What Jesus' Feeding the Multitudes Tells Us About Our Provider

What Jesus' Feeding the Multitudes Tells Us About Our Provider

What Jesus' Feeding the Multitudes Tells Us About Our Provider

Anxiety easily grows when financial difficulties hit. The uncertainty might narrow our vision narrow as we center our minds on our problems and limitations until fear begins to override the truths of God. We might forget that He alone is our Provider, and that our Provider is loving, attentive, sovereign, and kind. Jesus promised to be our Good Shepherd, the One who faithfully tends to all of our needs. 

Our Savior isn’t bound by our temporary and ever-fluctuating job market, bank accounts, or paychecks. Jesus’ interaction with the hungry multitude in John 6 assures us that He can turn barrenness into plenty and bring abundance from meager resources. 

Here are 5 truths Jesus’ multiplication of loaves and fishes teach us about our provider.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/lovelyday12

A woman praying in a hallway, Christians must have faith

1. Jesus sees us.

Scripture says, “When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward Him …” (John 6:5, NIV). In a similar but separate event, we read, “When Jesus landed” in a solitary place “and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them …” (Matthew 14:12)

His vision extended beyond their external circumstances to the fears and hurts within their hearts as well. He regards you and I with the same attentive, loving, and penetrative concern. 

When life feels painful and uncertain, we can easily feel alone, as if no one truly understands, or cares, about our struggle. This is especially true if we’ve attached shame to our financial circumstances as this can often cause us to self-isolate and hide our burdens. But we never have to hide from Christ. He sees us completely, knows our greatest mistakes, weaknesses, and regrets, and loves us deeply. 

David, ancient Israel’s second king, proclaimed this reality so beautifully in Psalm 139 when he prayed, “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar” (Psalm 139:1-2). 

God knows when we’re employed and laid off. When we’re broke, in debt, concerned, and in need. We can trust, wherever we’re at and whatever we face, that God views us with the same tender compassion with which Jesus beheld the hungry men, women, and children following Him one day shortly before the Passover.

2. Jesus always has a plan. (John 6:6)

Imagine standing in a remote location, seeing thousands of hungry people approaching, and hearing Jesus ask you about buying them bread. Imagine, also, that you didn’t have steady employment, anything in savings, or much in your pockets. 

This was the state Philip and the other disciples found themselves in. In short, Jesus was asking them to do something that was so beyond them, the idea seemed ludicrous. “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Philip said.

But notice what Scripture tells us, in the verse prior. “He” meaning Jesus, “had asked this only to test him, for He already had in mind what He was going to do” (John 6:7). God knows the solution to every problem well before the problem hits. Therefore, when a situation feels beyond us, the best thing we can do is pray, seeking God’s perfect wisdom. He might call us to action, like He did with the disciples when He invited them to participate in the miracle that followed. Or, He might tell us to patiently wait. Either way, He’s inviting us to trust in Him and His promise to work in all things for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Kieferpix

3. Our resources are irrelevant.

3. Our resources are irrelevant.

When our daughter was in high school, she’d often surprise us by coming home for dinner with a group of her friends. Some nights, like when we’d recently gone grocery shopping, this wasn’t a problem. On other occasions, I found myself rummaging our pantry for every loaf of bread and jar of peanut butter I could find. I quickly discovered, teenage boys can eat! 

Multiply those hungry young men by nearly a thousand, and it’s easy to see why the disciples felt overwhelmed. I doubt, even if they’d had the necessary cash, that they would’ve found any place in the nearby towns and villages in which to make such a large purchase. Overwhelmed by the problem, they seemed oblivious to the miracle-working Messiah standing right beside them. They focused on what they lacked rather than the love and power of Christ. 

Perhaps after pooling the crowd, they learned of a child who’d brought five small barley loaves and two small fish. According to the disciples, this wasn’t nearly enough. They discovered, however, that this meager amount, when offered to Christ, proved more than sufficient.

4. Jesus is a God of abundance. (John 6:12-13)

This historical account begins with one boy’s lunch and an overwhelming number of hungry bellies. It ends with 5,000 men and, likely, many women and children not just fed, but satiated. Scripture tells us everyone sat on the grassy ground and Jesus gave thanks for the food. Then, He distributed first portions of bread, then the fish, to the people, giving them as much as they wanted. As David Guzik from the Enduring Word points out, this included the child as well. “The boy himself ended up with more than he started with,” he wrote. “It certainly was an adequate lunch for himself; but he gave it to Jesus and He turned it into an all-you-can-eat buffet for the boy as well.” 

Then, once everyone had finished, Jesus told the disciples to collect the leftovers. They did, enough to fill 12 baskets. 

According to Merril Tenney, author of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, these weren’t small containers like you and I might take on picnics. The original Greek word used here denotes large containers, further illustrating a truth Scripture repeatedly reveals. “God is able to bless [us] abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that [we] need, [we] will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).

May we remember, and trust in, this promise when financial concerns leave us feeling anxious and afraid.

5. Jesus uses our times of lack to teach us to rely on Him.

Like the disciples, when God calls me to do something, I immediately focus on myself. Honestly, in many situations, this doesn’t pose a problem. When I encounter something completely beyond my capabilities, however, I’m forced to turn to Christ. Through my insufficiency, I discover, in Christ, I have and receive all that I need. He reminds me that He truly is my good shepherd, who lovingly guides me to green pastures and still streams, and that I am His defenseless, dependent, and well-cared for sheep. 

And in this place, He quiets my fears with peace.

Most of us will experience financial struggle, many times through situations that are out of our control. In those circumstances, we might feel as if our world is out of control as well. But our fears tend to lie to us. The truth is we belong to, are seen and deeply loved by, and amply provided for by our limitless, all-powerful God. 

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/lovelyday12

Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com.

As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she’s passionate about helping women experience Christ’s freedom in all areas of their lives. Visit her online to learn more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event  and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE  and make sure to connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.