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Friday, November 2 2012

The Lessons Of The Loaves And Fishes

The feeding of the five thousand is one of the most famous miracles of the Messiah. But why did He do it? Was it merely because the people were physically hungry, a long way from where they could obtain food? What happened afterward, when they followed Him, expecting only to get another free lunch?

First, consider carefully that it was near the time of Passover:

"6:1 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias [see also The Cities Of Lake Galilee]. 6:2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. 6:3 And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. 6:4 And the passover [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Passover and Nisan 14: The Messiah's Manna], a feast of the Jews, was nigh." (John 6:1-4 KJV)

The reason that the people had followed the Messiah out to the remote place was either to be healed, or to witness the miraculous healings that the LORD (see the Fact Finder question below) had been doing. It wasn't simply a matter that He then suddenly realized that a large crowd of people had wandered too far from a supply of food, because "he himself knew what he would do." The miracle of the feeding was not a by chance event.

Feeding The Five Thousand

"6:5 When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread [see The Fourth Commandment, Part One: Work], that these may eat? 6:6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.

6:7 Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.

6:8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him, 6:9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?" (John 6:5-9 KJV)

The Messiah was then given the "five barley loaves, and two small fishes" that a boy had with him. Why did a lad have more than he could have eaten in a day with him, while none of the adults thought of bringing any food with them on their journey? How is it that the lad was so easily found in a crowd of thousands of people? Again, because "he himself knew what he would do."

"6:10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place.

So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.

6:11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.

6:12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.

6:13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.

6:14 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 [see The Ministries Of The Two Greatest Prophets].

6:15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone." (John 6:10-15 KJV)

The people of Judah then, as well as now (i.e. those who don't recognize Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah) were awaiting a merely human messiah, a deliverer of their physical nation. When they saw the way that He provided for them, they would have tried to "take him by force, to make him a king." It was for that reason that the Messiah left their presence and "went over the sea toward Capernaum" - with another miracle by the Messiah, of walking on the water.

Fishermen On The Sea Of Galilee

"6:16 And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea, 6:17 And entered into a ship [see also The Ships Of Galilee], and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. 6:18 And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. 6:19 So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. 6:20 But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid. 6:21 Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went." (John 6:16-21 KJV)

By the next day, the physically hungry people "came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus."

"6:22 The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone; 6:23 (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:) 6:24 When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus [see also Why Bethlehem, Egypt, Nazareth And Capernaum?]." (John 6:22-24 KJV)

The LORD then warned them not to look to Him "because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled." They were looking only to be filled with what sustained their physical existence, while the Messiah came to fill humanity with what will sustain eternal life, "For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world."

"6:25 And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?

6:26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. 6:27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed [see Christ Died For Repentant Sinners and What Was The Lesson Of John 3:16?].

6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent [see How Were Thine Eyes Opened?].

6:30 They said therefore unto him, What sign showest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? 6:31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

6:32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 6:33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world." (John 6:25-33 KJV)

The creation of the first woman happened by means of the flesh and blood of "the first Adam" ("2:23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man" Genesis 2:23 KJV). The Church of God, the people who accept the flesh and blood Sacrifice of the Messiah, by being faithful to Him, is referred to as a "woman" because it is from the Church of God that all children of God will be born to eternal life ("5:30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 5:32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church" Ephesians 5:30-32 KJV; see The Birth Of The Bride).

Seeking The King

"6:34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 6:36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me [see What Happened When The Messiah Arrived In Heaven?]. 6:39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:34-40 KJV)

Most translations render "the Jews" as though Jesus Himself wasn't a Jew - but He surely was, a direct descendant of King David (Matthew 1:1-16). But the Messiah is moreover the Messiah of humanity: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

"6:41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. 6:42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? [see also The Kinsfolk Of Jesus Of Nazareth] how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?

6:43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day [see The Eighth Day: Empty Cemeteries]. 6:45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. 6:46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. 6:48 I am that bread of life. 6:49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 6:50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." (John 6:41-51 KJV)

Those who were yet carnal-minded responded in the only way that they could, without the Spirit of Understanding yet come upon them ("8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" Romans 8:7-9 KJV), as it does, and will, provide the opportunity of salvation to everyone, sooner or later ("2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved" Acts 2:21 KJV).

The Ruins Of Capernaum

"6:52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day [see The Rising Of The Messiah's Unleavened People]. 6:55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 6:56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 6:57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 6:58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. 6:59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum." (John 6:52-59 KJV)

For the as-yet carnal minded, it was a "hard saying" that they couldn't stand to listen to ("who can hear it?").

"6:60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

6:61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 6:62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? [see the Fact Finder question below] 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not [see How Were Thine Eyes Opened?]. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father." (John 6:60-65 KJV)

Without the ability to understand, or for those who did have the means to understand, but rejected it, "many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him." Not all of the unbelievers left him at that time; Judas remained, for his prophesied purpose (see The Long Shadow Of Judas).

"6:66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

6:67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 6:69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

6:70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? 6:71 He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve." (John 6:66-71 KJV)

Fact Finder: How do we know that Jesus Christ was "the LORD God" who delivered the Israelites in the Exodus and then fed them manna?
See Who Is The LORD?

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This Day In History, November 2

1164: Thomas Beckett, the Archbishop of Canterbury, began a 6-year self-imposed exile in France. Once a close friend of King Henry II, he found himself in difficulty after he became an outspoken opponent of the king's policies.

1570: Nearly a thousand people were killed when a tidal wave struck the coast of Holland.

1721: Peter I was proclaimed czar of all the Russians.

1785: The first lifeboat was patented by London coachbuilder Lionel Lukin.

1789: During the French Revolution, all property of the church was taken over by the state.

1841: Following the British occupation of Kabul, Afghans revolted and killed Sir Alexander Burnes and 23 others, starting the Second Afghan War.

1899: The Boers (white natives of Cape Province, the Afrikaans-speaking descendants of Dutch settlers; Afrikaans is closely related to Dutch and Flemish) began their 118 day siege of British held Ladysmith during the Second Boer War.

1914: Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire.

1917: During the First World War, British foreign secretary Arthur Balfour, prompted by "Zionist" emigres Chaim Weizmann and Nahum Sokolow, wrote a letter to the 2nd Baron Rothschild, head of the British branch of the Jewish banking family, which contained the "Balfour Declaration" (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Balfour Declaration). The declaration, pledging British aid for efforts to establish a Jewish homeland in "Palestine," was a key event in the creation of the modern state of "Israel" (which is actually Judah; see Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel Of Judah). The modern state of Israel was proclaimed just over 30 years later, in 1948.

1930: Haile Selassie was crowned emperor of Ethiopia.

1936: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) was established.

1940: During the Second World War that was started by Adolf Hitler (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion), the Luftwaffe bombed London for the 57th consecutive night of the "Blitz."

1964: King Saud of Saudi Arabia was deposed and replaced by Prince Fail.

1965: Norman Morrison, a 31-year-old Quaker, set himself on fire in front of the Pentagon to protest the use of napalm in the Vietnam War.

1967: During the Vietnam War, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson and his advisors decided that the U.S. people should be given more "optimistic reports" on the progress of the war.

1984: Velma Barfield was executed in Raleigh, North Carolina after being convicted of six murders. She became the first woman executed in the U.S. since 1962, as well as the first woman to be executed by lethal injection.

1995: The Argentine Supreme Court ordered the extradition to Italy of former SS captain Erich Priebke to face trial for a World War Two massacre of prisoners in the Ardeatine Caves.


Copyright © Wayne Blank