There were two instances where Jesus wanted to feed a large crowd. One was a crowd of 5,000 and the other was of 4,000. In both instances, they were away from the city with nowhere to buy food. In Mark 8, we find the story of the 4,000 people who were following Jesus and it says they ran out of food. Jesus had compassion on them and indicated he wanted to feed the mass of people. The disciples were incredulous and asked, “How are we supposed to find enough food to feed them out here in the wilderness?” (NLT)
They knew that Jesus was looking to them to feed the people. I’m sure the “we” in that sentence had some inflection in it indicating they thought He should be the one finding the food. He was the Son of God after all. But Jesus didn’t waiver. He stayed true to who He has been since the beginning of time. He looked to them for an act of faith. He wanted them to be the ones who looked at an impossible situation and to offer Him something to multiply. If you remember your multiplication tables, anything multiplied by zero is zero.
When their faith saw only the impossibility, He threw them a hint. In verse 5 Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?” He was looking for them to trust Him with their own bread so He could do what only He could do. He wanted them to see He could perform miracles in the wilderness. He didn’t have to be in a lush environment or around a lot of people in a city. He just needed to be by a few people with enough faith to trust Him with what they had.
You may be in a wilderness right now wondering what God is doing. You may look around you and think you don’t have anything to offer God to take care of the mass of problems in your life. I believe God would say to you what He said to them, “How much bread do you have?” What is your bread that God could multiply? What is it that you can offer Him in the wilderness that you need Him to multiply? If your faith can’t see what your bread is, ask God to point it out to you like He did with the disciples. When you put it in His hands, He’ll perform miracles in your wilderness.