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"Food for Body and Soul" (posted March 1, 2007)

Seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, [Jesus] said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?"
    One of His disciples...said to Him, "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?"
    The men sat down, in number about five thousand.
   - John 6:5, 8-9, 10

The miracle of feeding the five thousand has evidently a special importance, since it is related in each of the four Gospels. The miracle is described in such a way as to emphasize the Lord's resource and foreknowledge.

Jesus Himself "knew what He would do" (John 6:6). In such an emergency, the best that could be said of other servants of God would be that, not knowing what to do, they looked to God for direction and got it. But here was One who knew what to do, and knew He had the power to do it. Before Andrew spoke of the lad with his small loaves and fish, He knew about them.

Though His knowledge and power were such, He did not disdain the small supplies which the lad offered, nor did He ignore the disciples with their small understanding and feeble faith. He made them the distributors of His bounty. The original food supply was the lad's; the hands that distributed it were the disciples'; the power and grace were His and His alone.

And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.

Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world."
- John 6:11, 14

So manifest was this to the men that partook of the bounty, that they connected it with heaven and declared that He must be the Prophet that should come into the world, as Moses had said (in Deuteronomy 18:15-19).

People were led to that conclusion on a number of occasions (see also John 4:19; 7:40; 9:17). Yet, to be lasting, it had to be a stepping-stone to deeper conclusions. In chapter 4, it led to the conviction that He was the Christ; in chapter 9, to the conclusion that He was the Son of God.

Frank B. Hole

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