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The Feeding of the Five Thousand

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
March 19, 2021 8:00 am

The Feeding of the Five Thousand

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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March 19, 2021 8:00 am

Scripture is full of food and drink-related imagery. We’re told that Jesus is the Bread of Life and that he can offer us living water. And while these metaphors are meant to represent deeper, spiritual truths, Jesus is actually concerned with our physical needs as well. Dr. Boice teaches from a Biblical story all about food- and its lesson is both practical and symbolic.


Scripture is full of food and drink related imagery were told that Jesus is the bread of life and that he can offer us living water. And while these metaphors are meant to represent deeper spiritual truths. Jesus is actually concerned with our physical needs as well.

Today on the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce will teach from a biblical story all about food and its lesson is both practical and symbolic welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act likely did you know that Jesus essentially threw a party for thousands of people just off the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Let's listen in as Dr. Boyce tells the story. It's been a number of weeks now since we have been studying Matthew together and I would like to begin by recalling the characteristics of the section in which we find ourselves for a number of studies now, we've noticed an important change in the ministry of Jesus Christ preservatives to give the broadest scope of chapters in chapters 11 through 16 and it's only in Matthew 1413, that we find the themes stated explicitly for the first time at work told there in this verse is that when Jesus heard what happened, refers to what had happened to John the Baptist. He withdrew by boat privately to solitary place is why I call this particular section of the gospel.

The withdrawal of the King already seeing the coming of the King and the early teaching of the king. But now we have this time of withdrawal which leads eventually their full rejection into his crucifixion mount the changes been coming as I suggested for many chapters really began in the 11th chapter. When Jesus announces the cities of Galilee for their failure to repent and believe on me about a great many miracles there in a been powerful in his teaching that they had done what so many people in our day. Do they have simply gone their own ways.

As long as he led them. That was fine as long as he healed their sick. That was nice. My late and feel any obligation to repent of their sin and trust him in a fuller way so he speaks a word of warning and judgment will become the next chapter chapter 12 we find that focused almost entirely on the leaders, which is the next stage of expected and unfolding of this. Here Jesus announces the Pharisees and the teachers of the law on very strong words he also my brood of vipers is a collection of snakes and calls them representatives of that wicked and then over his generation its aspirate assignment will come to faith so you have rejection of the people you have words of judgment on the leaders become in the next chapter. Chapter 13 the first of the parables point of that is a Jesus is changing his old method of teaching. Before that he been open and clear. Now he teaches and stories in order.

He says that those who will not believe might not understand those whom God is bringing to faith might understand by means of those pictures in a deeper way. Then in chapter 14 we read of the murder of John the Baptist by Herod in this sets the stage for the rejection of Jesus, which of course is coming along away this new section is characterized by three things. First of all, Jesus private teaching of the 12 disciples. Secondly, repeated failures on the disciples part to understand and respond to his teaching, then convert an encouraging way some true renderings of faith and growth climax going to come in chapter 16 in the form of Peter's great confession. Jesus asked the small group of disciples.

Now who it is that they think he is. And Peter replied, you are the Christ, the son of the living God. That's really a turning point. That's a magnificent insight. Jesus indicates he didn't even come by any kind of perception on Peter's part. It was given to them by the Holy Spirit that point. Having understood who he was first most important thing to know about Jesus Christ. He begins to teach the money actually came to do that was to die upon the cross and give his life so that many might be saved. Now we might suppose. At this point.

At this first third of the way through the 14th chapter that having been rejected by the multitudes Jesus would now have nothing at all to do with him anymore. He began to teach in parables is focusing on his disciples. We might think that he simply had written the multitudes off, but as a matter of fact, in the surprising way, we find that he doesn't do that but we find them doing status continuing to teach the crowd so that those who were willing to be taught by clear and come to faith and also healing and feeding them to the story is.

This goes together nicely. Jesus had withdrawn to a remote area in the northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee not far from city called Bethsaida. He had gone there to be alone with his disciples in order to teach them, but big crowds that had collected on the far side of the Sea of Galilee. As soon as they recognize the direction he was going it was going by boat. They went on around the lake in order to be there when he arrived they made better time than they did in the boat so when they got off Jesus preparing to be alone with the disciples. He found this great crowd. This sets the stage for the healing of the care for them and especially for the feeling that is recorded in this great feeding of the 5000 now it's interesting that the story is the only miracle of Jesus that is recorded in all four of the Gospels must've made a great impression on everyone remember this and they reported that, of course, each in their own way. Mark is closest Matthew, Luke and his account seems to stress that Jesus was there teaching about the kingdom of God and he links that up to what Jesus had commissioned his disciples to do themselves in the passage immediately preceding Luke's version of the story and sent them out to teach the kingdom of God and now emphasizes that that's what happened.

Even on the occasion of this miracle now. John's version is the most independent of also the most detailed. He says that they miracle was performed just before the Jewish Passover and he follows his account with Jesus discourse on the bread of life points that he is making obvious Passover experience was the time when the people were in the wilderness that were being led by Moses.

Moses brought down by the obstruction and grace of God manner from heaven to feed them during the wilderness years out what John is saying quite clearly is a Jesus is the new Moses, that the people with the bread of heaven on here is not physical bread and spiritual bread because as he said in another place you can eat physical bread and die, but the one who has spiritual bread will live forever to get to the end of that account. You also get a great testimony this time spoken by the apostle Peter, Jesus said to him, and to the others.

You also go away because many had after they heard Jesus teaching about the bread of life. There's a Lord whom shall we go. You have the words of eternal life.

So we did not mention that because it's hard to talk about this feeling in the bread of life without thinking about John's Gospel, but were not studying John were studying Matthew. So what we want to ask here as we come to the section the 14th chapter is what Matthew wants us to learn by the incident. Once he teaching us all.

The first lesson stated very clearly, Jesus cares about people, especially those were poor or suffering member. Now he had been hard-pressed by the crowds have been rejected by the masses. He gone away to be with his disciples, but what we read in verse 14 is this when Jesus landed and saw a large crowd.

He had compassion on them, and he healed their sick or maybe even more to it than that. One thing we've noticed about Matthew's gospel in our earlier studies is that he makes a number of his points. By the way he puts the material together words he will juxtapose stories so that what is taught in one is carried over and reinforced by the other and when we think along those lines. Here, we can't help noticing the contrast between the parties that King Herod had just thrown on the occasion of which only danced and John the Baptist was beheaded on the party that Jesus is throwing in the wilderness for the crowds slicker. Some of the differences. The first party is given by a king in his palace, the second by a Galilean preacher in the desert.

The first was for the important people of the world.

Second, for the masses. The first was first Herod was his birthday.

After all, that second was centered on the crowds first was a drunken orgy. Second, sober, pleasant meal first was immoral. The high point was Salome's provocative dance second followed, wholly edifying teaching by the son of God first ended with the murder of John the Baptist. The second by the feeding of those who had no food first was with this world. Only the second anticipated that heavenly marriage supper of the Lamb, which people from every tribe and nation are invited and which the poor will, hard to think of a more striking contrast is not an makes us want to ask the question what is the explanation of the contrast and the answer is quite simple. Herod cared for nobody but himself's actions were determined by his lust for power and a desire to save face before his friends while on the other hand, Jesus cared for other people and so he took time to heal them, teach them, feed them, even though his first desire was to be alone with his disciples this compassion for the masses, incidentally, is a reiterated theme in Matthew's gospel see it in the minds.

Chapter verse 30 6/15 chapter verse 3218 2733 2034 and so on and stated again and again.

Thoughts first clear lesson of the story, Jesus cares for the masses. What that means is that Jesus cares for you.

Even though most people of the world, especially the great of the powerful people do not people who have power and prestige are money don't care about other people at all even though they may pretend to my site and say had their hearts transformed by the power of God in the right many like that probably experience that your coworkers basically don't care about you, at least not very much. Even your friends are more interested in themselves than they are in you and your problem so conclusion is why do you spend so much time worrying about what others think, and so little time actually bringing your concerns to Jesus Christ does care for you.

I don't know about the political quality of Joseph's grievance column of 1855 is not the right theology masses kind of question are you weak and heavy laden comfort with a load of care, precious Savior,*refuge tickets to the Lord in prayer. Your friends this minds forsaking the ticket to the Lord in prayer in his arms he'll take and shield the you will find a soulless glare to bring our problems to Jesus and lay them at his feet.

We are laying them before.

The only person in the universe. It really does care about us and furthermore, is able to do something about the problems. One of the people that was there on that occasion was Peter Mike mentioned several times already and he learned the lesson because later on in his first epistle he wrote these words he said cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you have anxiety or worries cares whatever it may be the place to bring them is to Jesus. That's first point out second point of the story is also clear in each of the gospel.

So it's presented in different ways and it's this spiritual matters. We can do nothing apart from Jesus Christ. Jesus himself said it very clearly in John 15, the fifth verse. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit wasn't part for me you can do nothing. No one one way or another. As I said each of the Gospels emphasizes this in John, Jesus initiates a lesson by asking Philip where shall we buy bread for all these people eat and then the next words to explain.

He asked this only to test every already had in mind what he was going to do story continues and tells us how Philip assess the situation with managerial YM explained eight months wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a little bit and then Andrew who was there trying to do his bit brings forward the little boy who has the five most efficient Jesus uses them for the miracle of healing, but the emphasis is upon not only the lack of resources with the inability of the disciples to meet the great need. Now Mark repeats that assessment. He says it would take eight months of a man's wages to buy food for so many people and Luke has a disciple say this, we only have five moles of bread and two fish. Must be going by overall, this crowd all their saying is that the disciples were unable to do anything at all. What seems to have struck most clearly in the minds of these first three gospel writers that is Matthew Mark and Luke is a Jesus called attention to this, as if to make a special lesson up much clearer in the Greek text that it is in the English because in the Greek text you have a pronoun where the pronoun view which is not necessary may know, in the Greek languages in many languages. The ending of the verb indicates a pronoun whether his eulogy at Wheeler that he and don't have to have that kind of a pronoun in Greek but when you do have it usually. Therefore, emphasis here.

You have this pronoun view, their meaning would seem to be something like this talking about the number of the people and their need for food. And so Jesus says to live well you words, why are you coming to me.

We know that he already understood the situation he knew they didn't have an offer told that in the other Gospels. So the only possible reason for him addressing them.

That way was to emphasize for their benefit. The fact that there really was nothing they could do is very important for us to understand, especially as Christian people, help people, but we are not the answered other people's problems, Jesus is the answer and see in a moment that we do have work to do as an excuse us, were not the answer.

You know, Martin Luther said when he was referring to Jesus words without me you can do nothing that we have to remember that nothing really is nothing. Not a little something so the point is exactly what's being made here yet. As I said, we do have what God has first given to us. Although it's insufficient, humanly speaking in adequate and certainly we are inadequate in spiritual think it becomes sufficient when what we have is placed in Jesus hands that's what's done here disciples only have these little fishing is five loads. But when they gave them to Jesus. They were all that was necessary had time would be interesting to develop that throughout the whole Bible because you find it again and again the experience of God's saints take Moses for example, what did Moses have one God sent Moses to Egypt, the most powerful nation of the day the demand of Pharaoh let my people go. All he had was the staff in his hand. God was present Moses use that staff at the direction of the Lord was sufficient as a vehicle for the miracles and eventually Pharaoh let the people go. What did David the King happily went up against Goliath only had was a sling and a few small stones. They were guided by God they were sufficient and so it is say what can I do for Jesus telling yourself nothing at all. You know the answer to that you can accomplish a great deal of what he's given you put first of all in his hands.

The movie set in one occasion after he heard someone preach man was saying the world has yet to see what God can do with a man that was utterly surrendered to and Moody replied by the grace of God I will be that man. He gave it all to Jesus even though he was a basically uneducated man. God bless them, and he became a great evangelist.

I was preparing this message, I came across a wonderful quotation from Charles Haddon Spurgeon, preacher had to do with this matter of the loaves and fish. He was relating into his own preaching event in the ministry at this point many many years and here's what he sentences on personal testimony. Truly, he who writes this comment please referring to himself as often felt as if he had neither loaf nor fish yet for some 40 years and more. He is been a full pandan waiter.

The king's great banquet. That's pretty well put in when you're trying to teach people year after year as I myself done now for 30 years and say to yourself, how can you ever week after week find something to say that is of any value at all to teach people who heard you week after week after week course and you talk about yourself, nothing at all.

People depend upon themselves and up repeating themselves over and over again becomes very little value to say when you come to the word of God the Word of God is endless. That's what he's given to us.

We take that we share it with the people God blesses and multiplies its 1020s and 50s. Hundreds and thousands eventually come to faith. That's a second list at least of the third of these lessons and that is the sufficiency of Jesus Christ because that's what John 15 five says after all, last part of that verse stresses our inability to do anything, but it does this so we will draw on Jesus resources is as if any man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit, and only after that does it say apart from me you can do nothing. So the point is we can bear fruit only that much fruit and even fruit that will remain. John 1516 will only be the case of Jesus is working through since he alone is able to meet anyone spiritual needs, and here he meets the needs of the crowd abundantly.

These five loads at least two fishing directed the people to sit down and he looked a heavenly thank God for the food he blessed it broke it. He distributed it in the story concludes by saying they all ate and were satisfied and the disciples picked up 12 basketballs of broken pieces that were left over, the number of those weight was about 5000 men, besides women and children worth reflecting on that, just a little bit because in the ancient world this matter of having enough to eat was a serious matter is not usually very serious process we like something we go out to the store and buy. They didn't have that kind of an economy that dependent clearly season by season on the rains and sometimes of the rains failed. The crops whether the people start were much more conscious of that day than we are today.

That food comes from God. So when Jesus multiplies the bread and passes it out is very clear that here you have God at work providing for the needs of the people find in the Old Testament. Isaiah said to the people. If you are willing and obedient you will eat the best from a land words. If you are obedient to God to provide for you and David wrote of God's blessings deplorable even be satisfied if those who seek the Lord will praise them. That's what Jesus was building on and in John's account we find that he went on to teach about himself being the bread of life.

Saying he'll comes to me will never go hungry, and he believes in me will never be thirsty so I asked that firms of a question for you. You come to Jesus Christ and found him they sufficient to your need not found in the be sufficient. You never really come to him because Jesus is God inexhaustible in his resources he cares and he cares about people like you. He cares for you specifically as a barrier. They are the barriers on your side, not on his side. In other are people were so needy that that's virtually impossible to help very much. Sometimes the staff attends church when it's discussing an individual like this will refer to him or her as a bottomless pit. Yet, you know, there is no pit so Dietmar no place so dark. Jesus Christ is not able to penetrate to the very depths and bring his glorious light. Whatever your need may be need to come to find that he is utterly sufficient for any needs you may have.

You might be like the prodigal in the far country you thought that life could be enjoyed without God, without your heavenly father and so you going your own way and you've taken the resources that he's provided because even life, health, wisdom, talent, whatever it is you may have comes from God you've used that entirely on yourself, but maybe you come to the point where your stomach is empty and not only your stomach with your heart is empty to when you find yourself feeding on the slumped instead to pay maybe by the grace of God. You even come to realize that that is what the world has to offer.

It's not satisfying. It's even disgusting when you really think about it, you find that you're starving your miserable your abandoned your loan you need to do what the prodigal did the prodigal, by the grace of God at last came to his senses and said look at me. Here I am. I have a good loving father and I'm out here living with the pains I know what I'll do, I'll return. I go back to my father all say to.

I'm not even worthy to be your son just take me on as a servant will have enough to eat. You know when he did that in came, he found not a reluctant father. He found the father of those waiting for him anxiously for them to come did come the father ran to him. Rasmussen and his arms restored and that once Nana parting intro banquet great big party. Father said rejoice with me, because this son of mine was dead is alive is alive forevermore say that's God was waiting for you if you come is that God was able to provide for your every need. One last lesson is this God works through people is although he is sufficient for every human need. And although we have nothing in ourselves offer God nevertheless chooses to work through human agents to bring his sufficiency to other people. 20. Didier is the one to multiply the lows of the patient that having done that, he called on the disciples and he said here distribute these two crowds years ago. I took that management course somebody of the church arranged with a group called Servicemaster industries. It makes him harder than their Christian company. I found it very helpful. But the thing I probably remembered most from that particular seminar was the definition of management and I remembered it tried to stick by many occasions. It goes like this management is getting the right things done through other people is what you have here in the case of Jesus Christ. The people needed to be fed. Jesus led them but he did it through the disciples, thereby also training them and I could have done it in different ways. Jesus could have called down manna from heaven very fact that this was taking place at the time of the Passover is trying to make the connection with Moses one through whom God provided manna might have suggested that to him with. It certainly made a good illustration for the lecture on the bread of life that followed what he didn't do that because the cost of low for the fish to appear in everyone's pocket suddenly say how you reached down there you find your dinner.

I could've done it that way, but he didn't study multiplies and gives of the disciples and they distribute and so all the people have something to each. That's what the gospel is about to because were going to come to the very end of it.

Eventually we ever do get to the very end of Matthew's gospel were going to find there. The great commission.

What we find them doing is sending the disciples and that means ourselves out into the world with the gospel says this look go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I commanded you. And Shirley, I'm with you always, even unto the end of the age. That is the great blessing of the world, the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ. The greatest blessing you and I can have as Christian people is to take the gospel by the blessing of God and other people so they also passed from death, spiritual life, I want to give you one last story little time altogether. On one occasion Jesus described Amanda was visited at midnight by a friend Brenda been on the journey came, he was hungry obviously had to be received by the man whose house he came didn't have anything cupboards were bare.

He did have a neighbor next door neighbor next door was better off had something and he was a friend as well and so in the middle of the night. This man who would been visited got up and went next door to his neighbor and said this friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me and I have nothing to set before him on hosts must really have been without anything because of you had anything at all brought out put it on the table as inadequate as it may have been. We had nothing knowing he had nothing. He went to the friend who had an order that the friend would, and actually receive it. That's a situation we are renting where to be effective as ministers of the gospel of Christ as we share this good news we have to have a twofold friendship on the one hand, we have to know the world have people that really have a need and on the other hand, we have to know that friend was above all friends and as he answered every made so you think about those were perishing about Christ's go your prayer closet and pray along these lines, you say to God Almighty. My great sovereign, eternal friend of friends, I have nothing at all to give the friend you'll find that's that heavenly friend has everything that is needed will give you the joy of sharing in order that your joy also might be full as prayer father, we thank you for the teaching of your word so clear. So forceful.

Also direct, so helpful for the grant that we might profit. Client not just in some future day profit by it now those here who never come to Christ in the first place and say here at great offer. The offer spiritual feeding nourishment for their souls.

They turn from their sin abrasiveness the Savior we pray in Jesus.

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