Sermon #25 Series: Mark
Title: “THEY HAVE NOTHING TO EAT”
Text: Mark 6:30-47
Readings: Office: Buddy Daugherty Auditorium: Paul Wendrel
Subject: The Feeding of the Five Thousand
Date: Sunday Evening - July 13, 1997
Tape # T-88
In verse 36 we are told of this great multitude that “They have nothing to eat.” That is a good description of us. Hungry sinners come to Christ with nothing to eat. We have nothing. We can provide nothing for ourselves. We have tried to feed our souls on the swine husks of materialism, ritualism, ceremonialism, and even licentiousness, but found nothing to satisfy our souls! So we come to Christ, hungry and thirsty, having nothing to eat.
Yet, before the day was over, we read that five thousand men (not including women and children), “did all eat, and were filled.” Not only did the Son of God feed upwards of twenty thousand people with five loaves and two fish, when everyone had eaten all he wanted, the disciples took up twelve baskets full of fragments! It is my prayer that our Lord will be pleased to repeat the miracle of the loaves and fishes in our midst tonight. I pray that everyone here will be fed by him and fed upon him, who is the Bread of Life, fed to the satisfaction of our souls.
Tonight, I want us to learn the meaning of this great miracle and the lessons contained in this passage for us. As God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ is our lesson, may God the Holy Spirit be our Teacher.
Proposition: Christ alone is able to feed and satisfy immortal souls.
Divisions: As we meditate together upon these verses of Scripture, I will direct your attention to seven things in them.
1. Christ’s Servants (v. 30)
2. Christ’s Instruction (vv. 31-32)
3. Christ’s Compassion (vv. 33-34)
4. Christ’s Patience (vv. 35-36)
5. Christ’s Power (vv. 37-44)
6. Christ’s Provision (vv. 42-43)
7. Christ’s Conduct (vv. 45-46)
I. First, I want to show you something about the conduct of CHRIST’S SERVANTS, when they returned from their first preaching mission (v.30).
These are very instructive words. Every servant of God should do exactly what these Apostles did.
· When preparing to preach, they must seek a message from the Master.
· While preaching, they must seek the Lord’s power, wisdom, grace, and strength.
· When the message is done, they must report back to the Master, tell him all they have done and taught in his name, and seek his Spirit to make their labors effectual.
In the work of the ministry, nothing is so important as prayer. Prayer moves him who moves heaven and earth. Prayer displays faith in and dependence upon Christ. Let every gospel preacher be diligent in study, devoted in labor, and ardent in preaching. But the secret of power in the pulpit is prayer. Blessed is that church which has a praying pastor, one who knows he cannot preach without the power of God’s Spirit, one who cries with Ezekiel…
He is a faithful pastor, he is a faithful servant of God who gives himself to “prayer and the ministry of the Word” (Acts 6:4).
II. Secondly, I want to show you CHRIST’S INSTRUCTION to these faithful disciples who had been ministering to the souls of men (vv. 31-32).
I realize that there are very few who need instruction about the necessity of rest and relaxation. There are very few who are so zealously devoted to the work of the gospel that they do not even have time to sit down for a meal. Yet, for those few who are so devoted, our Lord’s words here are very needful. Someone said, “We must come apart and rest a while, or we will come apart.”
J.C. Ryle wrote, “The prosperity of a man’s ministry and public work is intimately bound up with the prosperity of his own soul.”
Our Lord knows that we carry the treasure of his gospel in earthen vessels. He knows that we are only weak, frail mortals, compassed with many infirmities. He does not require more than we can do. It is better to do little and do it well than to do much and do it haphazardly.
A. The work of the ministry is, to a faithful man, a matter of tremendous labor.
B. It is a labor of the heart and mind, involving the entire life of a man.
C. While constantly ministering to the souls of others faithful men are in great danger of neglecting their own souls.
If it is not abused, occasional times of rest and relaxation are very useful and beneficial. Such times should be times of…
We must never become so encumbered with doing things for Christ and serving him that we fail to take the time to sit quietly at his feet and hear his Word.
III. Thirdly, in verses 33-34, we are given a glimpse of CHRIST’S COMPASSION.
Our dear Savior was moved with compassion as he beheld the multitudes before him. That which moved him was the act that these thousands standing before him stood before him “as sheep not having a shepherd.” They had plenty of priests, but no priests from God. They had preachers, but no preacher after God’s own heart to feed them with knowledge and understanding. They had prophets in abundance; but they were all prophets of deceit. They had religious form and ceremony, traditions and customs, devotion and zeal; but “they had nothing to eat.” Their form of godliness was empty and meaningless. They knew nothing of the power of godliness. They knew nothing of the gospel. Their religion was all husk. Thousands of immortal souls stood before our Lord, ignorant, helpless, and needy, on the high road to hell, the high road of religious darkness, blindness, ignorance, self-righteousness, and superstition! Angry as he was when denouncing the Scribes and Pharisees, those who should have taught the people the way of life, when our Lord beheld the perishing multitudes, he was ever “moved with compassion toward them.”
“Let us never forget that our Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He never changes. High in heaven, at God’s right hand, He still looks with compassion on the children of men. He still pities the ignorant, and them that are gone out of the way.” ---J.C. Ryle
Being “moved with compassion toward them,” our Savior not only healed the sick and fed them, but also “began to teach them things.” I have no doubt at all what he taught them. He taught these people the same, blessed gospel he taught everywhere else.
· Their Need of Grace.
· The Necessity and Nature of the New Birth.
· The Purpose of His Coming.
· The Wonders of Redemption.
· The Blessedness of Repentance and Faith.
Here is a place for personal examination. We must not attempt to examine and judge one another; but we must examine and judge ourselves, lest we be judged with the world.
· Am I like my Savior, tenderly concerned for and moved with compassion toward perishing sinners?
· Do I really care for eternity bound men and women?
· Am I willing and ready to meet and minister to the needs of those around me?
These are serious questions. Do not answer them in haste. We ought to look upon ourselves as Paul did, as debtors to all men. We ought to use every means to preach the gospel to eternity bound men and women. We ought to give willingly for the spread of the gospel throughout the world. If the definition of a Christian is “one who is Christ like,” it must be concluded that anyone who is not moved with compassion toward the souls of men is not a Christian.
IV. Verses 35-36 give us another display of CHRIST’S PATIENCE.
These disciples were so much like us! Rather than trusting the Lord to do that which was wisest and best, they presumed that they knew what was wisest and best. Judging by what they could see, that it was way past dinner time, that the people had nothing to eat, that they were a long way from town, and that the crowd was hungry, they said to he Lord Jesus, send them away to get something to eat. They leaned to their own understanding, rather than trusting in the Lord. Yet, the Lord Jesus was so patient! How much like them we are! Yet, the Lord Jesus is patient!
V. CHRIST’S POWER as God is manifestly displayed in the miracle recorded in verses 37-44.
Our Lord Jesus fed five thousand men, besides women and children, with five loaves and two fish. We are distinctly told that the crowd had nothing to eat. There was one boy in the bunch who had just these five loaves and two small fish with him. These were put into the hands of Christ. With them, the Lord Jesus fed about twenty thousand people; and after dinner the disciples took up twelve baskets full of fragments. What a banquet! We would be wise to store up the facts here revealed in our hearts and minds, so that we may remember them in times of need.
A. He who is our Savior is also God our Creator, one whose power to protect and provide for us is the power of omnipotence!
B. Our Lord does not need us to do anything; but he does condescend to use us in the accomplishment of his miracles of mercy.
Those five loaves and two small fish were insignificant. Such a little could never feed such a crowd, but it did! That little boy’s lunch was utterly insignificant, until it as put in the hands of the Son of God. That boy could never have dreamed of feeding twenty thousand people that day, but he did!
C. That which is given to Christ is never wasted, lost, or even diminished, but only increases.
That which was given was very little; but that which was done with it was very great. That boy did not give much; but he gave what he could and gave all he had at the time; and God honored his gift. There are some lessons to be learned here about giving.
VI. In verse 42, we are given an example of CHRIST’S PROVISION.
The Jews did not consider it a meal unless everyone had all he wanted, and looked upon it as a shameful embarrassment if there was not a good amount left over after everyone had eaten his fill.
This is certain - All who feed at Christ’s banqueting table are well fed!
A. His provisions of grace are infinitely bountiful.
8. Eternal Life!
B. His provisions of providence are overflowing with goodness.
Those who drink at his well always find it full. Those who feed from his barrel of meal always find bread enough and to spare. Those who fill their vessels from his supply of oil always have their vessels filled. The only vessel that is empty is the vessel that is not brought to him.
This has been my experience. In thirty years I have never lacked for anything. Have you? Has he not proved himself faithful to you?
VII. Now, take a brief glance at verses 45 and 46, and observe CHRIST’S CONDUCT.
A. Our Lord constrained his disciples to take a ship to Bethsaida, knowing full well that he was sending them into the eye of a terrible storm.
We will, the Lord willing, look at this in greater detail next Sunday evening; but, for now, I want you to see just three things about this.
1. The Lord sent his beloved disciples into the storm deliberately.
2. He came to his disciples and made himself known to them in the storm in a way that they could not have known him otherwise.
3. He brought them safely through the storm.
B. When he had sent his disciples away into the storm, the Lord Jesus went up into a mountain to pray.
What a picture! Child of God, your Savior, your Master, your Lord has sent you through many a storm and will yet send you through many more. Sometimes he acts as if he is going to simply pass you by and leave you in the storm; but he never will. He who sent you into the storm has gone up into the high mountain of heaven. There he prays for you and makes intercession on your behalf before the throne of God. Look at John 17, and I will show you how he prays for you.