Cover to Cover
In this miracle of feeding the multitude, let’s look at a few points:
1. In verse 33, we see a spiritual desperation in the people, putting in a great effort to get to Jesus on foot, and then staying for a long period of time without eating.
2. They were a large group without anyone leading them into truth through teaching. Jesus compared it to sheep without a shepherd.
3. Jesus was moved to teach them because of their spiritual hunger. Their reliant faith pulled on His anointing.
4. When the disciples brought attention to the need, I said, “When the DISCIPLES brought attention to the need,” THEN Jesus said to the disciples, “YOU meet their need.”
5. When the disciples asked HOW the need should be met, Jesus asked them, “WHAT do YOU have?”
6. Jesus gave instruction that organized the people into groups. Administration is an important component of a miracle.
7. Jesus DEMONSTRATED what He expected the disciples to have done.
8. Jesus looked ABOVE, acknowledging the Father and His submission to the Father.
9. Jesus BLESSED the loaves, being thankful for what was in His hand.
10. Jesus BROKE the loaves. He put action to His reliance and received a miracle of multiplication.
11. ALL ate and ALL were filled. There were 5,000 men, plus women and children, so easily 20,000 people from all around the region.
12. Each disciple picked up the extra food, a basket for each disciple.
13. The people were blessed by physical food as well as spiritual food.
14. The people would have followed Jesus longer, so He immediately had the disciples get into a boat to leave and put distance between them and the people. Jesus kindly said goodbye to the people and dismissed the crowd. I personally appreciate this personal touch, genuinely loving people.
15. Then Jesus went to pray, apart from everyone, including His team.
16. The disciples did not understand about the loaves because their hearts were not open (verse 52). If we want revelation knowledge, we must have humble, yielded hearts.
In verses 48-52 we read about Jesus walking on water to the disciples. He saw them from the mountain that overlooked the Sea of Galilee. He knew they needed Him. He knew He needed to get to them. It could be that He had no way to get to them, so He walked on water.
In verses 53-56, as Jesus and the disciples got out of the boat, they were recognized and people brought their sick to Him. As many as touched the hem of His garment were healed. That hem was the tassel corner that represented authority and power of the Spirit.
In chapter 16, the rebellion happened, judgment fell, and a plague spread among the people for their dishonor of GOD, not just human leadership. God is going to confirm to the people which leader HE had called, appointed, and anointed. That leader had HIS authority and HIS backing. In Numbers 16:3, we see that the people came against Moses AND Aaron, the high priest. In Numbers 17, God will demonstrate that Aaron is God’s choice for his position by causing a dead branch to blossom and produce almonds without being attached to a tree.
People are people. As spiritual leaders, Jerry and I are very well aware that we are human, and we know our place is to serve. We are well aware we are not perfect, and we do not pretend to be better than anyone else. However, our job is to lead as He leads us. Have we had people try to challenge our authority? Oh, yes. Have we had evil spirits try to work through people to tear us down? Oh, yes. We know there are different reasons for rebellion, usually pride or legalism (control and manipulation), inability to trust or fear (usually from a past disappointment or abuse), or dysfunction (damaged people who sin or Satan has twisted). God cares about the reasons, but reasons are not excuses. I’m so glad God is patient and long-suffering, aren’t you? He’s done a lot for me, and I’m thankful I’m not in the same condition I was decades ago. Can I get a witness?
Do you remember when Ananias and Sapphira lied to Peter? Peter said, “You didn’t just lie to me; you lied to God while you were lying to me.” The way we treat spiritual authority is often a reflection of the way we treat God. Now if that leader is in habitual sin or being used by Satan, RUN. God doesn’t expect a person to stay underneath the leadership of a person who is abusive. If you would like more information on spiritual abuse, please find my article “Signs of Unhealthy Leadership” as a Bible Teaching under Faith Downloads on growchurches.com.
Furthermore, in verse 10, God said, “put their complaints away from Me.” God hears us every time we complain. Complaining is the opposite of faith. Now, if something needs to be changed, figure out the strategy to change it. Don’t doubt your authority and responsibility to do something about it. Complaining doesn’t do anything except to try to tear down. Instead, do something to build up!
In chapter 18, the Lord gives duties of priests and Levites, addresses offerings for support of the priests, and tithe for the support of the Levites.
In chapter 19, the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron about the laws of purification.
Thank the Lord for our right standing with God through the blood of Jesus, and thank God for His help as we choose to walk rightly in His righteousness. Are we perfect? No, but we can be fully surrendered!