Jesus asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” When they found out they said, “Five and two fish.” Then he instructed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed and broke the loaves. He kept giving them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. Everyone ate and was satisfied. They picked up twelve baskets full of pieces of bread and fish. Now those who had eaten the loaves were five thousand men. – Mark 6:38-44 (CSB)
Faced with hungry crowds and a late hour, and tired from the days of ministry, Jesus’ apostles urged Jesus to send away the people to find something to eat. Instead Jesus told them to feed the crowd of thousands using what they had: Five loaves of bread and two fish.
When Jesus divided the food, this provided enough that not only were all present satisfied with the meal (these weren’t scrawny rations), there were enough left overs that each of the apostles came back to Jesus holding a basket.
Yes, Jesus worked a miracle. The God who created all things with his words can multiply a meal only good for a family or two into one that feeds thousands. But here we see more than Jesus’ sovereign power over nature, we also see Jesus as the great provider, the great satisfier.
This same account in John 6 is followed by Jesus’ discourse on being the “bread of life.” There, he calls people to focus their attention beyond the bread that merely satisfies the stomach and instead look to him who satisfies the soul. There, Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in me will ever be thirsty again” (John 6:35).
Like the crowd, we all know the pangs of physical hunger. But we also know those of spiritual hunger. In life we try to dull the pain or ignore it through different religious rituals, good works, or the fleeting pleasures of sin. Yet, each ultimately leaves us craving more. Each does not finally satisfy. With Jesus, we are freed from dead ritual and brought into living relationship. We are free from the need to earn God’s favor because God freely gives us his favor. We are free from sin’s passing pleasures and the disasters that ultimately follow because Jesus provides greater pleasures and eternal life.
So, let us partake of Jesus by trusting in him for rescue from sin and the hope of true life. Let us rest, satisfied, in what he has provided through himself. Let us live daily with the joy and hope that magnifies his greatness.