Feeding Both Body and Soul

KEY VERSE: “Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.” —Mark 6:34


WHEN the disciples returned from witnessing to the people concerning the kingdom, they gathered themselves to Jesus to recount what they had said and undoubtedly relate some of the many experiences they had had. But when the people saw Jesus, they came after him and followed him. When Jesus saw the multitudes, he had compassion upon them “because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.” (vs. 34) The people loved the words of Jesus because he spoke with authority and with clarity, giving them a message of hope as contrasted with the sterile message of the scribes and Pharisees.

The multitudes, in their desire to hear Jesus and to observe the miracles he performed, left their homes without adequate preparations for food, and when the hour was late his disciples wanted to send the people home. Jesus suggested, “Give ye them to eat.” But the only food available was five loaves of bread and two fishes. The crowd was seated on the green grass and Jesus looked to heaven and blessed the loaves and fishes and by a miracle enough food was provided to feed five thousand. When the meal was finished the disciples gathered twelve baskets of fragments!

This wonderful miracle was a testimony to our Lord’s sympathy and compassion. It also illustrated to the people the reality of the divine power that would, through Jesus, be operating on their behalf in the long-promised kingdom. This was also true of all the miracles Jesus performed, they were a fore-gleaming of his coming glory and of the coming blessings. This miracle illustrates to us the power that our Lord will then have for providing for the necessities of the whole world. We, of course, do not believe that the world will be miraculously fed, but this demonstration of power gives credence to the prophecies which state that in the kingdom “the earth shall yield her increase,” and “the desert shall blossom as a rose.”

However, our Lord said “that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4) This lesson was emphasized by Jesus in a subsequent experience recorded in John 6:26-63. The crowds continued to follow Jesus and he perceived that many were following him for the loaves and fishes. He admonished them, “Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” (vs. 27) Then the people said to him, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” and Jesus answered, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent”—vss. 28,29

Jesus then explained that he was the fulfillment of a type that in itself was a miracle. When the children of Israel were in the wilderness they complained to God that they did not have bread to eat. “Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law or no.” (Exod. 16:4) The bread that was rained upon the children of Israel was called ‘manna’ which means ‘What is it?’ Jesus said that this bread did sustain the lives of the children of Israel because they ate it and their bodies assimilated its nutrients but it did not give them everlasting life, for they all died.—John 6:49

Jesus continued, “I am that bread of life: your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (vss. 48-51) The bread or the means of life that Jesus provided was his own perfect life which he surrendered in death to provide a ransom price for Adam and his race. The world will partake of this bread in the kingdom. But the footstep followers of Jesus are privileged to partake of it now. Jesus said, “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (vs. 40) The word ‘seeth’ means ‘to discern or understand.’

Dawn Bible Students Association
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