Friday, July 4, 2014
Two Fish And Five Biscuits
“When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.” (Matthew 14:13-14)
After Jesus heard about John’s execution, he sailed across the Sea of Galilee to a desert area. When the people learned where he had gone, they followed him around the coast on foot. Concerned that they had traveled so far to hear him, Jesus took time to heal their sick.
“And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.
But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.
And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.” (Matthew 14:15-17)
That evening the disciples came to Jesus, concerned because they were in the middle of the desert and there was no place close to get food. They recommended he send the people away to find a place where they could get food.
Jesus said there was no need to send then away. They should just feed them. The disciples were concerned that they had only a small boy’s sack lunch. They were sure that five biscuits or pieces of pita bread and a couple of sardines was not enough to feed the crowd.
“He said, Bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.” (Matthew 14:18-21)
Jesus instructed them to bring him the food and have the multitude sit down. Because they believed in him, the disciples obeyed. After praying, he started breaking the food into pieces which the disciples handed to the people. When they finished, there was far more left over than they had started with, even though between five thousand and ten thousand people had eaten all they wanted.
In all the years I have been a pastor, I have never seen a church dinner run short of food even when people who weren’t expected showed up and the ladies who fixed the food were worried about having enough. I believe that on a much smaller scale, God has repeatedly done the same thing. Unfortunately, believing that doesn’t always stop me form worrying.
“And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.” (Matthew 14:22-24)
After feeding the multitude, Jesus told the disciples to get into the ship and go to the other side while he sent the crowd home. He then went up to mountains where he prayed privately until almost dark. In the meantime, the ship had gotten well out into the sea and a storm had arisen that was impeding their progress.
“And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.” (Matthew 14:25-26)
Sometime between midnight and two in the morning, Jesus caught up with the ship, walking on the water. The se was so rough no one was sleeping and when they saw him, the disciples thought it must be a ghost or spirit coming to get them and started yelling to drive him away.
“But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:27-31)
Jesus identified himself to calm their fears and Peter asked permission to walk on the water to Jesus. Jesus told him to come on and Peter climbed out and started walking toward him. None of the other disciples dared to try.
Though the waves were not tossing him around and he was having no trouble walking, Peter got distracted by the violence of the wave and panicked, beginning to sink. When he called for the Lord to help him, Jesus reached down and took him by the hand, pulling him up while standing on the water. He asked him why he quit trusting him, because he had been doing fine.
“And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:32-33)
Immediately upon his entering the ship, the wind stopped and the disciples remembered what had happened in Matthew 8:24-27, when Jesus commanded the wind to stop. This time they didn’t ask what kind of man could do this. They knew he was the son of God.
“And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret. And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased; And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.” (Matthew 14:34-36)