Feeding the 5000

Text: Matthew 14:15-21

Prop: A loaf of bread or poster of Jesus feeding the 5000.

Summary: Jesus demonstrates he can multiply our resources when we offer them to him in faith.

Look what I brought with me today. Do you know what this is? [a loaf of bread] Yes, it’s a loaf of bread. It has been sliced and is ready to make sandwiches. When it is made, it is one whole piece. It has to be broken into smaller pieces to be used in most instances. Today I want to tell you a story from the Gospel of Matthew about a time when Jesus fed over five thousand people with only five loaves of bread and two fishes.

Jesus had been having a bad day. He was pretty upset when his friends came to tell him that John the Baptist had been killed by King Herod. Jesus needed to have some time alone, so he went to a desert place. The problem Jesus had was that he was very popular because he was known as a great healer. So people followed him wherever he went. It was hard for him to be alone.

It was getting dark, so his disciples came to him and asked him to send the people back home because they didn’t have enough food to feed them if they spent the night. Then Jesus gave the disciples a challenge. He said, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. The disciples were probably laughing to themselves. They told Jesus they only had a little to eat themselves: five loaves of bread and two fishes. Jesus sometimes tells us to do impossible things so that we will rely on Him to help us. (This happened on the same night that Peter walked on the water to meet Jesus when he came walking to the boat on the sea. Peter could not walk on the water without keeping his eyes on Jesus in faith.)

What happened next? Did Jesus tell them to go to the grocery store and buy 1000 loaves of bread and clean out the seafood department? No, he told them to bring what they had to Him so he could ask God to bless it. Jesus always said the blessing before he ate. Do you have a blessing before you eat? That’s the thing we need to understand about saying the blessing. We are not asking God to wave a magic wand and bless the food we are about to eat. The Jewish people have a custom whenever they break bread to say a prayer that is the same for everyone: Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the ground. It was Jesus, the very Bread of Life, who came forth from the tomb on Easter morning. When we thank God before a meal, we are remembering how he is our provider for life itself.

If the disciples had tried on their own, they would have barely fed themselves. Because they gave what they had to Jesus and asked him to help, Jesus took what they gave in faith and multiplied it many times. It was a miracle on a grand scale. He fed about five thousand men, besides women and children. In fact, they had twelve baskets full of leftovers!

©1997 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

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