used to feed the crowd only a little and Andrew who was Simon Peter’s brother spoke of a young lad who had give barley loaves of bread and two small fishes and would then ask what those were in light of so many people. Please pay close attention to this as it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding Philip seeing a certain dollar amount that would be needed to feed the crowd only a little and Andrew Simon Peter’s brother saw the five loaves of bread and two small fish as not being enough to satisfy the whole crowd. Philip thought that money would be needed to feed the crowd while Andrew actually had something tangible before him and yet could not see how it would or could feed so many people. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it highlights two different mindsets that are present within the hearts and minds of countless men and women today—namely a sum of money that would be needed to meet the needs of those before us and how little is actually present before us and how far it would and could go among so many. Philip saw the feeding of the multitude through the lens of an amount of money that would be needed to buy bread to feed them a little and yet Jesus had absolutely no interest or desire in sending the disciples into the closest city or town to buy bread. Not only was Jesus going to use precisely what He had within the crowd but He was going to do so without and apart from money.
Stop and consider how absolutely incredible this miracle truly was for not only would Jesus not need money to buy enough bread to feed the multitude but He also wouldn’t need an abundance of bread or fish. Pause for a moment and think about what it would take and perhaps even what it would cost in our culture and society today to feed five thousand people—and not only to feed five thousand people but also to feed them to the full. How much money would be needed to feed five thousand people who had perhaps spent all day tarrying in the place of healing and miracles and feeding them that they might be full? It would take a great sum of money to feed such a great crowd and multitude of people like this during our generation and there would be absolutely no way around out. What is so absolutely fascinating with this miracle Jesus would work in the midst of the crowd is that not only would He feed this great multitude but He would do so without using money and sending the disciples into the city to buy bread. What’s more is that Jesus would feed this great multitude without even having much as the starting point for He would have only five barley loaves of bread and two small fish. Andrew saw this young lad’s lunch as being vastly inadequate to provide for and feed this great multitude of people and could not understand that little becomes much—not only when placed in the hands of Jesus but also when it is blessed and broken. These five loaves of barley bread and two small fishes were willingly offered unto Jesus and were perhaps offered as an initial offering and gift to begin feeding the crowd. Perhaps this young lad thought that his act of giving these five barley loaves and two small fish would produce within the hearts and souls of others to give what they had that the multitude might be fed. The truth of the matter, however, is that not only did Jesus require anything else beyond this lad’s offering but He also would not require others to give of what they had.
What I so absolutely love about the words which are found in this passage of Scripture is that Jesus was able to feed this crowd and great multitude of people without the use of money and needing to buy bread and with only a little which was offered unto him by this young lad. Imagine being this young lad and being asked by the disciples for his lunch that Jesus might take it not knowing what Jesus would or even could do. Scripture does not indicate whether or not Jesus asked this young lad for his lunch or whether the disciples asked him for it. Scripture is unclear whether or not this young lad was aware of the need—perhaps even the desire—to feed this great multitude and desired to offer his own lunch that it might contribute toward the feeding of the multitude. I am sure this young lad thought his lunch might be a small contribution to feed a small number of people and yet what we find here in this passage is that his lunch wouldn’t merely feed a handful of people but it would feed five thousand people. Pause for a moment and think about how absolutely captivating and beautiful this is and how this young lad had perhaps only thought of his lunch as an initial offering to start the process of feeding the multitude of people not knowing that it would feed the multitude of people. What’s more is imagine this young lad leaving his house that morning with this lunch of five barley loaves and two small fishes not knowing what he would actually have in his possession. Think about what it must have been like for this young lad to leave his house on this day having absolutely no clue what his lunch would indeed be used for. It’s something worth thinking about when reading this passage of Scripture and seeing how this young lad would leave his house on this particular morning having in his possession that which would be used by Jesus Himself to feed a great multitude of people.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE IN YOUR POSSESSION? DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE? DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW YOUR OFFERING CAN BE USED BY JESUS? DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR OFFERING CAN INDEED BE USED FOR? This reality concerning this young lad and his departing from his house this morning with five barley loaves and two fish is actually quite captivating for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that this young lad left his house on this particular morning with five loaves of bread and two fish and had absolutely no idea he was going to offer up his lunch as an offering in the hands of Jesus. I do not believe for one minute this young lad left his house on this particular morning knowing that the five loaves of bread and the two small fishes he had in his possession were going to be presented unto Jesus Himself and was going to be used to feed five thousand. This lunch which was perhaps intended on feeding himself and maybe one or two more people would be placed into the hands of the Master who would take it and after blessing and breaking it would multiply and give it unto the disciples to give it to the multitude. Pause for a moment and think about what a divine opportunity this was for this young boy who not only had the opportunity to give his lunch unto Jesus but also had the opportunity to have his lunch feed five thousand. Imagine the testimony this young boy would have had when he went home that day as he not only spoke of giving his lunch unto Jesus but would also speak unto his parents, family, loved ones friends, and the like how Jesus blessed and broke His lunch and multiplied it that a multitude of five thousand might have been fed. What’s more is that there is not a doubt in my mind that this young boy would have also partaken of that which Jesus blessed and broke and distributed to the disciples to pass out among the multitude.
BRING YOUR LUNCH! OFFERING YOUR LUNCH! WATCHING YOUR LUNCH BLESSED AND BROKEN! WATCHING YOUR LUNCH BE MULTIPLIED IN THE HANDS OF JESUS! WATCHING YOUR LUNCH BE DISTRIBUTED TIME AND TIME AGAIN AS IT FED FIVE THOUSAND PEOPLE! PARTAKING OF YOUR LUNCH AFTER IT HAD BEEN PLACED IN THE HANDS OF JESUS! With all of this being said it’s worth noting that even after the whole multitude was fed Jesus commanded all the fragments to be picked up and gathered together that nothing might be lost. The apostle John—as well as the other gospel authors—wrote how there were twelve baskets which were filled after the whole multitude had been fed and ate until they were will. Stop and think about the fact that Andrew could not see how these five barley loaves and two fish could have been used to feed so many people and how when it was all said and done—not only were five thousand fed and filled but there were twelve baskets of fragments leftover. Oh I can’t help but wonder what would and could have happened to the twelve baskets of fragments and where they ended up going. We know that when the children of Israel partook of manna in the wilderness there was a jar of manna that was placed inside the Ark of the Covenant as a memorial before the LORD and yet I can’t help but wonder what would have happened to this bread which Jesus had used to feed the multitudes. Is it possible that this young lad offered Jesus five loaves of bread and two fish and yet received back from Jesus and His disciples twelve baskets full of the fragments of the miracle? Imagine being this young lad and being unable to carry home all of these fragments home by himself and perhaps being accompanied by Jesus and His disciples.
I sit here today thinking about and considering the words and language which is presented within this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with the tremendous miracle that took place here. This young lad would depart from his house on this particular day carrying five loaves of barley bread and two small fish and yet imagine him returning home with twelve baskets filled with the fragments. This concept of the fragments is in and of itself incredibly intriguing when you consider it for it suggests that this miracle might not have only fed the five thousand which were present on this day. We read this particular passage of Scripture and tend to think of it in terms of Jesus feeding the five thousand only, however, I have to ask what would and could have happened to the fragments after they were all gathered together. Is it possible that the fragments of this miracle fed this young lad and his family beyond simply that day? Is it possible that the fragments of this miracle fed this young lad and perhaps his loved ones and close friends? I can’t help but think about what this would and could have been like as others who perhaps weren’t present on this particular day when Jesus blessed and broke these five loaves of bread and two fish were able to partake of the miracle which took place on that day. This young lad’s lunch was not only used to feed five thousand on this particular day, however, I would dare say it was also used to feed others even beyond this particular time. WHEN THE MIRACLE EXTENDS BEYOND THE EVENT! Oh it is absolutely amazing to think about the fact that this miracle was not only used to feed those present in this particular moment of time but it might also have been used to feed those who weren’t present in the midst of that multitude. Stop and think about what it would and could have been like as others who perhaps weren’t there when Jesus blessed and broke these five loaves of bread and two fish and who didn’t partake of the miracle when it occurred were able to partake of the miracle from the baskets.
PARTAKING OF THE MIRACLE FROM THE HANDS OF THE DISCIPLES! PARTAKING OF THE MIRACLE FROM THE BASKETS OF FRAGMENTS! In all reality there are two distinct sides to this miracle as there was initially the partaking of the miracle from the hands of the disciples. Jesus Himself took these five barley loaves and two small fishes and blessed and broke them as He distributed unto the disciples to give unto the multitude. The multitude which was present on this particular day would all receive from the hands of the disciples that which had been blessed and broken in the hands of Jesus and would eat until they were full. With this being said I can’t help but think about the fact that there were others who perhaps partook of this miracle outside of and apart from what took place on this day and partook of it from the baskets. What we must needs realize concerning this is that what was found and contained within the baskets was still that which was blessed and broken by the Master in His hands and distributed to the disciples. What’s more is that pertaining to this miracle there was the distribution as well as the gathering—the distribution of that which had been blessed, broken and multiplied in the hands of the Master and the gathering of that which remained after everyone had been fed and had eaten to the full. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s that not only was there the distributing side of the miracle but there was also the gathering side of the miracle. This young lad offered his lunch and watched as that lunch was blessed, broken and distributed to feed five thousand who had gathered themselves unto Jesus and he had also watched and witnessed the gathering side of the miracle as Jesus instructed the disciples to gather up all the fragments which remained that nothing would be lost.
MIRACLES CAN’T BE LOST! MIRACLES SHOULDN’T BE LOST! The more I read this passage the more I am brought face to face with the incredibly awesome truth surrounding this miracle and how Jesus was adamant with His disciples that nothing from this miracle should be and ought to be lost. It would have been very easy for the fragments of this miracle to have been wasted, or to be lost, or to be discarded and yet Jesus was insistent that nothing be lost. Jesus recognized and understood that there was something to be said about retaining the miracle even after it had been completed. Jesus recognized and understood that this miracle would and could even extend beyond simply the five thousand and beyond this day. Jesus was very much aware of what had taken place on this particular day—and not only was Jesus aware of what had taken place but so also were the men who had seen the miracle which was performed. The apostle John wrote concerning those men which were filled and had eaten how they saw the miracle which Jesus did and in fact understood how Jesus had taken five barley loaves of bread and two small fish and had fed five thousand. With this being said the apostle John also wrote concerning the fragments how the disciples gathered together fragments together and twelve baskets were filled with the fragments of the five barley loaves which remained over and above that which had been eaten. THAT WHICH WAS DISTRIBUTED, THAT WHICH WAS EATEN, THAT WHICH WAS GATHERED! Oh in all reality I would dare say there was another side to this miracle in addition to the distribution and the gathering for there was also the eating and partaking of the miracle. This miracle would begin with the distribution from the hands of Jesus into the hands of the disciples before being given unto the people and it would continue with the eating and partaking of the miracle. After all those men which had eaten and partaken of the miracle had eaten to the full there would in fact be twelve baskets full of the fragments which were left over after the initial manifestation of the miracle was done.
I speak of the initial manifestation of the miracle being completed because there is not a doubt in my mind there is a secondary element to this miracle and that is the continuation of the miracle. There was indeed the initial manifestation of the miracle which would include the feeding of the five thousand until they were full and the gathering of the fragments and I would also suggest there was the continuation of the miracle which would take place from the baskets. If Jesus desired that nothing from this miracle be wasted then I would dare say that the fragments which were gathered up were not merely used as a memorial but were used to continue feeding others after the initial miracle was completed. We must needs recognize and understand that this miracle would in fact continue providing for and feeding others even after the initial manifestation was completed for there would be twelve baskets full of the fragments which could be used to feed others. BEING FED AGAIN! BEING FED BRAND NEW! I can’t help but ask myself whether or not the fragments which were present within these baskets were used to feed others who participated in the first miracle a second time and perhaps even a third time or if it was used to feed others for the first time. I am inclined to think that it might have gone both ways as this miracle was not only used to feed those who were present on this particular day but was also used to feed some of them a second and or quite possibly a third and fourth time. With this being said I would dare say that there might have been those who were able to partake of the fragments of these baskets and in fact enjoy and participate in the miracle which Jesus had performed although not physically being present.
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I am convinced we must needs recognize and pay close attention to this truth as we tend to think that there are miracles we experience within our lives which are meant to be experienced solely in the here and the now. Very rarely do we ever think of and consider the fact that some of the miracles we experience within our lives can in fact be used to continue to minister to others who perhaps weren’t present at the initial demonstration and manifestation. I absolutely love how there were twelve baskets of fragments leftover from this miracle for it suggests that this miracle could have very well extended beyond simply that mountainside. I am firmly convinced that there were others who weren’t present on that mountainside and who didn’t partake of the miracle with those five thousand and yet who were able to partake of the miracle which Jesus had wrought. In all reality I am convinced this is the mystery behind the cross of Jesus Christ and His body which was blessed and broken in the sight of the Father. Although we weren’t present at the actual manifestation of the sacrifice and the offering we are able to participate in the miracle and the wonder that was the blessing of the body of our Lord. There were those who were present on the day Jesus was crucified and who were in fact eyewitnesses to the breaking of His body and ultimately His death, however, it is truly remarkable that we who are separated from that event by several centuries can still participate and partake in this miracle. We who are present within this generation and those who have been present in previous generations have been able to partake of the fragments of Christ’s sacrifice as there is an enumerable supply to go around for everyone to partake of. Christ’s body was broken once and yet it was in that single breaking that it was multiplied and given unto us that we might have life. In fact it is this which we celebrate each and every time we participate in the Passover meal in our generation known as communion.
When we partake of the cracker, or the wafer, or perhaps even the piece of bread in communion—not only do we show the Lord’s death until He returns and comes again but we also participate in the fragments of the breaking of his body which took place two thousand years ago. In fact I cant help but think about how this directly ties together with what Jesus would speak later on within this chapter concerning eating His flesh and drinking His blood. This miracle of feeding the five thousand and the twelve baskets of fragments are a powerful symbol of the Passover meal and communion and how we have been invited to partake of His flesh and his blood through communion. We must needs recognize and understand this absolutely incredible truth as it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and powerful truth concerning the miracle of the fragments and baskets. THE MIRACLE OF THE FRAGMENTS AND BASKETS! There were those on this day who were able to participate in the actual miracle of the feeding of the five thousand and partook of the loaves of bread and fish which were broken, however, there were and there would be those who would be able to partake of this miracle and that which was blessed and broken after the initial manifestation and work was completed. Oh we must needs recognize and understand this as I am convinced that the fragments and baskets not only point to what had already taken place but would point to what would take place in the coming days. Jesus understood that these fragments would and could be used to feed others in the days to come just like His body and His blood would nourish and sustain men and women for years, and decades, and centuries to come.
It is absolutely incredible to read the words found in this passage of Scripture concerning the baskets and the fragments as well as Jesus describing His flesh and His blood as being life and nourishment indeed for the Jews of that day did not truly understand what it was He was offering unto them. The Jews of that day did not understand the eternal and everlasting life the Lord Jesus Christ was offering them and did not truly understand the miracles of the five barley loaves of bread and the two small fishes. Not only this but the Jews also did not understand the significance and importance of the twelve baskets filled with fragments of the miracle which Jesus was performed and how those baskets were filled that the miracle itself might not be wasted and that what took place on that day might be enjoyed and experienced by those who weren’t present at the mountain. Oh how beautiful it is to think about and consider how this miracle would and could be enjoyed and experienced—even by those who weren’t there in person—by and through the twelve baskets of fragments which were gathered up. That which filled the baskets was the fragments of that which was blessed and broken by Jesus—specifically the bread which Jesus blessed and broke for the people to be fed and filled. We must needs acknowledge and understand this as it calls and draws our attention to the truth surrounding the breaking of the physical body of Jesus which is and which has been considered the bread. It is when we partake of and celebrate communion we are not only celebrating the death of Jesus until the day He returns but we are also partaking of what I would dare say and call the baskets of the miracle and offering that took place on the hill of Calvary two thousand years ago. It would be on the hill of Calvary two thousand years ago that Jesus would indeed experience His body being broken and not only would His body be broken but it would also be given unto others that they might be fed and might be nourished to life as a direct result of it.
Within this particular narrative we find this young lad as being the one who offered the bread of his lunch and yet we must understand that Jesus was not a young lad who offered the bread of his lunch but rather the bread of his body and flesh. This young lad offered five loaves of bread as an offering unto Jesus to help feed the great multitude of people and yet Jesus would take and offer the bread of His own flesh and body as an offering that millions if not billions and even trillions of men and women might receive life. Although we weren’t present there at Calvary when Jesus’ body was broken for the remission of sins we can indeed partake of the bread that was broken that we might have life within ourselves. It was a direct result of His sacrifice and suffering that we are able to truly experience the miracle and offering that kept on giving and just as this young lad’s lunch was an offering that not only fed the multitude but offered to feed others so also does the bread and offering of Jesus’ flesh and body continue to nourish and feed the countless multitudes of men and women within each generation. There is not a doubt in my mind that this is what is so significant about the words which Jesus would speak unto the Jews of that day for He sought to bring them to the place where they understood that His body and His flesh was bread indeed which would be blessed and broken that they might have life and that His blood would be drink indeed which would be poured out and partaken of by them.
Although no one was ever invited to physically partake of the actual flesh and blood of Jesus we were invited to symbolically partake of Him through His sacrifice and offering upon the cross. The flesh and blood which Jesus was speaking of unto the Jews represented life as He Himself was made up of flesh and blood as He walked among us as the Word made flesh. I would dare say that when Jesus invited us to partake of His flesh and His blood He was offering us and inviting us to partake in His life as the Word which was made flesh and which dwelt among us. When Jesus came to this earth he partook of flesh and blood and it was that flesh and blood which would be offered unto the multitudes and generations that were to come through His suffering. We must needs recognize and understand this for the miracle of the five thousand being fed could not take place without and apart from the breaking. Jesus could have blessed the bread and yet without the breaking there would have been nothing to distribute. It was in the actual breaking of the bread that would in fact allow the miracle to take place and it would be in the breaking of the body of the Lord Jesus Christ through his suffering and death that would allow us to partake of His sacrifice and offering that we might have life. It is indeed true that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Oh that we would truly recognize and understand this when we read this passage and understand that Moses gave unto the children of Israel in the wilderness manna which ceased once they partook of the fruit of the promised land and Jesus would give us of his flesh and His blood until we are present with Him in His Father’s house and in his Father’s kingdom. Oh that we would be those who make it our objective, our passion, our desire and our ambition to be men and women who partake of the broken bread of Jesus’ body as well as the shed drink of Jesus’ blood and that we would truly recognize that which he has indeed offered unto us that we might have life and life more abundantly.