Why Did Jesus ‘Give Thanks’ When He Fed the 5,000?
“Give Thanks.” It’s such a small phrase, isn’t it? What circumstance prompts this phrase most often? What comes to mind for you? Perhaps family gathered together around a table to say grace … or maybe a Thanksgiving tradition where each person takes a turn to share something they are thankful for? Whatever comes to mind, few of us think of supernatural signs and wonders. And yet, they are intricately linked.
Perhaps you are familiar with the story of Jesus feeding 5,000 families with only five loaves and two fish. But have you ever pondered what really prompted the miracle? Was it in response to thousands of people looking for a meal? Jesus’s desire to display His divinity? Honoring the little boy who was willing to share his lunch?
Actually, reading further, reference to the miracle itself is merely described within the framework of one little phrase. It is simply described as the place where Jesus, “gave thanks.”
“[The] boats came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks” (John 6:23, italics mine).
I don’t know about you, but that’s not how I would have described this miraculous event. The word “miracle” isn’t even in the text! I think it is because the event was not merely about God’s miraculous provision, as glorious as it was. Rather, it was about humbly acknowledging The Provider.
God the Father, Our Provider
What’s more wonderful is that God our Provider desires to give us something far superior to physical bread. Food can only temporarily satisfy. He even warns those who have such a narrow view,
“Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs.’” (John 6:26 NLT)
He wants to give us so much more! Jesus tells us,
“For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:40 NLT)
Jesus sacrificed His life so that we could experience an eternal joy and fulfillment beyond anything this world can offer. And He demonstrated He has the power to do it. A few chapters later, after giving thanks to God, Jesus raises a man named Lazarus from the dead (John 11:41-44).
This is why, when you and I gather around the table to give thanks for our food, we give thanks not merely for the temporary, earthly provisions, as wonderful as they are, but to give thanks to The Provider. And what is God’s greatest provision? His Son Jesus.
“And now [God] offers you the true bread from heaven. The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John 6:32-33 NLT)
Jesus says Himself,
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.” (John 6:51 NLT)
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for such a glorious gift.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 9Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 10If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! 11Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
Jesus sent his disciples out two by two. We need the companionship, fellowship, and encouragement of a partner. That friend will be a part of our greatest joys and deepest pains. We expect more from those with whom we share our hearts. Often they will be the cause of the deepest pains, but the sharing of life’s joys makes it worth it.
We all need a friend with whom we can share our heart. We should always take our burdens to the Lord first, but it is often helpful to share them with that trusted friend also. They can give you a perspective that sees your situation through different eyes. They can encourage you and share their own similar experiences. Since we are to “do unto others as we would have them do to us,” we should look for a friend to whom we can be all of the above.
For most people this companion will be their spouse. It takes a lot of work to get to this level of supporting one another in a marriage, but it is worth the effort. If you have settled for less, work through to a deeper relationship. Value your differences. Forgive and be willing to be hurt and forgive again, remembering that your spouse is enduring the same from you. The rewards of a deeper intimacy are more than worth it.
Remember: There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. Jesus told his disciples that He was going to call them friends. He wants a deeper intimacy with you. Let Him be your ultimate companion.
For the Days You Feel Overwhelmed
By Debbie McDaniel, crosswalk.com
“When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” – Psalms 61:2
For the times when you feel overwhelmed, there’s a Rock that is higher. Stable, sure, faithful, true…a place you can trust, a place you can rest.
We often long for a more simplified life, free of mess or clutter, and struggles. Yet most days we strive just to keep our heads above the demands of work, family responsibilities, and all that calls our name. It’s hard sometimes, feeling like we can never get it all done. Our minds are in a constant mode of “go” from the moment our feet hit the floor in the morning.
This is life.
And God longs to be right there in the center of it all. In the mess. In the full days. In the craziness and times when we feel overwhelmed. Because the truth is, the reality that we can ever get everything done we feel like we need to do, is not even a reality for most of us. And that’s not where true success is found anyway. It’s found in spending time with Him.
Our Rock. Our stability. Our hope. Our peace.
Maybe today is the day to rise above. Maybe we’ve been stuck down too long. Maybe we’ve been drowning or fighting the “overwhelm.” All the struggles and stuff won’t ever go away, but they don’t have to defeat us.
He is the One who brings hope in the chaos, the clutter, and demands. Because most days don’t look like a Pinterest post or page fresh out of a magazine for Simple Living. Sometimes they’re messy and full, and we can hardly keep up. The to-do list doesn’t get done, again, and we might be feeling a few steps behind. Pressures cling. We feel hurried and stressed. Battling defeat and discouragement, wondering why we can’t just get it together.
Yet still, His Truth shines through.
For though there’s a lot that may be left undone at the end of every day, if we’re living close to the One who created the day and cares more about us than we could ever imagine, that’s where true life is found.
That’s where real peace is.
Resting there today.
Hope you are too.
By: Charles Spurgeon
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13
Suggested Further Reading: Acts 22:6-16
Christians, beware lest that village in which you have found a quiet retreat from the cares of business, should rise up in judgment against you, to condemn you, because, having means and opportunity, you use the village for rest, but never seek to do any good in it. Take care, masters and mistresses, lest your servant’s souls be required of you at the last great day. “I worked for my master;” they say, “he paid me my wages, but had no respect to his greater Master, and never spoke to me, though he heard me swear, and saw me going on in my sins.” If I could I would thrust a thorn into the seat where you are now sitting, and make you spring up for a moment to the dignity of a thought of your responsibilities. Why, sirs, what has God made you for? What has he sent you here for? Did he make stars that should not shine, and suns that should give no light, and moons that should not cheer the darkness? Has he made rivers that shall not be filled with water, and mountains that shall not stay the clouds? Has he made even the forests which shall not give a habitation to the birds; or has he made the prairie which shall not feed the wild flocks? And has he made thee for nothing? Why, man, the nettle in the corner of the churchyard has its uses, and the spider on the wall serves her Maker; and you, a man in the image of God, a blood-bought man, a man who is in the path and track to heaven, a man regenerated, twice created, are you made for nothing at all but to buy and to sell, to eat and to drink, to wake and to sleep, to laugh and to weep, to live to yourself?