by Ted Pavloff (Glory Ministries)
“And when it was evening the disciples came to Him saying, ‘The place is desolate and the time is already past … we have here only five loaves and two fish.’” — Matthew 14:15a, 17b
To the student and lover of the Word of God, it is amazing how often seemingly hidden messages leap off the page from some of the most familiar and quoted Scriptures in the Bible. This is not a reference to new doctrine though, but to refreshing revelations that embellish the beauty and meaning of Bible verses we have read and loved for years. This experience is in fact, a pouring out of revelation knowledge by almighty God to those whose hearts and spiritual ears are open to hear and absorb a blessing He is sending out with increased frequency in these last days.
An example of this kind of revelation came forth recently that excites the imagination and further solidifies our trust in His Word. The Scriptural incident is reported in Mathew 14, and is routinely referred to as “the story of the loaves and fishes” or “the feeding of the five thousand.” But what really happened, and the faith- building lesson that comes forth out of the dialogue that takes place, is far from routine.
Matthew 14:14-16: “And when He (Jesus) went ashore, He saw a great multitude, and felt compassion for them, and He healed all of the sick. When evening came, the disciples came to Him and said, ‘This is a remote and barren place, and the day is now over. Send the throngs away to the villages to buy food for themselves.’ Jesus said, ‘They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.’ They said to Him, ‘We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.’”
It is important that we get a clear-eyed perception of the circumstances surrounding this incident in the ministry of Jesus; particularly regarding the word multitude. Verse 21 sets the stage clearly: “And those who ate were about five thousand men, not including women and children.” So, the five thousand men apparently had their wives and children alongside during this three-day journey of following the miracle working Jesus. Accordingly most biblical historians estimate this multitude to have totaled at least 12,000, possible more.
Another observation here is that the disciples prior to this event had walked with Jesus long enough to have witnessed some awesome fruits of the Master’s ministry. They had seen Him heal lepers, open blind eyes, cast out demons, and heal masses of people, including all of the sick in the city of Capernaum. They even watched in awe as His verbal command stopped a vicious storm at sea in an instant. That is why throngs followed Him day and night. “Jehovah has sent someone to deliver us!”, they excitedly cried out.
Just within the hour, the disciples watched as Jesus moved compassionately through the crowd “…And healed all that were sick.” In spite of all the extensive first person witness to the power of almighty God through Jesus, the disciples suddenly developed a faith block. All they could see at that moment was the impossibility of serving this enormous crowd.
“Master, we are out in the middle of nowhere; send them away. There is nothing we can do – we’re in the wrong place.”
“Master, the sun is almost set – it’s far too late.”
“Master, we don’t have enough food. All there is in this vast crowd is five small loaves and two fishes that the little boy over there has – we’re lacking. We can’t afford it.”
How often modern day Christians find themselves in a similar dilemma. We quote Scriptures and testify to our confidence and trust in the Word almost with abandon. Then comes that moment when we are called upon not only to “talk the talk,” but to “walk the talk.” Imagine how thrilled the heart of Jesus would have been if the disciples had responded to His order with something like, “Master, we are ready! Just tell us what to do. All we can round up is five small loaves and two fish. Doesn’t seem like much, but we know it’s more than enough for you!” Wow!
It is the same for us today. It thrills the heart of Jesus when we take Him at His Word and trust Him to make good on His promises. True, we may not have witnessed His mighty miracles first hand as the disciples did, but “He is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
Further, the Scriptures tell us that we have an even firmer legacy. Remember “doubting” Thomas? After he had placed his hands in the nail prints and the pierced side, the Bible says, “He believed.” Now listen to how Jesus responded. “… because you have seen me, Thomas, do you now believe, trust, and have faith? Blessed and happy and to be envied are those who have never seen me, and yet have believed, and adhered to and trusted in and relied on Me!” (John 20:29 Amplified)
To those of us today who have never seen Jesus and His works in the flesh, and yet we believe and trust Him … we are blessed – we are to be envied; and heaven rejoices every time we demonstrate that trust.
Then Jesus said, “Bring the loaves and fishes to Me.” In essence, He told the disciples to brig to Him what they had – to do what they possible could in the natural. The Master was about to add the “super.” The result — SUPERNATURAL! All ate until they were full, with twelve baskets-fulls left over!
Today we have the complete canon of Old and New Testament Scriptures that are replete with the promises of God. We live and walk under a better Covenant, sealed by the Blood of Him who changes not, is no respecter of persons, and Who yearns to save, heal, provide, and deliver.
Let’s not tell Him, “It’s too late.” Let’s not say, “We’re in the wrong place.” Let’s not focus on what we lack, as the disciples did. Let’s just believe Him all the way. He stands ready to prove His faithfulness.