Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 3 Study # 3
September 27, 2009
13 But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people.
14 For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company.
15 And they did so, and made them all sit down.
16 Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude.
17 And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets.
1901 ASV Translation
13 But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more than five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy food for all this people.
14 For they were about five thousand men. And he said unto his disciples, Make them sit down in companies, about fifty each.
15 And they did so, and made them all sit down.
16 And he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake; and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude.
17 And they ate, and were all filled: and there was taken up that which remained over to them of broken pieces, twelve baskets.
- I. The Prelude Continued.
- A. The disciples told Him to send the multitude away to find lodging and food.
- B. He told them to feed the crowd.
- 1. The command is intensive: You give them to eat.
- 2. The command is completely unexpected and far beyond the abilities and resources of The Twelve. Because of this, there can be little doubt that this was another "test" of "faith". Here we must be clear: "faith" is not a matter of The Twelve coming up with some kind of "special event" for which they "expect" from God. Faith is responding to what has been commanded with expectation of the provision required for the command to be obeyed. There is a fine line here, but the fact is that it was not an idea of The Twelve that they put Jesus on the spot in order to prove to others that He was capable. It was altogether Jesus' idea and it was totally outlandish.
- a. The vast majority of believers will live their entire lives and never be involved in anything like the feeding of the five thousand. Even those who lived with Jesus during His time on this earth only saw Him do this kind of thing twice (unless the records simply do not tell us of other similar events). What I am saying is this: Jesus did miracles that were designed to be "over the top" and He never intended that His disciples try to make out like they were "normal" for those who believe in Him.
- b. The issue of these "over the top" kind of activities is the principles that undergird them. Jesus desired that His disciples learn what "faith" means. It is an attitude that simply does not look to its own resources for the accomplishment of the declared will of God. This cannot be overstated in a universe that automatically determines what can and will be done on the basis of perceived personal abilities. It is only in a fallen world that such an approach is knee-jerk and part of the warp and woof of the guiding attitude. In a "godly" world, creatures would never assume that their works arise out of their own abilities because a "godly" world assumes a unity between God and His creation that means that He is undergirding its every detail.
- 1) "Faith" begins with the assumption of unity between God and the "believer".
- 2) "Faith" moves along the continuum of a divine agenda revealed so that it is not "faith" to "create an agenda". This is the greatest single stumbling block to "Life" as a flow between God and His creatures. Fallen human beings simply assume the prerogative of the pursuit of their own goals as a given, most of which are contrary to the revealed will of God. Then, having assumed this prerogative, most of the time and energy is chewed up in the pursuit of goals that will burn into ashes in the Day.
- 3) "Faith" takes the actions required by the revealed agenda with the expectation that the actions will have divine cooperation so that they can be fruitful to the agenda. The majority problem is that fallen creatures typically take unbelieving actions until the mess is so great that it requires a "miracle" to correct it and none is forthcoming because God has warned that sowing leads to reaping. Countless divine objectives are frustrated by this tactic. Though recovery of the relationship between God and His creature(s) is always possible by "faith", many other losses cannot be recovered because they have been overcome by the sowing/reaping reality.
- 4) "Faith" is a constant requirement of the accomplishment of the divine agendas and every failure of faith leads to a failure of accomplishment. The typical notion that exercising "faith" periodically is a sufficient activity is agenda-disastrous. Perhaps the greatest single contributor to this agenda-disaster is what is typically beneath the "once-saved-always-saved" mentality: a single act of faith at a single point in time is all that is necessary for "Life". This leads people into the "periodic faith" mentality. On the one hand, it is true that each, individual, act of faith has a locked-in result that cannot be overturned (including "eternal justification") [Note the absolute denial of the loss of the particular reward of a single act of faith in Jesus' words in Matthew 10:42], but it is also true that long term, large accomplishments require a daily consistency of faith because those types of accomplishments require the accomplishment of multiple small ones (much like putting bricks together one after another until an entire wall is formed).
- C. They objected.
- 1. They said they had only five loaves and two fish.
- 2. They also said that the only way they could do what He said was for them to go and buy enough food for all of the people which was simply a way of saying, "We cannot".
- 3. This is the typical, knee-jerk, self-justifying unbelief that destroys the possibility of the large accomplishment.
- D. He told the disciples to organize the crowd into groups of 50 and seat them.
- 1. There were approximately 5,000 men (specifically "males") present.
- 2. Jesus told The Twelve to get them all seated in groups of 50.
- E. They did as He instructed.
- II. The Event.
- A. He took five loaves and two fish.
- B. He looked to heaven.
- C. He "blessed" the food.
- D. He gave food to the disciples until all were fed. This was no small feat and it had to have been time consuming (there was a minimum of 100 groups and, likely, two or three times that many).
- E. When all were filled, the left overs were gathered into twelve baskets. The prior reference to "twelve" is 9:12 (The Twelve) and the implication rests upon the fact that the outcome was a basket of fragments for each of the men who tried to tell Jesus how to function and how impossible it was to do what He commanded. We have no clue as to the size of the "baskets" (or even whence they came), but in any case they could hold more than the five loaves and two fish that a child had at the beginning (John 6:9).
- III. The Point.
- A. Jesus was able to feed five thousand men with five loaves and two fish.
- B. Jesus was capable of being the resource of Life for five thousand men. Clearly He was capable of being "the Christ", an identity not mentioned in the prior paragraph regarding Herod who was not capable of being a resource of Life for anyone. This is the point, given the following paragraph.
- C. Jesus was interested in getting folks ready for participation in the Kingdom of God, not becoming the local Super Wal-Mart or being the tourist attraction for the businesses of Bethsaida.