“He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes.” – Mark 6:37-38
We’ve all heard the story of how Jesus fed five thousand people with two fish and five loaves. However, what really stands out to me about this story is the amount of preparation the disciples had to walk out in faith and obedience before any inclination of the manifestation of God’s power ever showed itself. You see, Jesus’s point in all this was not to hand out free food. It was to teach His disciples how to feed His flock.
“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” – John 21:15-17
The disciples approach Jesus and tell Him that the people are hungry and the hour is late, to which Jesus replies, “feed them“. How often do we cry out to God for the lost to hear the truth and be saved expecting Him to tend to everything and leave no part in it to us but the glorying? In reality God’s answer to this prayer is straight forward and very unsupernatural, “feed them“. We cry out, “God the people are hungry for You!“, and He simply replies, “then feed them“.
“And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat. He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat….” – Mark 6:35-37
Do you know that though all the power to do so came from God through Jesus, the great miracle that took place that day, in order for the people to receive of it, it had to pas from the Master’s hands, through the disciples, then out to the people. Not unlike the many miracles that would follow after Jesus death. That through the laying on of the apostles hand the Holy Spirit was given, the sick were healed, the blind see, the captive set free, and so on. Yet this only happened after they had acted in obedient faith and taken action to prepared the people to receive not only a Word from the Lord but a demonstration of His power backing up those words.
“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” – 1 Corinthians 4:20
You see, after Jesus told the disciples to feed the people, they came to Him with all they had. It was not enough to get the job done. It was impossible for them to do what needed to be done with what they had. This is not unlike us trying to make a difference in this world with what we have. We simply can not do what needs to be done with what we ourselves have to offer. However if we are willing to give all that we have to God and trust Him with it, He will prove His limitless divinity by causing our limited mortality to achieve that which is impossible of itself that all may know that He is God.
“He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass.” – Mark 6:38-39
Jesus instructs the disciples to seat the people by 100’s and by 50’s. Ok first off, we need to realize what an undertaking of faith this was in preparation of what they knew they could not do. They could not feed these people. They only had 2 fish and 5 loaves. In this time only men above the age of 20 were counted. Therefore, when it says 5,000 men, that’s not counting their wives and children. So in reality there were actually 5,000 families there, and only 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread.
“And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.” – Matthew 14:21
Can you imagine the preparation this took in faith of the impossible and simple obedience to God to provide whatever was needed to get these people what they needed? To go around seating that many people in groups of 50 and 100. How long did that take? Long enough for questions, fear, and doubts to set in for sure. Yet they simply trusted and obeyed in faith that with God all things are possible, that He who began the work was faithful to complete it, and that He would supply all their needs. Though they knew they could not feed this multitude, they knew the one who could. True ministry isn’t about what you can accomplish through your limited resources and abilities, for that is very little in the scope of things, but rather it’s about trusting in what God can accomplish with His unlimited resources passed through your hands to the people when you stop leading and start obeying and serving.
“And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.” – Luke 22:25-27
“And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.” – Mark 9:35
When we have a burden for the lost, that they be fed spiritually the bread of life, which is Jesus Christ. Our prayer will start to reflect that burden with selfless pleas to the Lord on their behalf, to which He will at some point reply, “feed them“. At this point we must first come to terms with the humble reality that we cannot. We do not have the resources in an of ourselves to achieve this great task of need. However we must also come to terms with the reality that we know the One who does! To this end, we must seek His instructions and follow them precisely in humble obedient faith, no matter how impossible it may seem. In fact, the more impossible it is for you to accomplish this thing the better. It grants the more opportunity for Him to back up His impossible Words with impossible actions of impossible power and amazing grace.
“And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. And they did all eat, and were filled.” – Mark 6:41-42
Once you have stepped out in faith and obeyed in humility, then He will bless it and distribute Himself, the bread of life, to the people through your hands. Multiplied and magnified in miraculous ways. If you will just pray, submit, obey, get that word from the Lord and step out in faith on it no matter how impossible and believe that He can do it, then He will. “He will!” Not you!
Do not go buy 200 pennyworth of bread and try to feed them yourself with your resources. God receives no glory from that, only man, and He will not back it up with His limitless miracle working power. Trust in His ability to do the impossible, prepare the people to receive it, and He will provide it in miraculous ways that glorify His omnipotence, rather then man’s preeminence. You don’t need gimmick, you don’t need programs, you don’t even need finances. If you have Jesus and believe that He is who He is and can do what He can do, then you know that you have all you need and more. Furthermore, you also know that your physical resources could never compare to His supernatural ones. He can do what you can not, and more. Humble yourself, put your faith in Him, and believe.
God will ALWAYS back up what He says to do with power. His words cannot return void. Know that God will do what He says He will do, even if He has to preform a miracle to do it. Therefore, stop trying to figure out how to do it yourself, preach who He really is, believe in who He really is, Trust in who He really is, and you will see demonstrations of who He really is.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6
“Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city.” – Acts 8:5-8
When all was said and done, after the multitude had been fed, 12 baskets full of left overs were collected. God had blessed what was offered, multiplied what was poured out from Himself through the disciples, and in the end for their faithfulness and obedience, the disciples themselves were blessed by the abundant overflow of God’s miraculous prevision. When you are willing to step out in faith and minister to others, then God Himself will minister to you and in the end, it’s your soul that gets fed the most.
“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” – 1 Peter 5:1-4
“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” – Romans 14:17