The more of God
Matthew 14:13-36 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. 14 When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.
15 When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate and the hour is already late; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” 17 They said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” 18 And He said, “Bring them here to Me.” 19 Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, 20 and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. 21 There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children.
22 Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. 23 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. 24 But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
28 Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”
34 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent word into all that surrounding district and brought to Him all who were sick; 36 and they implored Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were cured.
If only we truly understood, believed and trusted God’s economy in and for our lives. Truly God’s ways are higher than ours. His infinite abilities exceed our finite understanding. In today’s text we read the account of the feeding of 5000, with five loaves and two fish. That of course is a miracle beyond our comprehension. Then when you consider the fact that the text says that it was 5000 men who ate, besides the women and children. We can surmise from this, that the total number of people who ate and were satisfied by that limited amount of food, was probably 15,000 or more. Yet the true miracle of God’s provision, the thing we need to learn and understand about God is that: … they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. After everyone had enough, there was more left over than what they started with. If we truly understood and believed God’s provision how and why would we ever withhold anything from Him? We cannot out give God. When we share what He has provided, we end up with more. In Luke 21:1-4, Jesus teaches about giving to God: And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all;for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” It is not the amount we give to God that matters. It is the heart with which we give it that God notices and rewards.
In 1 Kings 17, we see another account of God’s provision to one who was obedient to share what He had provided. 1 Kings 17:10-16: a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, “Please get me a little water in a jar, that I may drink.” As she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand.” But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have no bread, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar; and behold, I am gathering a few sticks that I may go in and prepare for me and my son, that we may eat it and die.” Then Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain on the face of the earth.’” So she went and did according to the word of Elijah, and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke through Elijah. It is not only our financial giving which God sees and rewards, but also how we share everything we have, all of our resources and our abilities. The widow’s obedient response to Elijah required that she first give to God everything she had, only then did the little she gave become more than enough.
Returning to today’s text, we see after Jesus miraculously provided for the multitude of people, He returned to the source of all provision. The text says: After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. It was during times of prayer, times of communion with the Father, that Jesus received His supply. When He had emptied Himself, the Father filled Him again to overflowing. So much power Jesus obtained through prayer and communion with the Father that we read at the end of today’s text: When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent word into all that surrounding district and brought to Him all who were sick; and they implored Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were cured. Jesus was so filled with the power of the presence of God and the kingdom of heaven that He and it affected all those who touched Him.
In John 14:12-14 Jesus says: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” If we truly would want to do the works that Jesus did, it will require more than simply declaring things in His name. Jesus says we will do these works because He goes to the Father. If we then want the overflowing power of God upon our lives, we too, Like Jesus, must empty ourselves. We must not leave our prayer room until the power of the kingdom of heaven is overflowing. Martin Luther, the reformer, is quoted as saying: “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” Additionally, if we want to walk in all the power of the kingdom of heaven, we must like the widow, obediently respond, giving all that we have. We must take our little oil and flour, we must take our few fish and loaves and as Jesus did in today’s text: took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessedthe food. We too, must give all that we have, offering it to God, asking Him to bless, multiply and supply.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit as I come and enter into Your presence and empty myself of all that I am, increase my faith and fill me to overflowing that I may know and understand the economy of heaven, that I may overflow with the goodness, abundance, blessings and provision of the kingdom of heaven. Fill me and empower me with Your presence, that I may indeed do the things that Jesus did. Amen.