How Many Loaves Do You Have?
John 6:1-13-“1 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Festival was near. 5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages[a] to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” 8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. 12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
In John 6:1-13 we can find an awesome story of Christ’s miracle serving 5000 men with a mere five loaves of barley and two small fish. This is possibly one of the most intriguing miracles for me. The fact that there were 5000 men (possibly more people than that) fed by Jesus at one time with such a small amount is incredible! This is just another astounding message of God’s provision of everlasting life through His Son “the bread of life” (John 6:48), but what else is He trying to show? Is there something else?
I would say yes. Look at verses 4-7 and notice the interaction between Jesus and Philip. He asked Philip the question and John shares that Jesus asked already knowing what was going to happen. Then, Andrew discovers a boy with the loaves and bread. This is the point I want to focus on. The boy was sitting there, possibly with his lunch, and Andrew took it from him. However, it is not the fact that Andrew took it, but Jesus multiplied it.
In a culture where young people were not seen as contributing members to society, much like today, Jesus once again flipped the picture. He used a boy, not a man, to affect the culture. These 5000 people were hungry, looking for something to eat, and a boy was used to change their lives. The boy was given value at this point, from my perspective. Jesus took this opportunity to show that anyone could be used to change the lives of people. Jesus received the glory at the end, deservedly so, but the boy was still used.
As the Church moves in the lives of people we have a role to play in helping them see that they have fish and loaves to offer in their community. Some people walk feeling like have nothing to offer anything or anyone. Some feel as if there is no hope and they have no value. In this story Christ is revealing in such a small part of it that even the most unlikely person can provide something to change the lives of thousands, if they allow Christ to multiply it.
The fish and loaves in this boy’s lunch represent our talents and our abilities. We may be able to see them, but more often than not we need someone to come and point them out, just as Andrew did for this boy. The boy may not have wanted to reveal his lunch because he may not have seen it as anything of worth. Andrew saw it, Christ definitely saw it, remember He already knew what He was going to do, and they had to call it out. Jesus wants your lunch to multiply it in order to change the lives of people around you.
We all have loaves and fish to offer. Are we willing to let Christ multiply them? There are many people hungry for change; and through Christ’s power your lunch may be what satisfies that hunger.