The Berean Expositor
Volume 54 - Page 60 of 210
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Golan heights, which overlook the plain east of the river and the lake. The feeding of this
large crowd is related in all the four Gospels, and to get the whole picture the four
accounts should be studied.
To test Philip, the Lord asked him how the multitude could be fed (6: 5, 6) and he
"Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!"
The Greek reads "two hundred denarii" and a denarius was the day's wage for a casual
labourer (Matt. 20: 2), and this would probably buy a day's supply of bread for an
average family. To reckon this in English money today is practically impossible, for
owing to inflation the modern equivalent soon goes out of date.
Andrew draws attention to the fact that a boy had brought his lunch with him
consisting of five small flat barley loaves, or cakes, and two small fish, probably salted.
Such a tiny meal was hardly worth mentioning, for it was absolutely inadequate to feed
so many hungry people.
The Lord Jesus was in no way disconcerted. He said, "Make the people sit down";
there were about 5,000 of them (John 6: 10, 11). John's parenthesis here tells us that
there was much grass in the place, and Mark, in his account, note that they sat down on
green grass. It was spring time and the grass would not yet be burnt brown by the
summer heat.  Both these statements are words of an eyewitness.  "The people"
(anthropoi) included men and women, but John adds that the men (andres) sat down.
Matthew emphasizes this by using the phrase "apart from women and children" (xiv.21).
Mark tells us that, according to the Lord's instructions, the large number was arranged in
groups of fifty and a hundred. This made the distribution of the food easier.
Then the Lord performed His creative miracle and multiplied the small cakes and fish
so that there was not only enough for all to eat and have plenty, but twelve basketsful of
food were left over when all were satisfied. There was abundance of food, but no waste.
This should be a lesson to all of us today when there are so many grievous famines all
over the world. There are spiritual lessons too. The Lord is not impoverished with all
His generous giving. As the hymn writer says, "for His grace and power are such, none
can ever ask too much" and when we give in like manner, Prob. 11: 24 comes true, "one
man gives freely, yet grows all the richer".
This miraculous sign made a great impression on the crowd and they began to say,
"surely this is the Prophet Who is to come into the world" (Deut. 18: 15-19). They
thought that this could be a second Moses who would deliver them from Rome's
oppression as Moses had done for their ancestors in delivering them from the bondage of
Egypt. Hence the next verse:
"Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make Him king by force, withdrew
again to a mountain by Himself" (John 6: 15).