The Book of Mark
James J. Barker


Lesson 22
THE FEEDING OF THE 5,000

Text: MARK 6:30-44


INTRODUCTION:


1.     This is the only one of our Lord’s miracles found in all four gospels.  We will consider all four accounts this evening.

2.     We see in Mark 6:31 that our Lord and His disciples were so busy that they did not even have time to eat.  “For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.”

3.     Both Mark 6:34 and Matthew 14:14 tell us that when our Lord saw a great multitude He “was moved with compassion toward them.”  It is Scriptures like this that should motivate us here in this great New York metropolitan area, teeming with millions of lost souls, and so few soul-winning churches.

4.     When DL Moody was a young Christian, he started a Sunday School class in Chicago, and many children came to it. When asked why he walked so far to attend Moody’s Sunday School, one boy replied, “Because they love a fellow over there.”

5.     The great love and compassion of God is the key to this miracle of the feeding of the 5,000.  Actually it was probably much more than 5,000.

6.     “And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children” (Matt. 14:21; cf. Mark 6:44).

7.     “For they were about five thousand men” (Luke 9:14).

8.     Liberals and skeptics do not believe in miracles.  But how else can we explain feeding more than five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fishes?  Besides, Mark 6:52 refers to this as a “miracle.”  “For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.”

9.     John 6:14 says, “Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.”

10. The interpretation of this miracle is quite easy. What I would like to do tonight is make some applications for us.

 

I.     WE HAVE TO HAVE A BURDEN FOR PEOPLE

1.    We can see here that, in contrast to our Lord, the disciples did not have much of a burden for the people (Mark 6:36).

2.    John R. Rice preached a message from this text, and described the attitude of the disciples this way: “Somebody says, ‘The old infidel, we can’t get him.  Dope heads, you can’t reach them.  Catholics, never.  And you can’t get Jews saved, nor Jehovah’s Witnesses.’  So you mark them all off.  And let them go to Hell…That is about what you say about most of the old, hardened sinners.  This old world is going to Hell and you think people can’t be reached.”

3.    We see the same thing in the story of the Syrophenician woman who cried out to the Lord that her daughter was “grievously vexed with a devil” (Matt. 15:22).  The disciples then said to our Lord, “Send her away; for she crieth after us” (Matt. 15:23).

4.    Unfortunately we have this same attitude in many churches today – “Send them away!  They’re a bother.  Send them away; they’re different.  Send them away; they have a strange accent, etc.”

5.    There are millions of people right here in America today who are going to psychiatrists. Why?  The churches cannot help them.  Pastors are saying, “I cannot help you.  The Word of God cannot help you.  Even God cannot help you.  Go to the psychiatrist; he can help you.”

6.    And what does the psychiatrist do?  He gives them pills and dopes them up. Today in America, the psychiatrist has replaced the preacher.  Have you noticed that every time there is some horrible tragedy – a school shooting or 9/11 or some other crime where many people are killed, the school officials and the media go straight to the psychiatrists?  They do not even consider talking to a preacher.  They do not care what the Bible has to say.

7.    I read an interesting article in the newspaper a few years ago. The reporter observed that Mayor Giuliani’s speeches were loaded with psychiatric jargon.  The reporter called the mayor’s office and his spokeswoman admitted that Giuliani reads a lot of Sigmund Freud.   He would be much better off if he read the Bible!

8.    Today our government spends billions of our tax dollars in the welfare mess and other wasteful government programs.  People today look to the government for everything: money, food, housing, schooling, medical care, etc. How did this happen.  The churches said, “Send them away.”

9.    I am not advocating the social gospel.  In fact, I am 100% opposed to the social gospel. I am just saying that if churches did things Biblically our country would not be in the mess it is in today (cf. I Tim. 5:8-16).

10. Spurgeon said, “We never need send the multitude away to be dealt with by the State, by the parish, or by hirelings.  If we will but set to work, we shall find that the Lord makes us competent for every emergency.”

 

II. WE HAVE TO HAVE FAITH IN GOD

1.    In Genesis 18:14, the LORD said to Abraham and his wife Sarah, “Is any thing too hard for the LORD?”

2.    The disciples lacked faith so our Lord tried to teach them a lesson.  The disciples said, “We have no more but five loaves and two fishes” (Luke 9:13; cf. Mark 6:38).

3.    In John’s Gospel we are told our Lord said to Philip, “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” (John 6:5).

4.    “And this He said to prove him (Philip)” (John 6:6).   Our Lord wanted them to realize their dependence upon Him.

5.    I think this is the #1 problem in America today – because most Americans are so comfortable and well-fed they have just about forgotten about God.

6.    But this is nothing new.  Mark 6:52 says the disciples had hard hearts.  Matthew 14:31 says they had “little faith.”  John R. Rice said, “Their unbelief is strange, but no stranger than ours!  How little right we have to accuse the apostles!  We ask so little and expect so little from God.”

7.    James 4:2 says, “Ye have not because ye ask not.”

8.    Beloved, we will not get anywhere without faith.  We need compassionate hearts and great faith. If God used pitchers and lamps in Gideon’s army, and the jawbone of an ass in Samson’s hand, and five loaves of bread and two fishes from a little boy, He can use whatever we make available.

9.    “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” (I Cor. 1:27).

10. Though our gifts be small and our powers weak, yet in the hands of Christ we may accomplish much.  The same Lord who multiplied the five loaves and the two fishes can still multiply our meager resources.

11. Bring to Christ your loaves and fishes

Though they be both few and small,

He will use the weakest vessels –

Give to Him your little all.

Do you ask how many thousands

Can be fed with food so slim?

Listen to the Master’s blessing –

Leave the miracle to Him.

 

Christian worker, looking forward

To the ripened harvest field,

Does the task seem great before you?

Think how rich will be the yield.

Bravely labor with your Master,

Though the prospect may seem dim,

Preach the Word with holy fervor –

Leave the miracle to Him. – Author unknown.

 

12. Consider this: The Lord Jesus Christ is God. He could have called down manna from heaven.  He could have created food instantly.

13. He could have just as easily feed five million as He could five thousand!

14. Spurgeon said, “The Lord Jesus was equal to the emergency: none of the people went away without sharing in his bounty; they were all filled. Our blessed Master, now that he has ascended into the heavens, has more rather than less power; he is not baffled because of our lack, but can even now use paltry means to accomplish his own glorious purposes; therefore let no man’s heart fail him.”

15. It was to show us God’s grace that the Lord used the lad with the five barley loaves and two small fishes (John 6:6-9).

16. And it is through you and me that the Gospel is to be proclaimed today.  We are to follow the example of this little lad, who had very little, but he gave all that he had.

17. He may have had little, but “little is much when God is in it.”  And what was the  result?  Everyone was fed, and there was more left over when Jesus finished than when He began (Mark 6:43; cf. Luke 9:17; John 6:12, 13; Matt. 14:20, 21).

18. Spurgeon said: “By feeding others our stock increases.”  We have seen this firsthand with our faith promise missions giving.

19. Beloved, if every true born-again believer would give all that he has for the Lord, we would see millions of souls saved and this country turned around.  We would see Bibles, tracts, and missionaries sent out all over the world and churches established everywhere.

20. But we cannot do this if we do not have faith in God (Mark 6:45- 52).

 

III. WE HAVE TO DO WHAT OUR LORD TELLS US TO DO (6:39-44).

1.    If we just do what God tells us to do He will provide for us.  Take soulwinning.  If we obey His command to go out and preach the Gospel to every creature, He will save souls. 

2.    Our Lord said, “Give ye them to eat” (Luke 9:13). This is a commandment for every one who has partaken of the Bread of Life.  We are responsible to pass it on to others. 

3.    Men are dying in their sins.  They are hungry and they are sick from all of the (spiritual) junk food they have digested.  And so Jesus tells His disciples, “Give ye them to eat” (Luke 9:13).

4.    How about tithing?  If we are faithful in giving Gods our tithes and offerings, He will stretch the rest and multiply it so that we need not worry about finances.  God will help you do a lot more with 90% (or less) than you can do with 100%.

5.    Our Lord said, “Give ye them to eat” (9:13).  He commanded the people to sit down “by companies upon the green grass.  And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties” (Mark 6:39, 40).

6.    God is a God of order.  First Corinthians 14:40 says, “Let all things be done decently and in order.”

7.    Here is an important lesson: God takes what we have and multiplies it.  He takes natural human ability, meager resources, and other limitations and expands them for His glory (Mark 6:42, 43).

 

CONCLUSION:

1.     This is “Sacrificial Sunday.”  If we do not get serious about giving the LORD our tithes and offerings, there could be serious trouble ahead.

2.     One of the great lessons in our text tonight is this: God is not asking us to give what we don’t have, He’s asking us to give what we do have.

3.     John gives us a small detail regarding “a lad,” not mentioned by Matthew, Mark, or Luke (cf. John 6:7-12).

4.     God does big things with little people.  Or as one preacher put it, “God specializes in doing extraordinary things with ordinary people. You may be too big for God to use but you’ll never be to small for God to use!” (Adrian Rogers).

5.     The little lad gave his five barley loaves and his two small fishes, and the Lord used that to feed over 5,000 people – with twelve baskets full of leftovers.

6.     Our Lord said in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”



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