Jesus and his disciples were in a remote place.  They had gone there to basically recoup.  The disciples had just returned from ministry, and they had also learned that John the Baptist, cousin of Jesus, had been beheaded by Herod.  Jesus had been doing so many miracles that when people heard where he was, they came by the thousands.  Scripture says there were 5,000 men plus women and children.  A conservative estimate is that there were probably around 15,000+ people who had followed Jesus to this out-of-the way place. A long way from any nearby towns.

Jesus spent the day teaching them and healing all who were sick. When the disciples urged Jesus to send the people away at the end of the day, Jesus said, ‘You give them something to eat.” They were aghast!!  How were they to feed so many people, and even when they discovered a boy who had 5 loaves and 2 fish, they still didn’t know how they would feed the crowd.  But Jesus took what they had, blessed it, broke it, gave it to them, and everyone ate their fill.  The Greek verb used in John 6:13 translated “eaten,” “indicates that the people had been provided with a big meal, of which they had partaken eagerly.” (Vines Complete Expository Dictionary, page 193)

Jesus could have miraculously placed the bread and fish into the hands of the people, but he invited the disciples into the process of feeding the people.  He does the same today.  He tells us regarding the hungry multitudes of this world, “You give them something to eat.” Even though this world is teeming with people, millions are still in a remote place spiritually. God has committed to us the Bread of Life.  Just as the 5000 were provided with a big meal, Jesus, the Bread of Life, is the only one who satisfies the spiritually hungry and He will more than satisfy all hunger.

Jesus took something small and did something great with it.  What do you have that you consider small that you can give to Jesus, and allow him to multiply it?  A small talent, a gift of being kind, contributing to the needs of others, a gift of hospitality, encouraging, showing mercy?  (Rom. 12:4-8)

Romans 10:14: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they had not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?  Not everyone is called to be a missionary or a preacher, but we can participate in the “sending.”  God takes what we give to him and multiplies it to spread the Gospel.

Each of the disciples gathered up a whole basket of fragments. Luke 6:38 says “Give and it will be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be given into your lap.”  It is impossible to out-give God.  He always returns to us more than 100%. Giving to God is the best investment anyone can make, both for this life and the life to come.

Naomi Brinkman