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Sermon – 1/4/04
Matthew 14:19-20 - The Bread of God

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The Bread of God

Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained” (Matthew 14:19-20)

Do you have enough in life?  Do you have what you need?  Are you satisfied?  In our Chapter in Matthew for today, we find that Jesus Christ was “moved with compassion” for a “great multitude”, and in response to their needs, He “healed their sick” (Matthew 14:14), by just a word, a prayer, a touch.  He sees your need also, and He is moved with compassion for you.

The day was now over and the disciples of Jesus were becoming worried.  It was time to eat and they begged Jesus to send the people away, so “they may go into the villages and buy themselves food” (Matthew 14:15).  Probably the disciples were afraid that the people would become angry as they grew hungry, and it’s likely the disciples were hungry themselves.  They wanted Jesus to get rid of the multitude.  But Jesus responded, “They do not need to go away; YOU give them something to eat” (Matthew 14:16).

Now they were even more upset, for they had little, even for themselves, let alone for all those others.  “We have only five loaves and two fish,” the disciples complained to Jesus (Matthew 14:17).  They saw the need, but also saw their own lack.  The disciples were afraid and they were embarrassed by Jesus’ words.  How often would WE have given to others, if only we had more than enough for ourselves?  God is actually calling us to be willing to give EVERYTHING if He so requires, and the fact that we have little, is not a sufficient defense.  God can take the little you have and make it – enough.

The Old Testament is largely centered in Israel, the nation created out of one man, Abraham, in order that they and the world might see that God is, in fact – God!  They were to trust in Him, but unfortunately, Israel was like the rest of us.  They were given much, but they had little faith.  When Jesus cried out, “I am the bread which came down from heaven” (John 6:41), He was telling the people that He is like the “manna” given their forefathers at a time when they were hungry and had little food.

Just like the hearers of Jesus, we all know what bread is, but we do not know how a man can BE bread.  We do not understand until we are willing to “see” from the heart.  You are a hungry person with a gnawing ache inside, and you NEED the Lord!

In Exodus Chapter 16, we are shown the people of Israel, who had just been rescued from slavery in Egypt, and were now afraid they would starve to death in the wilderness (verse 3).  The rest of Exodus Chapter 16 describes God’s answer to both their need and their unbelief.  A form of “bread” never before or since experienced by mankind appeared each morning like the dew, and it was simply there on the ground outside their tents.  The substance had a pleasant taste and could be prepared in a variety of ways.  It contained every vitamin, mineral and other substance imaginable, and it likely had physical properties that we are unaware of to this day.  One miraculous food satisfied all of the needs of a new nation consisting of millions of people.

It was an ongoing miracle that sustained a nation for forty years.

The people of Israel called it “manna,” a Hebrew expression (man hu) that approximately translates as “What is it?”  They had no idea what it was, and neither do we.  But God knows.  It was there for them, as long as they remained in the wilderness, and it met all their needs for food.  Jesus compared Himself to that miraculous bread sent by God.

He said: “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.  I am the living bread which came down from heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world” (John 6:49-51).  He is miraculous “bread” for a hungry world.  You can “eat” of this “bread” and THRIVE on the diet He has prescribed.  He has given HIMSELF for you.

Jesus fed 5,000 people in Matthew 14:13-21, and it is a reminder of what we call “Communion.”  Jesus blessed the bread and broke it, and continued to give it out, until all 5,000 were satisfied.  In the imagery of the “Last Supper,” Jesus “took the bread, blessed it and broke it, and gave it to the disciples,” saying, “Take, eat; this is My body” (Matthew 26:26).  He died in our place, broken, given out for you and me.

Jesus asked the blessing in Matthew 14, broke bread, and fed “FIVE THOUSAND men, besides women and children” (Matthew 14:21).  Just in case we miss the point, in the very next Chapter, we find that Jesus fed “FOUR THOUSAND men, besides women and children” in another setting (Matthew 15:32-39).  He may have performed similar miracles several times, of which two or three instances are recorded.  God repeats His lessons, His parables, until we finally understand.

At the Last Supper, Jesus took the bread, blessed it and broke it.  He passed it on to the disciple next to Him, who broke off a piece and passed it to the next man, and to the next and next, until all had received.  The “manna” in Exodus, the bread for the 5,000, the 4,000, and at the Last Supper, all show us a “picture” (a parable) of Jesus – He will satisfy you, in this life, and for all eternity.  You have been given this “bread,” for yourself and for those who are next to you.  But HOW does it work? – For YOU?

That the Lord is like food to a hungry person, is not unique to the New Testament.  King David recognized the similarity between good food and our Lord, when he said, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good,” continuing, “Blessed is the man who TRUSTS in Him!” (Psalm 34:8).  THAT’S what is meant: We have a fundamental need to have FAITH in Jesus Christ, just as a starving man needs food!  All of us are hungry for Him, and there is enough for all.  “Taste and see that the Lord is good” is TRUSTING in Him!

Lord, we are hungry.  Please fill us with Your love, forgiveness, and joy.  Place Your Spirit inside us, and let us know what it means to TRUST in You.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.


Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

www.FridayStudy.org
www.FirstChurchontheNet.org
www.BlessedHands.org
E-mail:
Ron@FridayStudy.org
Tel: (562) 688-5559
PO Box 92131
Long Beach, CA 90809-2131
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)

 

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