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