Give Us This Bread
Author: Kenneth O. Gangel
Week of April 23, 2017
Starvation poses a stark and unpleasant reality in our modern world. Ten percent of the world’s babies die before their first birthday, and one of every four children suffers from malnutrition. Yet the problem of spiritual hunger reaches even more severe dimensions. Like the 5,000 in John 6, millions today need the living bread that only Jesus can provide.
John’s beautiful record of this miracle offers so many interesting observations for us. First, notice the failure of human resources as Philip bemoaned, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” (v. 7) Then Andrew found a boy with five small barley loaves; barley—the grain used in the poorest offerings.
But like an ancient rod, the jawbone of a donkey, and a simple sling, this peasant lunch shows again that seemingly useless things can become important in Jesus’ hands. Jesus Christ is all-sufficient. Everyone was apparently satisfied and each disciple had his own personal basket of leftovers as a reminder of the Master’s power.
Jesus’ walking on the Sea of Galilee revealed His authority to the disciples and His purposive ministry to the crowds. The requirements for help in their distress were simple enough—recognize their own need and take Jesus into the boat. That hasn’t changed much today.
Public discussion of the miraculous feeding displayed a basic materialism which Jesus promptly condemned. The crowds loved Jesus for what they could get out of Him, preferably another free lunch. When He spoke again of the Father, they seemed ready to respond, only to reject Him more vehemently in the latter part of the chapter.
Mark this: How important for us to pray sincerely, “Lord, give us this bread.” Jesus’ spiritual bread is necessary for living the Christian life. He lovingly prepares it to meet each individual need, and we must eat it daily. Only by feeding on His Word can we experience spiritual life and growth.