Not long ago, I read the story of a fisherman who was forced to move because of a house fire. In the move, he asked his aunt to hold onto his good luck charm, which he had kept under his bed for over 10 years. He took her a 75 pound pearl that his boat anchor had caught on all those years ago. Each day, he would touch it before going fishing hoping it would bring him luck so he could catch a lot of fish. It turns out, as he’s struggled to make a living for the past ten years, he’s been sleeping over a $100,000,000 pearl! He had no clue what’s its value was as the world’s largest gem quality pearl.
That story reminds me of Jesus feeding the 5,000 in Mark 6. There were hungry people and it was getting late. The disciples asked if they should spend 200 silver coins to buy food for everyone. That’s when, in verse 38, Jesus asked them, “How much bread do you have?” (GNT) They went to check and came back to tell Him, “Five loaves.” Jesus then had them seat everyone. He broke the bread and the two fish they had, fed all 5,000 men (plus women and children), then took up 12 baskets of leftovers.
When Jesus asked how much bread they had, they had already seen Him heal the blind, raise the dead, cure leprosy, and so much more. In fact, they had just returned from being sent out to the towns and villages performing miracles themselves. They knew the power of God was with Jesus and had flowed through them, but it never crossed their mind to ask for a miracle for a crowd. Until this time, with the exception of the wine in Cana, most miracles had been for individuals. But to me, the question of how much bread they had was a test.
They had more than five loaves. They had the Bread of Life with them and not one of them thought to include Him in the number of loaves of bread. Whenever you add Jesus to whatever you have, you will always have more than enough. We can’t stay in the same mindset they had. We can’t look at physical problems expecting spiritual results unless we are willing to add in the Bread of Life to the equation. We can’t see through blocked roads, huge obstacles, or insurmountable odds because we’ve been keeping Jesus under our bed as a good luck charm. He’s worth more than $100,000,000. He’s the answer to your struggles. Give what you have to Him and watch Him multiply it.
One of the sites we visited around the Sea of Galilee was the church at Tabgha. It’s there to remind us of Jesus feeding five thousand with five loaves and two fish. The church is situated right on the Sea of Galilee near the Mount of Beatitudes. Inside the church is a rock where some believe Jesus broke the bread and the fish. But just below the rock, there is a beautiful mosaic of a basket with four pieces of bread and two fish beside it. This is what was interesting to me.
Our guide told us that the artist put four loaves instead of five because Jesus Himself was the Bread of Life. He would have been the fifth loaf. It’s very interesting to think about. In Mark 6, it’s the disciples who noticed the people were hungry and asked Jesus to send the people away to find something to eat. They didn’t think of Him as bread for the people yet. The people were indeed hungry, but they were hungry for something that satisfies longer than a few hours.
Jesus then did something interesting. He had the disciples seat the people, Then, in Mark 6:41, it says, “Then Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven, and gave thanks to God. He broke the loaves and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all” (GNT). If you read closely, He gave the bread to His disciples to distribute. To this day, we as His disciples, are asked to take His broken body (the broken bread) and distribute it to the masses.
Another beautiful part of the story is in Verses 42-43. It says, “Everyone ate and had enough. Then the disciples took up twelve baskets full of what was left of the bread and the fish.” This reminds me that Jesus is more than enough. No matter how many times we tell His story, it is just as powerful and fulfilling as the first. Not only is He the Bread of Life, but this bread does not run out no matter how many times, in how many lands, in how many languages it’s distributed. Go into all the world, and preach this good news.
I recently went with our church’s youth group to serve an inner city mission. This ministry doesn’t just serve the needs of those who live on premises, but they also serve the community around them. We were there to help them organize, clean, do yard work, and to serve lunch. About an hour and a half before lunch, people began arriving in the lobby to wait for the food to be served. Some were individuals and some were families who needed a little help. They come each day for a meal that won’t cost them anything.
In John 6, Jesus fed 5,000 with only five loaves of bread and two fish. The people were ecstatic about the free meal, but also realized they were a part of a miracle. The next day, they went looking for Jesus, who had gone to the other side after walking on water to the boat. When they got there, Jesus called them out. In verse 26, Jesus said, “You’ve come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you, filled your stomachs—and for free” (MSG). People were looking for a free meal, but Jesus was wanting them to be hungry for spiritual food.
In verse 27, He said, “Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last” (MSG). The people at the mission waited a couple of hours for food that would only satisfy their hunger for a few hours. Don’t get me wrong, they needed the food and there was lots of ministry going on during the lunch, but the people went for the physical food rather than the spiritual food.
Our human nature seems to crave the perishable things of this world instead of the imperishable. You and I have to teach our minds to expend our energy and time on the things that matter for eternity. We have to re-teach our minds to value the things of God. You’ll know that you’re valuing the imperishable when you make time for things like spending time in prayer, reading God’s Word, and serving your neighbor. That’s the food that satisfies more than a few hours, and that’s worth waiting for.