articlesqa February 10, 2018 how to feed five thousand
Ifeoluwapo Eleyinafe Article by Ifeoluwapo EleyinafeCreator and author of thinkheaven.com

5000 men, some with wives and chil­dren, had all come out to meet Je­sus Christ and hear His Word. It was late in the day and the dis­ci­ples no­ticed that these peo­ple had trav­eled far and that they were hun­gry. Yet Je­sus, per­haps as prophe­cy or test, tells His dis­ci­ples, “You give them some­thing to eat.” Matthew 14:15-18 chron­i­cles this brief con­ver­sa­tion and till to­day I have al­ways fault­ed the dis­ci­ples for hav­ing lit­tle faith. Yet it should be not­ed that in all the ac­counts of this sto­ry, from Matthew through John, Je­sus does NOT scold the dis­ci­ples for ex­hibit­ing a lit­tle faith.

I have many times found my­self where the dis­ci­ples are. When moth­ers weep over their sick chil­dren, when fa­thers weep over their er­rant hearts, when chil­dren weep be­cause they have strayed far, it seems fair and maybe right to won­der what is the food they need to eat. As be­liev­ers we may have time and we may have space but it is clear that our few loaves and fish­es are in­ad­e­quate to feed even one. Fur­ther­more, a deep­er thought will re­veal that to give them only of our­selves would make them de­pen­dent on us which then fur­ther en­traps them in the world. In this way, many have made idols of their pas­tors.

When I was younger I right­ly un­der­stood through Matthew 14:17 that I was bread and fish to be blessed and bro­ken and giv­en to the peo­ple Matthew 14:19. But I was afraid. For I thought, “How can I be enough to feed so many?!” Yet in my heart, I knew that I had right­ly per­ceived The Word. And yet when I saw the many, I knew I was not enough to nour­ish them all. And so I lost sight of Je­sus by fo­cus­ing on what seemed to be the goal.

Baby Bird

As a sim­ple child in Christ, I un­der­stood the equa­tion clear­ly: “Of­fer my­self to Je­sus. He Bless­es me and breaks me and feeds many.” Three clear move­ments every priest makes: of­fer­ing, bless­ing and break­ing. Done. Sim­ple. Noth­ing more needs to be said to the fa­ther, the moth­er, the sis­ter, the broth­er seek­ing to serve those in need around them. But in my old age, I have come back again to stand among the dis­ci­ples be­fore Christ and the peo­ple who are in need. For the in­ter­ces­sor stands be­fore God for the peo­ple and be­fore the peo­ple for God. The needs have not changed and Je­sus is still the same. And like El­isha I lay the man­tle of my Lord across the wa­ter and ask, “Where shall we get food to feed so many?”

It is clear, back then and now, that the peo­ple did not come to see me. They came to see Je­sus Christ. They are not in need of mun­dane bread and there­fore not in need of me. They are in need of The Bread of Life, Je­sus Christ of Nazareth John 6:35. Like the faith­ful priests of old who lead the peo­ple in the cer­e­mo­ny of com­mu­nion, it is Him that I must lift up and bless and glo­ri­fy and give to the peo­ple to eat. They must be giv­en His Flesh to eat and His Blood to drink John 6:53-58. In the past I won­dered in the depths of prayer how I could ever be enough. Now I un­der­stand that He Is Enough. And as the mir­a­cle shows, He is al­ways more than enough.

And yet, from Matthew 14:16 I hear Him say to me, "You give them some­thing to eat.” There are many ways to right­eous­ly obey this com­mand­ment but they all fol­low the same pat­tern. A baby bird can­not eat bread. So I sup­pose that like a moth­er bird feed­ing baby birds, I must give them the Word that I have eat­en and some­what di­gest­ed. For be­fore the priest leads in com­mu­nion, he must first have com­mu­nion with Je­sus Christ. He first eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. So like a moth­er ea­gle, I must feed the peo­ple out of my com­mu­nion with Je­sus Christ.

Why is this pat­tern spir­i­tu­al­ly func­tion­al and how does this not lead to pride? Sim­ple. By con­tin­u­ing in com­mu­nion with Je­sus Christ, it is no longer I who live but Christ in me Gala­tians 2:18-21. When I live a life of ho­li­ness and give the peo­ple to eat of my­self, of my time, of my space, it is NOT me I am giv­ing but Je­sus Christ, The Bread of Life. Be­cause Je­sus and I are in com­mu­nion, by eat­ing of me, they eat of Je­sus Christ. Be­cause Je­sus and I are in com­mu­nion, by con­fess­ing to me, they con­fess to Je­sus Christ and there­by are healed James 5:14-16. Hence ho­li­ness which is the priest’s pure com­mu­nion with Je­sus Christ is of Eter­nal im­por­tance. The more Christ is in me, the more rich­ly The Word dwells in me, the more they get of Je­sus and NOT me. I am blessed by of­fer­ing my­self whol­ly to the Lord and there­by even a morsel of lit­tle old me is enough to feed five mil­lion John 14:12.

Blessed and Bro­ken

But let us be clear. Every priest­ly move­ment (of­fer­ing, bless­ing and break­ing) can only oc­cur through com­mu­nion with Je­sus Christ. There is no point where, like the prodi­gal son Luke 11:12-13, I can take pos­ses­sion of the bless­ing and go out(back) into the world to ac­com­plish some­thing great ... for the king­dom? That is the path the false prophets have walked as de­scribed in 2 Pe­ter 2:1,17,20. No no, every step of the priest­ly move­ment is com­mu­nion with Je­sus Christ.Image Source: https://i.imgur.com/CgprpsI.jpg

The true break­ing of my­self lies not in giv­ing my time and space and what­ev­er else to the peo­ple. I am bro­ken to feed many when I humbly lift Je­sus up in­stead of my­self. For isn’t every pas­tor tempt­ed to turn stones to bread in­stead of giv­ing them the Word from God Matthew 4:3-4? Are we not all tempt­ed to think that we could ever be suf­fi­cient to do any­thing good on our own? Dai­ly, sec­ond by sec­ond, the pas­tor is tempt­ed to plot sub­tle plans and machi­na­tions aimed at en­tic­ing the hearts of men and women ... to­wards the Lord. Not know­ing that such en­tice­ments will do noth­ing more than cause them to look to the sun or moon and kiss their hands Job 31:24-28. The only ac­cept­able sac­ri­fice a pas­tor can of­fer is to deny him­self and take up and lift up Je­sus Christ. It is through hum­ble com­mu­nion with Je­sus that he is bro­ken but it is also through this same com­mu­nion that he is blessed so that his sac­ri­fice feeds many. Je­sus did the ex­act same thing. He de­nied Him­self and through obe­di­ence, lift­ed up The Fa­ther Philip­pi­ans 2:5-8. Through this com­mu­nion, He was blessed by God from Heav­en Phil 2:9, Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22, Matthew 17:5, Mark 9:7, Luke 9:35.

Je­sus only Did and Said what His Fa­ther Did and Said. There­fore, all Who par­took of Him, par­took of God The Fa­ther and God the Holy Spir­it. When I do to Je­sus as He did to His Fa­ther, when I deny my­self and choose to only do and say what He Did and Said, then I be­come like Je­sus, a liv­ing sac­ri­fice Ro­mans 12:1-2 en­grossed in wor­ship. All who par­take of my life, par­take of God The Fa­ther, God The Son and God The Holy Spir­it.

In­vi­ta­tion

There­fore, every fol­low­er of Je­sus Christ is an of­fer­ing of His Body and Blood. Through us, Je­sus of­fers to the world The Holy Com­mu­nion Psalms 23:5. It be­gins when the Chris­t­ian de­nies her­self first in pri­vate and then in pub­lic. By lift­ing up Je­sus in­stead of her­self, she be­comes man­na like Man­na and bread like Bread. This life lived through self de­nial by pro­claim­ing Je­sus Christ re­ceives the bless­ing of God. All who meet any dis­ci­ple of Je­sus en­counter Je­sus Christ and are in­vit­ed to par­take in His Sac­ri­fice. Those who eat of him, eat the flesh of Je­sus Christ through him. Those who drink of her, drink the blood of Je­sus Christ through her. And so in such a way, every dis­ci­ple of Je­sus Christ be­comes a priest and min­is­ter who feeds thou­sands upon thou­sands upon thou­sands John 14:12.

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“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” - Colossians 2:3

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