Food for the Spirit

(John 6:1-14)

These verses relate to the feeding of the five thousand, which is a remarkable miracle any way that you look at it. I have written about this miracle several times already as I covered it in each of the other three gospels, so I will not cover that aspect again. If you want to see what I said in those other posts, the links are at the bottom of the page. Instead let us look at what the Bible says about the food of the Spirit (and it will not make you fat!)good food

Continue reading “Food for the Spirit”

Feeding the Four Thousand

(Mark 8:1-10)

Does Jesus ever leave his people lacking in anything? Will he provide for their needs? Absolutely! Every time. There is nothing that he cannot and will not do for his people.

loaves-and-fishesPeople will generally care for those that they love, whether that is their family, friends, husbands, wives or children. They will do their best to provide what they can if someone they love is in dire need. But sometimes we cannot do much to assist.

However the Lord shows his love for us in that he ALWAYS provides for those he loves; for those who live according to the will of God. Here in this section we see that Jesus had compassion on the crowd. They had been following him and with him for three days with nothing to eat. He could have dismissed them and sent them away, but he said to the disciples to give them something to eat for he was concerned the people might faint from hunger on the way home.

The disciples had a few loaves of bread but said, “How can one feed these men with bread here in the desert?” (Verse 4) Now given that the Lord had earlier few the five thousand with a few loaves and fishes, you would have thought the disciples would recognise that Jesus could do anything and feeding the four thousand should not have been an issue. But this was a lesson they still had not yet fully learned.

They had seven loaves of bread and found also a few small fish. So again Jesus took the food, blessed and broke it, and there was sufficient to feed the four thousand people plus to gather up seven baskets of leftovers.

This was the second time he had performed this miracle of creating food from thin air. What we gain from this is the knowledge that even today the Lord will and can provide our needs, no matter how impossible they seem, when we put the matter into his hands.

From a personal perspective I have seen the blessing of the Lord in miraculous ways both in my own life and that of those I know. He has always provided for his people, and his hand is not short either. He does not provide the second best to his people but always the very best.

We can take away from this teaching confidence and comfort in the knowledge that the Lord loves us so much that there is nothing he will not provide. We may not get all of our wants, especially if they are not what we need, but we will always have enough of what we need. As King David wrote, and I have quoted in the past, “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging bread.” (Psalm 37:25)

The feeding of the four thousand is clear evidence of this blessing of the Lord. He gives liberally and plentifully to his people and they will not ever suffer want. As King David said, the people of the Lord who are righteous will never be forsaken and we can take great comfort and be reassured about that when we strike tough times. when the world worries about recession and the fall of the dollar, those who are the people of God can rely on the bounty and love of a faithful Lord and God who has said, “I will never fail you nor forsake you.” Hence we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

(Mark 6:33-44)

For how many centuries have men tried to create or transform matter? Alchemists in the middle and dark ages attempted to turn base metals into gold…unsuccessfully. This has proven impossible for man, but consider the case of Jesus who took just five loaves and two fish and created a feast to satisfy five thousand men, not counting any women and children. And not only did he do it once, he did it twice!

feeding-the-5000We tend to miss the point sometimes that what Jesus did was to transform or create matter from nothing. He multiplied those few loaves and fishes to feed the five thousand. The only way this could be done was to create matter from nothing. For us this is impossible, but for the God of Creation this would not prove too difficult a task, considering that he had already made the whole universe from nothing.

There is a second point we should remember too. The people in this section of scripture had been with Jesus for a while and were in a lonely place, late in the day. (Verse 35) Jesus told the disciples to give them something to eat for he did not want to send them away hungry. Naturally the disciples were at a loss as to how they could possibly feed such a multitude, but to God nothing is impossible. What we see then is that Jesus provides for his people. Even when there was little or nothing, he created abundance from nothing. He took the few morsels of food available and created a feast.

God will not leave his people in want. King David wrote of God saying, “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging bread.” (Psalm 37:25) This is a great promise the Lord has given to his children. We will not suffer want if we are faithful to the Lord. He proved it in the miracles where he fed the multitudes as well as many other places. And we can help the Lord in this work too when we share our surpluses with his people.

Paul also wrote of this principle saying, “…as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their want, so that their abundance may supply your want, that there may be equality. As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing over, and he who gathered little had no lack.” (2 Corinthians 8:14-15) Jesus will provide for his people and we may be the servants of his generosity. Let us be prepared to share with each other when we have the capacity and capability. We do not need to go into lack ourselves, as Paul shows, the abundance will be enough to meet the needs of all. But we do need to be prepared to offer what we can, knowing that when or if required, God can literally create matter to meet our needs out of thin air.

Need any more proof? Consider Elijah the prophet who was in the wilderness and God ordained that the ravens would bring him food, which they did. (1 Kings 17:1-8) And then there is the case of the widow with whom Elijah lodged during the great drought at that time. All she had was a jar with a little meal in it and a flask of oil, and yet for many days the vessels always had meal and oil in them as the Lord continued to replace what was left. Again creating matter from thin air.

Believe that he can and will do so with his people today. There is nothing impossible to the Lord our God and no promise that he will not fulfil. We should be encouraged by these teachings knowing that he has set it into his purpose for his people that we will be protected and not suffer want.

(Picture sourced from ChristiansUnite.com: http://clipart.christiansunite.com/)

Jesus Feeds the Crowd

(Matthew 15:29-39)

Jesus feeds the crowd again in this section. This is the second miracle where Jesus feeds the crowd with just a few loaves and fishes.

The details of this miracle are similar to when Jesus feeds the crowd of five thousand. In this case we see there are four thousand men plus women and children, so it is a substantial crowd following him. Apart from the miracle itself, the lesson to be learned is strengthened by him doing this miracle twice. So what are the lessons to be taken from this?

1. The hand of the Lord is not shortened. He is able to provide for his people even being able to create food from nothing.
2. He is compassionate to his people. They had been following him for three days and he did not want to send them away hungry.
3. He shows we are to provide both spiritual food and physical food when the need is there.
4. It is hypocritical to say when someone is in need of food or clothing to, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled, without giving them the things needed for the body,” (James 2:16) That is, our faith is completed by our deeds and actions.

Now even today when Jesus is not walking the earth as he did two thousand odd years ago, we still see his miraculous power at work. His people who follow him are constantly watched over and guarded and do not suffer want. Testimonies abound of how people have sought the Lord for many things and received his blessing, sometimes in miraculous ways. As examples, here are a few instances from my own life and experience of the Lord’s provision and protection.

In all things we can come to him. There is no matter too great or too small that he cannot resolve. We need to firstly have the faith to bring our needs and concerns to him and then give him praise and glory to God when the prayers are answered. We also need to understand that sometimes the answer will be “No.” It is just like when our own children come to us for things that we know from experience is not good or right for them.

So if Jesus can feed the crowd on just a few loaves and fishes, he can do just about anything we may ask. The key is to ask and to believe that you will receive an answer.

Fishes and Loaves Bible Story

(Matthew 14:13-21)

The fishes and loaves bible story is one that is commonly heard in the world today. Quite often the fishes and loaves bible story is cited when people have somehow fed a large number of people as Jesus fed the multitudes in this section of Matthew, or when people have sufficient food to feed the five thousand. But there are deeper meanings to the fishes and loaves bible story that show other aspects of Jesus ministry.

Jesus had gone to a remote place after the beheading of John the Baptist, but the crowds heard of it and followed him. Out of compassion for the people he healed their sick and he taught them about the gospel and the Kingdom of God well into the evening.

The disciples were trying to be considerate of the people by saying to Jesus to send the people away into the villages so they could buy food to eat. They were aware that the people had been there all day and needed food. But Jesus said to the disciples that they need not go away but for the disciples to give them food. The disciples responded saying they had only five loaves and two fish, which they brought to Jesus. Jesus took the fishes and the loaves and looking up to heaven he blessed and broke them and they were distributed among the people. When the five thousand men, plus many women and children, had all eaten and were satisfied, there were twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over.

This was a remarkable miracle performed that day. In this fishes and loaves bible story what actually happened was that Jesus created matter in the form of the fishes and loaves. He literally created this food from thin air, something created from nothing. You can almost imagine that as he broke a piece of bread or fish off the main lump, it grew back or reappeared so that he could break it off again, multiplying the food to feed the five thousand plus people there. We have seen through the ages people searching for a way to create or transform matter. Alchemists in the dark ages tried to turn lead into gold. Today scientists have just discovered how to clone cells to grow tissue. But Jesus did not clone the food; it was created from nothing instantaneously.

But why did he do this? It was to show several things to the disciples and the people. First, they had no need to worry about the resources available to the Lord. He knows that we need to eat and have food, and he is able to provide food from nothing. We see this same principle in the Old Testament when Elijah was brought food morning and evening by the ravens. (1 Kings 17:6) also when Elijah went and stayed with the widow from Zar’ephath the Lord refilled her jars of meal and oil for many days, perhaps several years, during the famine of the time while the Lord withheld the rains. Again in this situation, the Lord created food from nothing. (1 Kings 17:8-16)

But the fishes and loaves bible story shows us also that he feeds us the spiritual food. Jesus had been teaching the people all day giving them the spiritual food that would lead to life. And in compassion he showed that you need both and he provided both. This was a lesson to the disciples. They would have sent the people away, but Jesus showed that if you give only the spiritual food when there is also a need for physical food, they needed to give both. You cannot expect people to accept the spiritual matters while there is a concern for physical well-being. James also showed the pointlessness of saying, “If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?” (James 2:15-16) Part of the compassion and caring of the New Covenant is in ensuring that the people of God have what is needed for the spirit as well as the body.

However Jesus also taught in another version that the people had been more focussed on then physical food then the spiritual food. Although they needed to eat, they needed to learn more. Jesus said, “Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal.” (John 6:26-27) So likewise we must not spend our energy labouring for the things of this world, but rather we need to study and learn the things of the spirit that will lead us to life with Christ.

So the Lord will provide our physical needs and if we trust in him we have no need to be worried. We can take comfort from this knowledge knowing that in the fishes and loaves bible story there is evidence of the providence of the Lord.