Mark 6:35
By now the hour was already late. So the disciples came to Jesus and said, "This is a desolate place, and the hour is already late.
Sermons
Miraculous ProvisionJ.J. Given Mark 6:30-44
The Miracle of the LoavesR. Green Mark 6:30-44
A Parable in a MiracleA. F. Muir, M. A.Mark 6:35-44
Carefulness Even in Small ThingsR. Glover.Mark 6:35-44
Christ the Sustainer of LifeVernon W. Hutton, B. A.Mark 6:35-44
Christ's Ability to Do Much with LittleArchdeacon Farrar.Mark 6:35-44
Christ's Feast FreeC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 6:35-44
Feeding of Five ThousandJ. H. Godwin.Mark 6:35-44
Feeding the Five Thousand: a MiracleA. F. Muir, M. A.Mark 6:35-44
Feeding the Five Thousand: a MiracleA.F. Muir Mark 6:35-44
Feeding the Five Thousand: a ParableA.F. Muir Mark 6:35-44
Food for the MillionCongregational PulpitMark 6:35-44
Four Thousand Men to be Fed in the WildernessC. J. Vaughan, D. D.Mark 6:35-44
Important Lessons from ChristJ. Stewart.Mark 6:35-44
In RanksH. M. Luckock, D. D.Mark 6:35-44
Looked Up to Heaven and BlessedMark 6:35-44
Miracle of the LoavesC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 6:35-44
Miraculous Feeding of Five ThousandExpository OutlinesMark 6:35-44
Order Out of DisorderC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 6:35-44
Our Duty to the MultitudeW. Harrison, M. A.Mark 6:35-44
Providential Supply of FoodS. S. Teacher.Mark 6:35-44
Salvation for UsC. H. Spurgeon.Mark 6:35-44
The Lad's Loaves and FishesC. S. Robinson, D. D.Mark 6:35-44
The Miracle of the LoavesR. Green.Mark 6:35-44
The Multitude FedE. Johnson, M. A.Mark 6:35-44
The Multitude FedE. Johnson Mark 6:35-44
The Multitude Fed in the WildernessC. Bradley, M. A.Mark 6:35-44
One of the most signally demonstrative and masterly of Christ's miracles, whether we consider the circumstances in which it was wrought, the details of its carrying out, or the dimensions and absoluteness of the result. How carefully the evidence was accumulated by Christ of the truly miraculous nature of this work! It was a grand display of -

I. WISDOM.

1. A practical (and symbolical) discipline of the Church in its great function towards the world.

2. A demonstration to the world of the principles and order of the kingdom of God.

II. POWER.

1. Creative.

2. Multiplying human resources.

III. MERCY. Wisdom and power co-operative towards the accomplishing of the highest blessing. Mercy the chief work of God as of man.

1. Bodily, in the relief of the hunger, consideration for the weariness of the multitude.

2. Spiritual, in giving spiritual bread, in teaching dependence upon God, and in enjoining economy of Divine gifts. - M.







He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat.
The miracles of Christ ought to be considered; they are not trifles, and they ought not to be passed over as if they were the mere commonplaces of a daily newspaper. Everything that has to do with the Son of God is worthy of deepest study. What He did at one time is an index to what He will do again when need arises. He is grand in emergencies, and will rather feed His sheep by miracle than let them starve.

I. THE GUESTS.

1. Their great number. Feasting on an imperial scale. Five thousand gathered together, and all as easily provided for as if there had been but five!

2. The strange character of the guests. A nondescript multitude, collected from all classes. Little good could be said of them, except that they had an ear to hear Jesus preach, and were especially glad if the sermon was the first course, with loaves and fishes for the second. But Jesus did not wait until men deserved it, before blessing them. Bad or good, the generous Saviour fed them all; and He is willing to do so still.

3. What the guests had in common. All hungry, and all poor. Yet Christ invites, and He provides everything. We only need to receive, to partake of the fruit of His compassion.

II. THE ORDERLINESS OF THE GUESTS. They sat down in ranks. How were they marshalled so well? The Lord of Hosts was there; He knows how to marshal armies. Out of our disorder, Christ makes His order. However it may seem to us, God's purposes are being carried oat, and at the right time we shall see that all has been done wisely and well.

III. THE FARE SET BEFORE THE GUESTS. Bread and fish — a relish as well as a sufficiency. Christ is not content to give what is barely enough; He likes to give more than is actually required. You shall find in your dish a secret something which will sweeten all.

IV. THE WAITERS AT THE FEAST. The disciples. He employs men to minister to men. What condescension! And what a blessed occupation for those whom He thus employs.

V. THE BLESSING. Nothing without worship and thanks. Jesus must bless our labour, or it will be fruitless. Always give that look upward before you begin your work.

VI. THE EATING. When Jesus provides spiritual meat He intends it to be used — eaten. If you put two canaries in a cage tonight, and in the morning when they wake they see a quantity of seed in a box, — what will the birds do? Will they stop and ask what the seeds are there for? No, but they each reason thus: "Here is a little hungry bird, and there is some seed; these two things go well together." And straightway they eat. Even thus, if in your right senses, and not perverted by sin, you will say, "Here is a Saviour, and here is a sinner; these two things go well together; dear Saviour, save me a sinner. Here is a feast of mercy, and here is a hungry sinner; what can that feast be for but for the hungry, and I am such. Lord, I will even draw near and partake of this blessed feast of Thine; and unless Thou come and tell me to begone, I will feast till I am full." We need fear no repulse. Jesus rejects none from His feast of love. Come and partake, and the more fully the better pleased will He be.

VII. THE CLEARING AWAY. This teaches economy in the use of the Lord's goods. And when properly used, not only is there never any lack, but abundance over. Christ's power cannot be exhausted, no matter what the demands upon it may be. Come, for all things are ready.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

A grand display of —

I. WISDOM.

1. A practical discipline of the Church in its great function towards the world.

2. A demonstration to the world of the principles and order of the Kingdom of God.

II. POWER.

1. Creative.

2. Multiplying human resources.

III. MERCY.

1. Bodily, in the relief of the hunger, consideration for the weariness of the multitude.

2. Spiritual, in giving spiritual bread, in teaching dependence upon God, and in enjoining economy of Divine gifts.

(A. F. Muir, M. A.)

No less significant as parable than as miracle. Perhaps, indeed, the suggestion of spiritual things was its chief aim. It sets forth the physical and spiritual dependence of men upon God, and the Father's willingness and power to provide for His children; also the nature of principles of Divine mercy to man. kind are suggested.

I. THE POVERTY OF THE CHURCH.

1. In position. Desert.

2. In material supplies.

3. In spiritual resource.

II. THE RICHES OF CHRIST.

1. Administered through the appointed means of grace.

2. Abundant to satisfy all demands.

III. CONDITIONS OF DIVINE COMMUNICATION TO MEN.

1. Obedience.

2. Order.

3. Divinely commissioned service.

4. Prayer.

5. Faith.

(A. F. Muir, M. A.)

I. THE COMPASSION OF CHRIST. For the body as well as the soul. Where a want exists, those who first see it should seek to supply it.

II. LOVE IS RICH IN RESOURCES. If the best use is made of existing means, they will insensibly multiply.

III. METHOD IN BENEFICENCE. When we introduce order into our works, we reflect the law of heaven and imitate the thought of God.

IV. IN GOD'S FEASTS THERE IS EVER ENOUGH AND TO SPARE.

(E. Johnson, M. A.)

This miracle(1) teaches us that all feeding is from the Divine hand;(2) declares that God feeds men in tenderness and compassion;(3) points to those many processes of nature which are (like the disciples here) employed by Him to convey to us His gifts;(4) shows that, in God's gifts, the poverty of human means and natural resources hinders not the fullest satisfaction of our wants;(5) illustrates the economy which reigns in God's house: His gifts are precious in His own sight at least;(6) teaches the duty of thankful reception of all He bestows.

(R. Green.)

Jesus here manifests Himself as the Sustainer of life. As such —

1. He works by making use of what appear to us to be ordinary means. No striking exhibition of supernatural power here. He takes the common food which God's providence had supplied, and in the distribution of that the whole multitude are fed. Possibly many present never recognized it to be a miracle at all.

2. He works by the ministry of men. Indeed, He was less visibly the agent in this miracle than were His disciples. The ignorant multitude might have imagined that it was they who were feeding them. But the disciples knew that it was Jesus only, and that they were but His instruments, carrying out the miracle only as far as they were acting in simple obedience to Him.

3. He works by order and method.

4. He recognizes that all must be done in union with the Father. He blesses that wherewith He would work, knowing that what the Father has blessed must fulfil its purpose. He gives thanks for it, knowing that to give thanks for a little is the way to make it become more. Application:(a) By such methods the Eternal Word, by Whom all things were made, sustains the natural life of the creatures of His hand. He works by the natural laws which He has Himself provided, and so withdraws Himself from common observation that the thoughtless multitude fail to recognize His presence, and regard not Him who is ever for their sakes multiplying by His hidden power our natural sustenance. He works also by the ministry of men, thereby teaching us our mutual dependence on one another. This we further learn from the divisions of the human family into nations and callings, which is part of His Divine order. All this sustaining work of the Eternal Word is done in union with the Eternal Father, from Whom and in Whom are all things.(b) By like methods the same Eternal Word sustains our spiritual life. By the simple means of grace, by the Communion of Saints, by the Divine Order of the Church; by all these, under the blessing of the Father, the life of His Spirit in men's souls is ever being nourished.

(Vernon W. Hutton, B. A.)

The word here translated "ranks" indicates that the people were seated in "separate detachments," with sufficient space left to move freely between them. According to another etymology, however, it signifies "a bed of herbs or flowers," and its usage would then illustrate St. Mark's picturesqueness, the bright Eastern costumes of the compact masses upon the brilliant green having suggested to an eyewitness a close resemblance to a bright and well-ordered garden.

(H. M. Luckock, D. D.)

It is true that we have but our five coarse barley loaves and two small fishes; in themselves they are useless. Well, then, let us give them to Christ. He can multiply them, and can make them more than enough to feed the five thousand. A cup of cold water — what a little thing it is! Well, but will the world ever forget one cup of cold water which David would not drink, but poured upon the earth, because his men had risked their lives to fetch it him; or the other cup of cold water which Sir Philip Sidney, although dying and athirst, gave to the wounded soldier who eyed it eagerly at the battle of Zutphen? A grain of mustard seed — can anything be smaller? Well, but when Zinzendorf was a boy at school he founded amongst his schoolfellows a little guild which he called the "Order of the Grain of Mustard Seed," and thereafter that seedling grew into the great tree of the Moravian Brotherhood whose boughs were a blessing to the world. The widow's mite! When they laughed at St. Theresa when she wanted to build a great orphanage, and had but three shillings to begin with, she answered, "With three shillings Theresa can do nothing; but with God and her three shillings there is nothing which Theresa cannot do." Do not let us imagine, then, that we are too poor, or too stupid, or too ignorant, or too obscure to do any real good in the world wherein God has placed us. Is there a greater work in this day than the work of education? Would you have thought that the chief impulse to that work, whereon we now annually spend so many millions of taxation, was given by a poor, illiterate Plymouth cobbler — John Pounds? Has there been a nobler work of mercy in modern days than the purification of prisons? Yet that was done by one whom a great modern writer sneeringly patronized as "the dull, good man, John Howard." Is there a grander, nobler enterprise than missions? The mission of England to India was started by a humble, itinerant shoemaker, William Carey. These men brought to Christ their humble efforts, their five loaves, and in His hand they multiplied exceedingly.

(Archdeacon Farrar.)

The king of the island of Toobow avowed an attachment to Christianity. In 1823 he went on board a British vessel to pay a visit to the captain, and unconsciously conveyed a very forcible practical reproof to the party. He sat down at table to partake of some refreshment; but, although food was placed before him, he made a very observable pause; and, when asked why he did not begin, replied that he was waiting till a blessing had been asked upon the food. The reproof was felt, and the party were ashamed at being rebuked by a man whose intellectual attainments they considered far inferior to their own. They rose and the king asked a blessing before they commenced the repast.

Here observe —

1. God wastes nothing — in nature, in providence, in grace.

2. Thrift is duty. The wasteful have as little to give as the penurious.

3. Husbandry of joys is wisdom. Too late to begin trying to "gather up the fragments" when calamity has come.

4. Husbandry of time is duty. The men who do most in this world are those who waste least time.

5. Those who give, get more than they part with. Lend a boat to Christ, and you get a miraculous draught of fishes. Give him five loaves, and He will give you twelve baskets of fragments back. He that saves his money loses it; but he that loses it for love's sake, will keep it.

(R. Glover.)

In this narrative we may note the following points —

I. THE COMPASSION AND POWER OF CHRIST WERE FOR THE BODIES AND MINDS OF MEN.

II. THE EXCITEMENT OF EXPECTATION PREPARES FOR THE RECEPTION OF GOOD.

III. MATERIAL OBJECTS AND HUMAN AGENCY ARE EMPLOYED IN THE COMMUNICATION OF DIVINE GIFTS.

IV. ORDER SHOULD BE OBSERVED, GRATITUDE EXPRESSED, AND LIBERALITY BE COMBINED WITH FRUGALITY, IN COMMON MEALS.

(J. H. Godwin.)

Let us inquire what that part is, which belongs to us, analogous to that which devolved upon the disciples; and let us learn from the three lessons which are furnished, to magnify and exalt that saving mercy, of which we have been so long and so abundantly partakers.

I. We learn from the text, in the first place, then, A CALL TO DUTY. The advancement of the kingdom of Christ is, or ought to be, the first object of every sincere Christian.

II. But we learn, in the second place, A CALL TO FAITH. There is one essential difference, without doubt, between the case of the disciples and our own; the difference, I mean, of miraculous interposition. In the case of the disciples, a miracle was necessary; in our case, all is left to us. Did I say, all? — all exertion, all prayer, and all faith; but the blessing must unquestionably be added from above, or all is in vain.

III. But I am anxious to summon your attention to the third and last lesson of the text, namely, ITS CALL FOR ENCOURAGEMENT. How great is our encouragement! Like the disciples, we have the Saviour, to whom we may look to bless the means we use, and to make the results glorious.

(W. Harrison, M. A.)

I. THE MIRACLE.

1. Power over the material world. This to material beings like ourselves is a concern of no small moment. Have the things around us any Master? If so, who is He? "The Lord Christ," answers the gospel. It follows that He can never be at a loss for an instant to punish us; also that the stores of nature are to us just what He pleases to make them. In the material world, as in the spiritual, His people are safe.

2. Notice also in this miracle the little value which Christ puts on sensual gratifications, on luxuries and what we call comforts. We have seen His power; it was evidently boundless. A word from His lips could have spread before this multitude all the delicacies of the East. But in calling His omnipotence into exercise for them, the only food He provides is the mean fare of the humblest fisherman.

II. Let us pass on now TO THE FEELINGS WITH WHICH THIS MIRACLE WAS WROUGHT.

1. One of these was evidently a consciousness of power. Not that it was wrought ostentatiously, for the purpose of exciting astonishment or applause; it was a work of pure compassion, with no vain show whatever in it; nay, with a concealment of power, rather than a display of it.

2. We have thus looked at the author of this miracle as God; but He is as really man as He is God, and he feels and acts here like a dependent man; for mark further the spirit of devotion He manifests. "When He had taken the five loaves and the two fishes," the evangelist says, "He looked up to heaven and blessed." Why this bringing of devotion to bear upon the trifles of life? Because God is in all these trifles. True religion is not an act, but a habit; not an impulse or emotion, but a principle; not a sudden torrent, produced by the snows of winter or the thunderstorm of summer; it is a stream ever running, varying indeed in its breadth and depth, but from the moment of its rise, ever flowing on till it reaches the ocean of everlasting life. Banish God from your meals, or habitually from anything, and you might as well banish Him from everything.

3. Notice also the munificence, the liberality, with which our Lord spread this wide board for this vast multitude. "The two fishes divided He among them all; and they did all eat and were filled." None were excluded, none were controlled, none went away dissatisfied. There was enough and to spare. And think not, brethren, that you can ever exhaust the grace, or diminish the fulness, of your Almighty Saviour.

III. THE TIME CHOSEN FOR THIS MIRACLE — "When the day was now far passed." The disciples were thus taught that they could do nothing for the hungry crowd. This mode of proceeding runs through all his dealings with us, whether in providence or in grace. He humbles us "under His mighty hand," before He exalts us; He breaks our hearts, before He heals.

IV. And this is nearly the same truth that our fourth subject will suggest to us — THE PLACE WHERE THIS MIRACLE WAS PERFORMED. You discover then at once, brethren, the lesson we have to learn here — our richest supplies, our best comforts, are not the growth of our worldly prosperity, nor often the companions of our worldly ease; they come to us in situations and under circumstances, which seem to cut us off from every comfort and supply. Think of the deserts in which you have wandered. Outward affliction has been one of these. Spiritual sorrow, too, conviction of sin, is another wilderness; a dark and fearful one; none on earth more fearful. O never let us fear the desert, as long as we are there with the Lord Jesus Christ.

(C. Bradley, M. A.)

Congregational Pulpit.
I. JESUS CHRIST AFFORDS US ALL OUR FOOD FOR BODILY SUSTENANCE.

II. NEEDFUL FOOD IS ENSURED TO HIS TRUE DISCIPLES.

III. SEE HOW CHRIST WOULD HAVE US RECEIVE OUR FOOD.

1. With thankfulness and decorum.

2. With generous distribution of it to others.

3. With frugal care of it.

IV. THE MIRACLE IS A TYPE OF GOSPEL PROVISIONS FOR THE SOULS OF MEN.

1. Christ gives us spiritual food; as truth, righteousness, and love.

2. He distributes it through His ministering servants, and it multiplies in their hands.

3. It is superabundantly enough for all mankind. Therefore —

(1)Come and eat with all thankfulness.

(2)Freely hand it round to others.

(Congregational Pulpit.)

Christ's banqueting hall was an open field, there were no walls or doors, or persons guarding the entrance: thus free is His feast of love at this moment. Whosoever will, let him come.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The original word used by Mark represents them as divided, like beds of flowers, with walks between, so that as a gardener can go up and down, and water all the plants, so the waiters at the feast could conveniently give every man his share of bread and his piece of fish without confusion. They sat down in ranks by fifties and by hundreds. Things do not look so orderly now, do they, as we see Christ through His Church feeding the multitude? There is a good work going on in the North of England, there is a revival in Scotland, there is an awakening in Ireland, there is a stir in the Midland Counties; but does it not look very like a scramble? Do we not seem to tumble over one another, instead of doing our work in soldierly order? A good work springs up in one place on a sudden, while religion is dying out in other quarters; the people are satiated yonder, and are starving only a little way off. We do not get at the masses as a whole, or see the Church progress in all places. Let us not, however, judge too hastily, for Jesus makes His order out of our disorder. We see a piece of the puzzle, but when the whole shall be put together and we shall see the end from the beginning, I warrant you we shall see that Christ's great feast of mercy, with its myriads of guests, has been conducted on a principle of order as mathematically accurate as that which guides the spheres in their courses.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Why flows the river, but to make glad your fields? Why sparkles the fountain, but to quench your thirst? Why shines the sun, but for your eyes to be blessed with his light? As you breaths the air around you because you feel that it must have been made for you to breathe, so receive the full, free salvation of Jesus Christ.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

My brethren, the difficulty urged by the disciples is one not of bygone times only.

I. It is a difficulty arising from numbers, and it is a difficulty arising from place. When from any unhappy cause, such as that terrible and most wicked war which is at this time raging in the new world, the supplies of trade and commerce are suddenly cut off from a large portion of our countrymen, how sad a meaning is given even in a literal sense to the inquiry in the text! What a burden is thrown upon private charity, what a burden is thrown upon the public resources, by a cry for bread, for the food of the body, going up from destitute thousands! And are there not some among us capable of feeling the same weight of difficulty in reference to things spiritual? And when our thoughts take a wider range, and pass to towns and cities in our own laud where the population is counted not by hundreds, but by tens of thousands; when we think of that aggregate of ignorance, ungodliness, and sin, which a population of a hundred thousand or of a million of souls must present to the eye of a holy and heart-searching God, and then compare with it the few faithful ministers and servants of God who are set to dispense the bread of life amongst that mighty multitude. The least we expect of the disciples is their own faith, their own obedience. If the prospect is discouraging, it must not be made more so by the faithlessness of the faithful: they at least must eat of Christ's bread, and assist Him in the distribution (so far as it will go) to others.

II. We have to think also of the difficulty arising from the place; from the disparity between the scene which was before them and the food which was wanted. Bread here in the wilderness. When we apply this to spiritual things, two remarks will suggest themselves. There is an apparent contrariety between heavenly supplies and our earthly condition. We are here in a wilderness. There is an incongruity between the place and the promise. Rest in a changing world, happiness in a troublous world, the ideas are inharmonious and discordant. I appeal to some of you, my brethren, to testify that, though there may be contrariety in the ideas, there is no contradiction. Some of you have found that, though all else changes, God changes not; that, though all else is unrest, in Christ there is peace. You can already attest the truth of His words, "These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

(C. J. Vaughan, D. D.)

1. The poverty of Christ.

2. The voluntary character of His privations.

3. His riches for others are brought into contrast with the poverty of His own estate.

4. The wants of the soul are first to be attended to — as most important.

5. Christ should be trusted with our temporal affairs — He has sympathy and ability.

6. Christ will succour us under the difficulties and hardships felt in following Him.

7. It is when the sagacity and power of man are confessedly inadequate that Christ interposes.

8. It is in using our natural resources that Christ communicates His gracious aid.

9. It is the blessing of Christ which makes anything serve its proper end.

10. The richness and pleasures of an entertainment do not depend on the costliness of the provision.

11. We can never come to Christ at a wrong time.

12. "The bread of life." "The living bread."

(J. Stewart.)

Expository Outlines.
I. A STRIKING VIEW OF THE SAVIOUR'S TENDER COMPASSION. Regard it in connection with —

1. The disciples. "When I sent you without purse and script and shoes, lacked ye anything?" And they said, "Nothing." Now they have a new token of His fidelity and love.

2. The multitude.

(1)The feeling with which they were regarded.

(2)The cause of this feeling — "They were as sheep," etc.

(3)Its consequences — "And He began to teach them many things."

II. THE DISPLAY HE GAVE OF HIS ALMIGHTY POWER.

1. There was no misgiving.

2. There was no confusion.

3. There was no parade.

4. There was no deficiency.

5. There was no waste.

(Expository Outlines.)

This miracle is remarkable —

I. FOR THE EXTRAORDINARY NUMBER OF WITNESSES THERE WERE TO IT.

II. FOR THE MYSTERIOUS PECULIARITY OF THE PROCESS IN WORKING.

III. FOR THE EXTRAORDINARY AFFLUENCE OF ITS PRODUCTS.

IV. FOR THE PROFOUND IMPRESSION IT MADE AND IS YET MAKING.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

Bishop Bascom was preaching on one occasion in a cabin which was at once church and dwelling. In the midst of the sermon his host, who sat near the door, suddenly rose from his seat, snatched the gun from its wooden brackets upon which it lay against the joist, went hastily out, fired it off, and returning, put the gun in its place, and quietly seated himself to hear the remainder of the sermon. After service was ended, the bishop inquired of the man the meaning of his strange conduct. "Sir," said he, "we are entirely out of meat, and I was perplexed to know what we should give you for dinner; and it was preventing me from enjoying the sermon, when God sent a flock of wild geese this way. I happened to see them, took my gun, and killed two at a shot. My mind felt easy, and I enjoyed the remainder of the sermon with perfect satisfaction."

(S. S. Teacher.)

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