DCLM Search The Scripture Youth & Adult For August 28, 2022 : Topic – Christ Feeds The Multitude
CHRIST FEEDS THE MULTITUDE
TEXT: Matthew 14:14-21; Mark 8:1-26; Like 9:11-17
MEMORY VERSE: “And they did all eat, and were filled, and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full” (Matthew 14:20).
In the previous chapter, Jesus taught the multitude the word of the kingdom of God. He revealed in His teachings the operation of the devil in hindering man from benefitting from the word of God. From that, we learnt the need to pray fervently after hearing the word of God for fruitfulness. A well prepared heart can experience spiritual fruitfulness from God’s word. The report of the death of John the Baptist had been brought to the attention of Jesus by His disciples. “When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart” (Matthew 14:13).
Question 1: From Christ’s example, how should Christian youths handle persecution of threat to their life?
Here is wisdom: Jesus had to go apart with His disciples away from Herod for safety. This is unlike some unwise Christians who would have thought fleeing is an act of cowardice! Jesus taught His disciples earlier on how to handle similar situation. “But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you’ Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of be come” (Matthew 10:23). Also, Jesus and His disciples needed to be refreshed; and going apart into a solitary place becomes necessary. Unfortunately, there are contemporary Christian workers who labour for others in the Kingdom but have no time for personal refreshment. Such should know that they are not wiser and stronger than Christ! Anyone who neglects personal rest and spiritual refreshment will soon go empty or crash. Hence, they withdrew across the Sea of Galilee (John 6:1,2) to a quiet place for meditation and prayer (Mark 6:30,31). Meanwhile, when the multitudes heard about the movement of Jesus and His disciples to the place, they followed Him on foot, desiring to further hear from and be blessed of Him. There is a lesson to learn from the attitude of this desirous multitude that walked long distance to hear Jesus. Those who recognise Jesus’ power to meet all theirnneeds will defy all odds and inconveniences to seek Him. The blessings we receive from seeking the Lord against all odds outweigh the sacrifices we put into it. As shown in our text, Jesus responded to the quest of the crowd by not only ministering to their souls, but also to their needs. He had compassion on them, healed and miraculously fed them (Matthew 14: 14, 15).
THE COMMENDABLE DESIRE FOR THE LORD BY THE MULTITUDE (Matthew 14:13; Luke 9:10,11; John 6:1,2; Psalm 42:1,2; John 4:25; 6:25,26; Deuteronomy 4:29; 1 Chronicles 16: 11).
The strong desire to hear from Jesus as well as to be blessed by Him made the people to seek after Him wherever He goes. Even though Christ went across the sea unannounced, the People made effort to know His whereabout and went there on foot. The counsel for youths within and outside the church is that they should develop a strong desire and undeterred effort to seek the Lord. This should be for spiritual, physical, material, academic and other needed blessings. “As the panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God” (Psalm 42:1).
Question 2: Were these multitude sincere seekers of Christ?
The coming of the Messiah was long awaited for by the Israelites, and beyond the nation of Israel. “The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things” (John 4:25). This is one of the reasons some in the multitude sought after Christ. Others in the group had carnal motive for seeking Christ. This was revealed in Christ’s interaction with them. “And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled” (John 6:25,26). Today, different youths come to the church for several reasons. It may be for sincere purpose of making the kingdom of God, while others come for ulterior motive or position seeking. Why are you coming to the church? Jesus’ admonition is, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed” (John 6:27). Just as the multitude came to Christ beyond the sea, youths are to avail themselves in the weekly meetings of the church; special monthly program, Youth Home Success Fellowship; retreat and Success Camp, etc. They should come with ready minds to learn from the Lord and be ready to receive all round blessings from Him; just as the multitude that came were blessed by Him.
THE COMPASSIONATE DEALING OF TRE LORD WITH THE MULTITUDE (Matthew 14:15-19; 9:36; 15:32; Mark 8:2-8; 6:34; Luke 9:12-17; Deuteronomy 13:17; 2 Chronicles 30:9)
“And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick” (Matthew 14:14). Jesus is the Good Shepherd who dealt with the multitude compassionately. Observing the miracles of Christ during His earthly ministry was based on mercy. Many of the recipients of His miracle did not merit it. But, He healed them all.
Question 3: What was the motive of Christ in His miraculous outreach to the multitude?
Christ’s purpose for coming to the world is to save the people from their sins. Satan took advantage of the sin of man to torment and oppress him. This oppression and torment made man to become subject to the devil who takes him captive at his will. And Christ came “that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Timothy 2:26). The compassion of Christ is borne of this. He has to heal, deliver and set free these captives and afterward, give them salvation. He did not come to condemn the sinners or deny them of healing due to sin. But expects them to repent, having seen His authority over the devil and his works; and His ability to liberate them from all life challenges. Christian youths should understand the danger of sin and must be attended to urgently. There is no need for delay to repent, whether there is healing or health. And Christ greatest purpose is to save man from his sins. Are you saved since you started coming to this church? Christ’s compassion makes Him to forgive and forget every sin unconditionally no matter how terrible they are. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4: 18). Christ’s healing and deliverance show His deity as God who created all things and can relieve pains, restore defaulted parts, remove sickness, rebuke and drive out the devil from those possessed. It showed His authority, ability and power to do all things. “And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak” (Mark 7:37).
Question 4: Mention some instances where Jesus demonstrated His compassion on people in the Bible.
Cases of Jesus demonstrating compassion on people abound in the Scriptures. These include: One, restoration of the sight of two blind men (Matthew 20:30-34). Two, the cleansing of a man from leprosy (Mark 1:40-42). Three, deliverance of the demoniac (Mark 5:1-19). Four, restoration of the dead son of the woman of Nain back to life (Luke 7: 11-13). As the people in all the cases mentioned above were not disappointed but had their problems solved by Jesus, youths also should be rest assured that all their problems receive solutions today as they come to Jesus with faith. “And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals” (Matthew 14:15). Christ’s care for the people is one of the greatest virtues that showed Him a Good Shepherd. He has heartfelt feeling for them and would not want them to go hungry. “But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat” (verse 16). Though His disciples thought it was impossible to feed such a multitude, Christ knew what He would do. All that was needed was the available “five loaves’ and two fishes” (verse 17) to feed them. It is noticeable that the loaves and fishes used to feed the multitude belonged to a lad. Lf you were the lad, would you have surrendered it? In church’s program, do you make contribution as a youth even when you have? Or you take your money to such program to feed sumptuously? Think on this. “And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand” (John 6:10). Having organised the multitude into groups, He blessed the five loaves and two fishes. Then the miracle of multiplication took place. There are two things we learn from here. (1) Christ love an organised people and does not like rowdiness. As we come to the retreat or success camp, we should maintain an orderly and organised manner when food is being served. (2) Christ has the ability to multiply five loaves and two fishes. Whenever we are in scarcity, just pray to Him and you will find out that this is true of Him. Do not lose your faith at a time of need, He might just be there waiting for you.
THE COLLECTION AND CONSERVATION OF THE FRAGMENTS FROM THE MULTITUDES (Matthew 14:20,21; Mark 8:8,9; 6:43; Luke 9:17; John 6:13; 2 Kings 4:5-7)
“And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full” (Matthew 14:20). After the multitude had been fed to satisfaction, the remaining food was collected together for preservation. This shows that God is against wastage of any kind.
Question 5: What lesson can you draw from the gathering of the leftover food by the disciples?
It is very unfortunate that at hard times like this, some youths have the habit of wastage. They will take the food they cannot finish and waste the remnant afterward. Some of these boys and girls do not know that water, electricity, money and other substance should be managed. God commanded the children of Israel to take adequate Manna they can consume. They should not take excess so that it would not be wasted. “And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating” (Exodus 16: 18). Apart from wastage, the remnant was kept for further consumption. In this, Christian youths are admonished to learn to save at a time of abundance for the future when there may be scarcity. It was this way that Joseph saved a generation from been destroyed by destitution (Genesis 41:33-36)
CHRIST FEED THE MULTITUDES
MEMORY VERSE: “And they did an eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full” (Matthew 14:20)
TEXTS: Matthew 14:14-21; Luke 9:11-17; Mark 8:1-26
After Christ was told of the death of John the Baptist, He left the city and went into a desert place. Although He must have felt bad about his death, He was never disheartened at the awful disclosure. He was still going to minister to the multitudes who had always loved to hear Him preach. This spontaneous
Resolve of Christ to minister in spite of the demise of John the Baptist, His forerunner, is full of instructions for contemporary believers. While the Scripture does not forbid Christians from sympathizing with the bereaved, we should however, exercise restraint and not brood over the departure of our loved ones for a long time. John the Baptist could be said to have finished his course and it was time for him to exit the world having fought a good fight Of faith. Death is a price that must be paid by mortal beings. That is why the Scripture commands us thus: “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Before death catches up with a believer, he or she is expected to have been fully prepared. Like a traveller whose travel documents must made ready, every serious minded Christian must ensure that his or her Christian experiences are intact and up-to-date. A believer who is worth his salt owes it a duty to also get his sinful neighbours prepared by letting them know that death, being a sudden’ occurrence, is coming with equal certainty upon every mortal being and when it strikes, careers of great achievement will end immediately. However, this study focuses on the people’s resolve to hear the gospel, Christ’s compassion and supernatural provision.
THE PEOPLE’S COMPELLING RESOLVE AND CHRIST’S TIMELY MESSAGE (Matthew 14:14; Luke 9:11)
“And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing” (Luke 9: 11). The resolve of the multitudes to be exposed to the gospel of salvation is highly commendable. It would be recalled that Christ had earlier visited Nazareth, His own country, where He was rejected. Were it not for their refusal, He would have performed miracles of various sorts in Nazareth. However, people’s sentiment and misgiving in His own country did not deter Him from preaching the gospel. He did circumvent their apathy and went where God’s word would be highly esteemed. The prompt readiness of the multitudes to be fed with the word fostered in Christ an unprecedented attention towards their felt needs. The energy He could have dissipated on the critically minded folks back in His country was profitably expended on sincere seekers whose preoccupation was to really discover God’s blueprint for their lives. The contemporary world which could otherwise be referred to as a field of harvest is littered with different categories of people; there are those whose lives are entirely opposed to Christ; there are people who profess godliness without having experienced the new birth; there are also those whose motives are purely selfish and materialistic. The people who profess godliness without God’s required corresponding grace are sometimes found on the streets preaching heresies. They often resort to the media with a view to Projecting their fallacies and distortion of Christian truth. This they do quite enthusiastically not minding the impending consequence. But Paul the apostle minced no words when he told Titus that their “…mouths must be stopped” (Titus 1:11). The resolve of the multitudes to hear Jesus preach to them was met with His spontaneous preparedness to urgently open their spiritual eyes to the needful. Believers need to imbibe passion for the lost and feel touched with their infirmities. A number of them are being fed with junks and not with meals that are nutritious for their spiritual renaissance in their various places of worship. Many of them have had their lives infested with worldly orchestrated ideals. It is therefore expected of every born again Christian in whose hand the real seed of life is to conscientiously and passionately dispense it without expecting to be cheaply rewarded. “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9: 16). However, the preacher of the undiluted word of God must “Study to shew [himself} approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2: 15).
CHRIST’S MATCHLESS COMPASSION DISPLAYED (Matthew 14:14-16; 9:36; Mark 8:1-4; Luke 9:12, 13; John 6:5-7)
“And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick” (Matthew 14:14). The life of Jesus was full of activities targeted at people’s spiritual and physical wellbeing. He stressed the urgency of the task thus: “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4). Our Lord Jesus Christ is a perfect example of what a leader should be. He forfeited His convenience and got preoccupied with the need of the people. If Christian leaders are to follow the Master’s work of snatching souls out of the hand of the devil they will lead the way while others follow. Christ’s sense of alertness was unequalled. In the same vein, believers who are compassionate must be prepared to forfeit their convenience and pleasure in their search for souls. Each moment of intimate sharing should be seen as a golden opportunity to preach the gospel of salvation to sinners. Compassion was the compelling force in the heart of Jesus Christ that made Him seek the lost (Matthew 9:36). Compassion is not sympathy. We may sympathise with people but do nothing to help them. It is not being sentimental. Many people often express sympathy and feel touched by the needs of others, yet do nothing to meet those needs. Compassion always moves one to take prompt action, to pray and witness until souls are brought in multitudes to Christ. “And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals” (Matthew 14:15). The submission of Christ’s disciples at this crucial period indicates a lack of trust in Christ’s ability to provide food for the multitudes. Although they were logically right to have expressed their apprehension, their sense of logic was miles apart from Christ’s supernal and enduring tenderness which made Him concentrate on feeding the multitudes with the word of life at the expense of His comfort. The believer’s love for God is subsumed in his total submission to the revealed will of God. It is not enthusiastic fellowship activities, charitable works, hospitality without true conversion and upright living. Love for God is not some sort of hypocritical service. It attracts no eternal reward when feigned. This love is demonstrated perfectly when the double ownership right of God over the believer (as our Creator and Redeemer) is understood. The believer’s practical responsibility is “to preach the gospel to the poor… heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18). Unfortunately, many believers appear to have lost their initial passion and zeal for evangelism with its attendant grave consequences on the lost around them. When the gospel is not preached by the redeemed of the Lord, the unexpected becomes a regular feature; people get blatantly sold out to Satan; sinners become a lot more hardened; there is overwhelming upsurge in crime; false profession of faith increases and sinners get perpetually enslaved to sin. The believer is the only hope the world has. The lamentable voice of the lost is heard each day with their attendant solitary beckon on the believer to quickly rescue them from perishing. Sadly, in many religious assemblies, evangelism has been relegated to the background; deemphasised in their fellowship programmes and substituted for praise worship. This is tantamount to disobedience to the great commission and will doubtless attract divine displeasure. The negative effects of the last days are being felt on daily basis. Half-hearted service will not endure nor stand the test of time. Therefore, there is need to be wholly committed to our ministry and endeavour to fulfil it.
SUPERNATURAL PROVISION FOR THE MULTITUDES (Matthew Mark 8:5-26; John 6:8-13)
“And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me.” The supernatural provision and feeding of the multitudes show that Christ is interested in both our spiritual and physical wellbeing. In this miraculous provision, we observe the following: one, the orderliness and obedience of the crowd. They were instructed to sit on the grass which they did without questioning. Believers who seek to maintain an intimate walk with Christ and experience His blessings must do away with pride and be ready to obey Him and His faithful ministers at all times even when they do not understand the reason behind their decisions. Two, the blessing of the loaves and fishes. In His prayer, Christ revealed His total dependence on His heavenly Father to provide His needs. Thus, He praised God for the provision they had, and prayed to Him to bless it. His attitude is an acknowledgment of the Father from whom all blessings flow. From His example, it is important that we give thanks to God at our meals and fully depend on Him for our daily provisions. God’s provisions for our daily needs must be received with thanksgiving (1 Timothy 4:4). Three, that Christ “…brake [the bread], and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude” shows that He recognised His disciples as working together with Him to achieve the Kingdom purpose. As they faithfully dispensed the physical food to the multitudes, we should also be faithful in dispensing spiritual food to the world. However, unless Christ first fills our hearts with the right message, we can never fill the people’s hearts with the life-saving and edifying message of the gospel. As faithful ambassadors of the gospel, the Lord wants us to feed multitudes of sincere seekers with the full gospel. Four, the multiplication of the meat. It is worthy of note that the meat multiplied as the disciples obeyed their Master and distributed it. According to a Bible commentator, as the widow’s oil increased in the pouring out, the bread increased in the breaking. Thus, grace grows by being acted, and, while other things perish in the using, spiritual gifts increase in the using. The Bible says, “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty” (Proverbs 11 :24). “And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full,” It is amazing that the multitudes ate to their satisfaction and there were still leftovers. Truly, our God is a great Provider. If we obey Him, He can transform our lives with the little we have as there is no limit to what He can do. It is also instructive that He asked the disciples to gather the fragments in baskets, If we are true followers of Christ, we must be prudent in the management of human and material resources in our homes, churches and workplaces.
Questions for review:
1. How did Jesus respond to the yearnings of the multitudes in our text and how should a believer, entrusted with the seed of life, dispense it?
2. How would you define Christlike compassion and how can it be demonstrated today?
3. What lessons can we draw from Christ’s feeding of the multitudes?
4. What should a believer do in time of want?
5. Why should believers be prudent in the management of the resources in their care?
6. In what ways can a believer show compassion to those in need?
7. Explain how believers can be like Chrisy