Church of Christ
Locks Cross Roads
2) Matthew 14 - Jesus feeds the people
John 6:6 is the key to the understanding of Jesus' plans for the day.  "He Himself knew what He would do."  This
decision is the practical application of a higher commitment: "Christ pleased not Himself." (Romans 15:3).

He had compassion on them, "because they were like sheep without a shepherd."  Rather than treat them as
bothersome intruders, who had thoughtlessly interrupted His sorely needed rest and retirement with the Twelve, as
also His sorrow over John's assassination, "He welcomed them" (Luke 9:11).

Many had followed Him only for instant cures, and He knew it.  But this did not hinder Him from sharing the generous
love of God with them, despite their calculating selfishness, their ignorance of His real blessings and their

The people are accustomed to fasting, many of them twice a week, and traditionally, in connection with the annual
feast of atonement.

Their solution was to send the crowd away, because the site of the Miracle of the Loaves and Fish was on the Plain
of Buti'ha.  That meant the crowds had about four or five miles to walk to make it into Bethsaida Julias before the
stores closed.  Since Peter, Andrew and Philip, as well as James and John, were former residents of the area, they
would know how and when food could be purchased and how much time would be required.

You give them something to eat, makes the entire group immediately responsible for the problem, and indicates the
moment at which their faithfulness and helplessness begins to reach its climax.

He could have dismissed them without losing one iota of public respect for His character.

Five loaves:  do not judge these by the size of American loaves of bread and conclude that the boy was making a
major bakery delivery!  The barley flour loaves (literally "breads") were, rather, more probably the size of hamburger
buns, only flatter, more like pancakes.  (See Luke 11:5-6 where three are considered enough for one late-night
guest.)  The very attitude toward the use of barley flour for making these flat cakes, however delicious, tended to
consider them as "poor folks' food."  The fish were no whoppers either, because John the fisherman called them
"little fish" (John 6:9).  In fact, he used a word, opsaria, which means, tidbits to be eaten with bread.

Looking up to heaven He draws everyone's attention to the Heavenly Father as Provider, giving Him glory before
eating at His table as in His presence (1st Corinthians 10:31, Romans 14:6).  But it also argues for that openness
with which Jesus the Son could communicate with the Father, as if He were just looking right into the Father's face
(John 11:41, John 17:1) "He gave thanks and praise."

Matthew 14:20 - and they all ate, and were filled.  All four Gospel writers lay stress on the abundance of the
sandwiches:  everyone had all he could eat.  This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world (John 6:14).
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