Eternity Daily Bible Study
(A ministry of Eternity Christian Fellowship)

Walking In The Spirit - 78

 

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Topic: Loaves & Fishes: Consecration & Multiplication

Date: 12/12/2009

 

Luke 9:11-17 MKJV  But knowing this, the crowds followed Him. And He received them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God, and He healed those who had need of healing.  (12)  But the day began to wear away, and coming up the Twelve said to Him, Send the crowd away so that they may go into the villages and farms all around, and lodge, and get food. For we are here in a deserted place.  (13)  But He said to them, You give them something to eat. And they said, We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people.  (14)  (For they were about five thousand men.) And He said to His disciples, Make them recline by fifties in a company.  (15)  And they did so, and made them all recline.  (16)  And He took the five loaves and the two fish. And looking up to Heaven, He blessed them and broke, and He gave to the disciples to set before the crowd.  (17)  And they ate and were all filled. And there was taken up twelve hand baskets full of fragments of that left over to them.

 

This story is repeated in all four gospels: Mark 6:35-44, Matthew 14:15-21, Luke 9:11-17 and John 6:5-15 ,  John's version adds the details of the small boy and the dialogue with Philip. It was a turning point in Jesus' popularity, after it some even wanted to make Him King by force (John 6:15).

 

There is an enormous need for Christ in the world, and the hour is late and evening is falling and the multitudes are hungry for the bread of life and Christ says to us ' go and feed them'.  We cannot demur because we are only one, or few, or under-funded. For a small mustard-seed ministry, when blessed and consecrated, can 'feed the multitude' with the Word of God.

 

Jesus  was not put off by the disciples questioning or by the lack of material resources.  He had a lesson to teach them and a miracle to perform. His statement to the disciples 'you give them something toe at' was a deliberate test because Jesus knew all along what He would do (John 6:6). Jesus wanted them to appreciate the weight of the task, and to sense that it was impossible, before He made it possible.

 

The key to mustard-seed faith is believing that the impossible can be made possible. It is knowing that 'nothing is impossible with God' (Luke 1:37, Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27) and all things are possible to Him who believes (Matthew 17:20, Mark 9:23).

 

The resurrection is the greatest New Testament example of the impossible being made possible. In the Old Testament the conception of Isaac was an illustration of Abrahamic faith bringing the 'impossible' into reality. Other examples in the Bible include the parting of the Red Sea, the collapse of the walls of Jericho, the defeat of Goliath, the stilling of the storm on Lake Galilee and the raising of Lazarus from the dead.

 

Jesus constantly worked to increase the faith of His disciples and His sharpest rebuke was 'o ye of little faith' (Matthew 6:30, 8:26, 14:31,16:8).  Jesus' main method of teaching faith was via experience. Jesus would ask the disciples to do the impossible or put them into situations that were frightening, dangerous or increasingly difficult – such as encountering demon-possessed people who were so wild they could break chains. As they saw God's miraculous power demonstrated they grew in faith and eventually learned to walk in faith themselves.

 

In the miracle of the loaves and the fishes Jesus is asking the disciples to stick their necks out socially.  The disciples get everyone into fifties, expecting to be fed, before there is any sign of food appearing.  It would have been like having a family of six sit down for dinner, with plates and cutlery all out on the table, when all the food you have is one small potato chip. It would have felt incredibly risky, ridiculous and potentially embarrassing. It would have produced a situation of 'trust in the midst of tension'.

 

Trust in the midst of tension is an operational definition of how God grows us 'from faith to faith'. Mustard-seed ministries operate under constant tension over issues such as finances, security, spiritual attacks, workload,  the need for volunteers etc.  We have to trust God as we face problems that we are simply to small too solve on our own. The blessing of Jesus is the solution to our overwhelming sense of embarrassment and inadequacy when we are faced with the needs and demands of God's work.

 

It was as Jesus blessed and broke the bread that the miracle occurred. The blessing of Jesus on the loaves and fishes mirrors God's original blessing on Creation:

 

Genesis 1:22 ESV  And God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth."

 

Notice the commands – “be fruitful and multiply and fill...”  Blessing produces fruitfulness, multiplication and the potential to fill the designated area of operation (in the this case the earth). With the loaves and fishes the area of operation was a crowd of 5000 people And they ate and were all filled. A blessed ministry – such as a church will 'fill' the people with the bread of life in the area of operation that God has assigned to it.  We are not to be content with occupying a small patch of  land when God has called us to fill a city or a region with the gospel!

 

Acts 5:28 MKJV  (The High Priest) saying, Did we not strictly command you that you not teach in this name? And behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine and intend to bring this man's blood on us.

 

The out-poured revival blessing of Pentecost resulted in the fist assigned territory (Jerusalem) being filled with the gospel and thousands coming to faith.  Twelve consecrated men of God were enough to do the job.

 

So what does the story of the loaves and fishes teach us are the steps and stages to such blessing, to such multiplication and to the filling of our assigned territory?

 

  1. 1.Recognize the vast need 

  2. 2.Recognize your own inadequacy to meet the need 

  3. 3.Seek the solution from Jesus Christ  

  4. 4.Do what He tells you even if it seems crazy, believe for the impossible to occur 

  5. 5.Be part of the solution – consecrate yourself to distributing the loaves and fishes 

  6. 6.Receive the blessing 

  7. 7.Move outward to the people, confident in the blessing 

  8. 8.See the miracle 

  9. 9.Make sure everyone is filled 

  10. 10.Measure the miracle (5000 men) and pick up the pieces (the 12 baskets) 

 

Small ministries can have big impacts if they see the supernatural blessing of God on their 'loaves and fishes' - with all their heart.

 

Blessings,

 

John Edmiston (johned@aibi.ph)
Pastor – Eternity Christian Fellowship
Chairman/ CEO Cybermissions
http://www.eternitychristian.com
http://www.cybermissions.org

http://www.aibi.ph

 

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