35 And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: 36 Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat.
The disciples want Jesus to stop preaching and to send the people away. But, they have two needs; one to fill their spiritual heart and one to fill their bellies. Jesus will see to both. We need to feed people who we lead to the Lord. Take some time. Create a Bible study in your home or on the ‘net. Sit down, break bread, study the words of God.
Furthermore, it is incumbent upon a Christian man, a husband to feed his wife and children during the week with the word of God. If you are waiting for and dependent upon the Pastor to feed your family and yourself once a week or even three times a week you are a worthless Christian. We have Sunday Schools in America because Christian men failed and let God down in their duty to be the Pastor of THEIR family and teach them (that’s not the reason it was founded in Great Britain first but that’s not for this commentary). If you are a Christian husband and you don’t conduct daily Bible reading with your family and Bible Study and devotions and worship with daily prayer, you are a waste of oxygen. Period. Get right with God you scoundrel, you cad, who dares to waste the family that God Himself has given you for the purpose of teaching them about Him and expressing His love to them. You think God gave you that boy so you could just teach him how to throw a football or that girl so you could just show her how to wear makeup?
You say, but I didn’t do that and my family turned out wonderful. Be very thankful that God has blessed you in spite of your faithlessness.
I will have to give answer to Christ when I face Him at His judgment seat for not having daily devotions with my family and for not having daily Bible reading. Even if in my step-family it had been a voluntary thing I know the young ones would have liked it and perhaps some of the older ones would have eventually joined in. When I think of the things that the Bible could have kept from my home if I just honored it faithfully I am sickened.
Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
37 He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? 38 He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. 39 And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. 40 And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. 41 And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. 42 And they did all eat, and were filled. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes.
I think of the significance of twelve baskets showing that this passage is doctrinally significant to the Jews, the twelve tribes of Israel.
44 And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.
Five is the number of death and of grace, depending on the context. Spiritually dead men hear the gospel and live, just as those who are faint from hunger eat bread and are revived.
The early church fed its members with spiritual food and physical food. The early church took care of its poor. It was not the social club, the meeting house for mere good times and good fellowship it is today. The church body was the anchor of the little Christian community within the community of pagans surrounding them. Do the people that come to your church know you care about them, not just spiritually but physically as well? Do you know who is suffering? Who is sick? Who has to choose between putting food on the table and gas in the car? Who is losing their home? If you want your church to grow then preach the word unadulterated and pure, and care for each other. Feed them. They don’t need jugglers, belly-dancers, or gymnasts. They need to hear the word of God preached truthfully and genuinely. They need to be encouraged to read the Bible, to have the fruit of the Spirit flowing from their every deed throughout the week.
I know, I know everyone wants to know what this passage REALLY means. What secret number arrangement? What prophetic intent? Let me pose something else. What if it just means what it says? Jesus, the bread of heaven;
John 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.
Separated His followers from the world and fed His followers with physical bread in a miraculous manner to show us what we are supposed to do?
James 2:16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
Feed their bodies and feed their hearts. Meet the physical needs and the spiritual ones. There is great power for unity in breaking bread with someone. How many meals have you eaten with your church family?