The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 13 : The Gospel According to MATTHEW

[Chapter 14-2] (Matthew 14:13-33) Why Did Jesus Perform The Miracle of Five Loaves Of Bread and Two Fish?

(Matthew 14:13-33)
“When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.’ But Jesus said to them, ‘They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.’ And they said to Him, ‘We have here only five loaves and two fish.’ He said, ‘Bring them here to Me.’ 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. Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children. Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.’ And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ So He said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Truly You are the Son of God.’”
 
 
When Jesus was on this earth, He often prayed. This was because our Lord also had flesh. Although Jesus Christ is fundamentally God Himself, He was incarnated in flesh to save all the sinners of the world from all their sins. In other words, He had to come in the flesh of man to fulfill the will of God the Father. Having thus come to this earth, He had to be baptized, be crucified, shed His blood, die on the Cross, and rise from the dead. While Jesus Christ was on this earth, He had to be baptized by John the Baptist to follow the will of God and fulfill the righteousness of the Father.
He could fulfill the righteousness of God by obeying the Father’s will, which was for Him to receive the baptism from John the Baptist. Had Jesus not been baptized by John the Baptist, then neither would He have shouldered the sins of the world, nor would He have shed His blood crucified to the Cross. To deliver sinners from their iniquities, it was absolutely indispensable for Jesus to be baptized by John the Baptist and thereby take upon the sins of the people of the world once for all. Born into this world in flesh, for Jesus Christ to do all these—to be baptized, die on the Cross, and rise from the dead, all to follow the will of God the Father—He faced many agonizing difficulties in His mind, and this was why Jesus had all the more reason to pray to God the Father for His help. 
Because Jesus our God is righteous, He had to be born unto this earth incarnated in the flesh of man. To take upon the sins of mankind, Jesus had to be baptized by John the Baptist. And He had to give up His body on the Cross to pay off the wages of all our sins with His blood, for all the condemnation of sin would end only when they were paid off properly. Here we have to realize clearly that Jesus had to suffer tremendously to fulfill all righteousness, and that His agony was beyond imagination. When we look at the humanity of Jesus, we can see that it was very fragile. Why did Jesus go to a deserted place when He heard that John the Baptist was beheaded to death? He did so because He wanted to ask God the Father to pass the cup of His death from Him, and to escape from the suffering of the Cross only if He could, for He, too, had the flesh of man.
The context of today’s Scripture passage is as follows. Hearing that our Lord was in a deserted place, a great multitude gathered around Him. Jesus saw them and had compassion for them. At that time, Jesus’ disciples came to Him and said, “Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.” But Jesus said to His disciples, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” But all that the disciples had at the time was just five loaves of bread and two fish, an amount that was sufficient for only a single man’s lunch.
Jesus then told the disciples to bring the two fish and the five loaves of bread, and He then blessed them. Though all that the disciples had brought to Jesus was only five loaves of bread and two fish, when Jesus blessed them, they multiplied so much that they were more than enough to feed over 5,000 men. Before Jesus blessed it, this lunch had been enough for just one man. But because our Lord blessed this small amount of food, countless people were fed and still had leftovers. So the Bible records that there were over 5,000 men, besides women and children, who ate this food. 
This miracle shows us that Jesus is the Son of God and that He is God Himself for us.
Had Jesus not been the Son of God and the true God, He could never have performed such an amazing miracle. We can find in Genesis 1 and John 1 that Jesus Himself created the universe in the beginning with His Word. Everything in this universe was created exactly according to how Jesus spoke His Word.
Jesus was able to feed over 5,000 people in a deserted field with only a lunchbox because He was God Himself. This would never have been possible unless He was indeed the Son of God. How could His disciples who saw this miracle not follow Him then? If you had been there, you would all have followed Him as well. When Jesus blessed the five loaves and two fish, broke them and gave them to the disciples, they were more than enough for everyone to eat and be filled. This event manifested the divine attribute of Jesus. It revealed that Jesus is the Son of God and God Himself for us. 
In 1980’s, there was a man called Uri-Geller. He claimed to possess supernatural power, able to turn the hands of a clock in the opposite direction with His mind alone without touching them. A long time ago, he once came to Korea and performed miracles and signs that were televised. He even enabled the viewers watching TV to bend a spoon through supernatural power. But even this Uri-Geller cannot feed over 5,000 men with a single lunchbox. (In fact, James Randi, who is best known as the world’s most tireless investigator and demystifier of paranormal and pseudoscientific claims, later claimed to have exposed the dirty tricks of Uri-Geller.) 
In today’s Christianity, there are many weird people who claim to have the power to perform miracles. (Incidentally, the same James Randi mentioned above once came to Korea and promised that he would give one million dollars to anyone who could perform a scientifically provable miracle. Predictably, the many supposed miracle performers in the Korean Christian community fell completely silent during his stay in Korea.) However, no matter what power they may claim to have, they cannot feed over 5,000 men with a single lunchbox. This is the power that only Jesus Christ the Son of God can exercise. Only the God who created the heavens and the earth can feed us with the bread of life, both in body and spirit.
We can realize that Jesus the true God came incarnated in the flesh of man. The name Jesus means the Savior who came to deliver all sinners from their sins. To save us from all our sins, Jesus had to come to this earth incarnated in the same flesh that you and I have, and He had to be baptized and shed His blood to death. 
 
 
The Lord Has Enabled Us to Spread the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit, the Bread of Salvation, All over the Whole World
 
Our Lord performed the miracle of five loaves of bread and two fish so that His disciples would know and believe in His ministries. This miracle manifested that God would bestow His grace of salvation throughout the whole earth. In the Bible, the number five signifies God’s grace, that is, the gift of God, and fish symbolizes God’s Church. During the Early Church era, Christians had used the symbol of fish as a sign of identity. When they came across each other, they drew a fish on the ground to show their faith. Those who drew this fish were saying to one another, “I believe that the Lord is the Son of the living God and my Savior.” Therefore, that Jesus performed the miracle of five loaves of bread and two fish tells us that through His Church, God will give more than sufficient spiritual food to fill the whole world.
The ministry of God’s Church was manifested through the miracle of five loaves of bread and two fish. Put differently, God has blessed the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the bread of life, and His Church so that His Church could share this bread of life with all the sinners of the entire world. Through this blessed ministry, God has enabled His Church to save all the sinners from their sins. Through His Church, God is now feeding countless people throughout the whole world with the bread of life. And the souls that have eaten the bread of life, that is, the gospel of the water and the Spirit, are being saved from all their sins.
 
 
Jesus Walked on Water
 
Here another event unfolds, Jesus’ disciples were in the middle of the sea, far away from land, to cross to the other side of the shore in a boat. As the wind blew harder and the waves got higher, the disciples began to be gripped by fear. The high waves crashed into the boat, dumping water into it, and the wind was blowing so fiercely that no matter how hard they paddled, they could not move toward the direction that they wanted to go. Jesus’ disciples were deeply distressed, overwhelmed by fear and worry. So as they were scrambling to keep the boat afloat, on the fourth watch of the night Jesus appeared before them. 
In general, Jews divided the whole night (from 6:00 P.M. to 6:00 A.M.) into four parts. Therefore, the fourth watch of the night refers to 3:00-6:00 A.M., and so it’s very likely that it was still dark. When the disciples of Jesus were struggling in this darkness, on this water with high waves, they saw that Jesus was walking toward them. The Jewish people at that time wore robes. So with high winds, Jesus’ robe must have flapped all over. When they saw that someone was walking toward them amid the tossing waves and the foaming sea, just think about how scared they would have been. So the disciples panicked, thinking that a ghost had appeared.
But the Lord came nearer to them and said, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Peter then asked Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” When Jesus said, “Come,” Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water. No one in this world but only Jesus and Peter must have walked on the water. As Peter was walking toward Jesus, he heard the raging wind and suddenly he was afraid and lost his faith, and he sank into the water; but immediately Jesus pulled him up and they came into the boat together. And He rebuked Peter, saying, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” So when Jesus and Peter got into the boat, the wind ceased, and those in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”
Truly, Jesus is the God who can walk on the water, who is not bound by the natural laws of this physical world. He is indeed the true God. He is indeed the true Son of God. 
Jesus wanted to give His disciples true and clear faith. To demonstrate to them that He is the Savior and God Himself in His essence, Jesus showed them such miracles and wonders. What we should learn from today’s Scripture passage is that for us to taste the miracle of five loaves and two fish and to follow the Lord, we must pray incessantly, for it is surely accompanied by difficulties. Whenever we face hardships, we must pray. We must pray to our Lord, our God, for His help. 
Moreover, when it comes to prayer, we must first have faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We must place our absolute faith in the Truth that the Lord is the true God and that He is the Son of God who has saved us. Simply put, Jesus is God Himself, but to save us from our sins, He came to this earth as our Savior, and through the gospel of the water, the blood, and the Spirit, He has indeed saved us from all our sins. 
Jesus is fundamentally God Himself, exists in Heaven as God Himself, and He is the God who has come into us as the Holy Spirit, dwells with us, and helps us. Our Lord is the Shepherd of the believers. As God Himself, He is taking care of us as our Shepherd, has also become our friend, and reigns us as our King as well.
It is very important to place our faith in the truth that Jesus is the true God. His ministries testify that He actually is God Himself. So when we believe that He is the true God and our Savior, we can trust in Him and rely on Him. As we follow the Lord after meeting Him in the true gospel, there are times when we face hardships, for there are various dangers and difficulties. In times like these, we must pray to Jesus Christ our God placing our trust in Him. 
We must have faith in the Lord. To give His disciples strong faith in Him, Jesus had allowed them such a dangerous situation. But He did not leave them in the lurch to the end. He walked toward them on water, told Peter to walk toward Him, and when Peter sank for the lack of faith He delivered him and got into the boat with him. It was to teach us true faith and to plant this faith deep in our hearts, that Jesus performed such miracles and signs.
This miracle also tells us that we must have strong faith in Jesus when we carry out our duty to preach the gospel throughout the whole world. We, too, will not be trouble-free, but we will indeed face hardship in every step along the way in our service to the gospel. In such times, we should not turn into faithless people, only to be disappointed, fall into the world, and die on our own. Rather, we must pray to God for His help by believing that Jesus Christ indeed is God Himself. By doing so, we can get our problems solved and really please the Lord with our faith. Such faith is essential to each of us who are willing to serve the gospel until the day when our Lord comes.
By doing so, He demonstrated to them clearly who He really was. As Peter experienced such a wonderful incident, he later could confess, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). We, too, should confess our faith in Him, “Truly You are God. And You are the Savior who came as the Son of God to deliver the sinners of this world from all their sins and iniquities. You are the God of salvation. Though you came in the flesh of man to save us, fundamentally, You are God Himself.” 
 
 
We, Too, Must Believe in Jesus Christ With a Proper Understanding
 
As you and I believe in the Lord and follow Him, we, too, are tempted by Satan, and are troubled by all kinds of difficulties. But in times like these when we are struggling so much, we must trust in God for all things and pray to Him by placing our faith in Him. God will then solve all our problems and we can continue to serve the gospel steadfastly with faith like trees planted by the water. 
As we pray to God, we must also place our faith in Him. Whenever we pray, we must say our prayers standing firm on the faith that Jesus Christ is the living God and our Savior. It is only when we have this faith that we can succeed in all our endeavors. Unless we have this faith, we cannot follow the Lord until the end. 
Because we are so weak and insufficient, we often fall into despair. But no matter what circumstances we might be facing, we must know the divinity of Jesus and His ministries, and believe in Him. We must believe that He is the Savior, who was baptized and crucified on this earth, and who has thereby washed away all our sins and saved us. We must believe that He is the Son of God and we must stand before God by this faith. It is because of our faith that you and I are blessed by God. And as we continue to live our lives following the will of the Father, whenever we face hardship, we must be helped and get our problems solved through our faith. Such faith is the living faith that we should keep forever. 
It is written, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Satan actually has his eyes wide open, desperately looking for the people of God whom he can devour. When he finds someone weak, he preys upon him like a roaring lion. In times like this, when you do not really have faith in the Lord, you will end up as his victim. 
Satan tries incessantly to destroy the faith of the born-again, saying, “How can you believe in God when you are so insufficient?” Therefore, you must stand firmly on your faith. You must make your stand on your faith, saying, “Stay away from me, Satan! I may be so, but the Lord has saved me!” 
Having received the remission of our sins, as we follow the Lord, there are many times when we face such worrisome, fearful, and difficult problems. Whenever we face them, we must pray to God all the more, believing that Jesus Christ is God Himself, and by having this faith, we must seek His help. If we have faith, we will surely experience the helping hands of God. 
You and I must realize and believe that it was to teach us faith that the Lord performed the miracle of five loaves and two fish. You and I must learn faith through the Word of God, the Truth. We cannot afford to be without faith, either to be saved or to serve the gospel. We must believe in the Word of God. We must also have faith that everything will be fulfilled according to God’s Word. The Bible, the written Word of God, is the Truth. 
Lately, my head has felt heavy and I wondered why. Suddenly it dawned on me that it was because I had been working with someone who was not born again, and that this was why I had been deceived by a worthless weasel. My trouble with him was the cause of my headache. So when I analyzed all the factors of such troubles, I reached the conclusion that the root of the problem was because I had partnered and worked with someone who was not born again. The Bible says, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness” (2 Corinthians 6:14)? This is the truth; it was because I had ignored it that I faced these problems. When we work with someone who is truly born again God helps us, and so if we pray to God to help us, everything works out fine with His help even if we know nothing. But trying to work with someone who has not received the remission of sin is so agonizing. Indeed, we the righteous should not work with anyone who is not born again. 
We can find another lesson from the Old Testament. When Israel was divided into two kingdoms, by north and south, one of the kings of the southern kingdom allied with the king of the northern kingdom and waged war against and invaded another nation. The faith of the northern kingdom had been corrupted from the beginning, for its first king Jeroboam had made two calves of gold as its people’s gods and altered the sacrificial system on his own authority. Therefore, the alliance between the two kingdoms was formed out of lawlessness. This is why many of their people were killed and faced so much suffering.
We should not take God’s Word lightly. Rather, we have to fear His Word. Through my recent experience, I have realized again even more deeply that the Word of God is true, and I had a repenting heart for my wrongdoing. And I prayed to God not to face such a temptation again. I hope you also would have the same faith in God and His Word.
Who is Jesus? He is the Son of God and our Savior. He is the Lord of life who created the universe and us, and has blotted out all our sins with the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit. As you follow the Lord, you must also really place your faith in this true God Jesus. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” We must have such a mind and such faith in our hearts.
There must be this faith in our hearts clearly, and we must go and stand before God with this faith. Jesus is our Shepherd, and the Father of Jesus Christ is our Father. Therefore, when we ask God the Father and Jesus Christ for help, God listens to our prayers according to His will, and He surely helps us. Because we are the people of God and His children, and because He is our Father and our Shepherd, He helps us. We must have this faith firmly. In fact, it is because you and I have this faith that we can live spiritually. And every born-again must live by this faith. 
We can summarize today’s Scripture passage into two sentences: “Jesus went to pray,” and “Jesus performed miracles and signs.” In other words, it shows us the truth that Jesus has humanity and divinity in His essence. As we see that Jesus was both human and divine, we should have strong faith in the truth that even though He is God Himself, He is also the Lamb of God who came in the flesh of man as our Savior. And we have to trust Him as the Omnipotent God and live by such faith.