Anglican Morning Devotion for 27 January 2022 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. 2And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. 3And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. 4And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. 5When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? 6And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. 7Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. 8One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, 9There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? 10And 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. 11And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. 12When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. 13Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.” (JOHN 6:1-14; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
If the Lord Jesus Christ gave thanks to the Father for the blessings of bread and fish, how much more should we return thanks for every blessing that descends from the hand of God? “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
When we see any question from God, we should always recognize that it is rhetorical in nature only. Do you believe that God did not know what Cain had done when He asked, “What hast thou done?” The questions of the Lord are probing the depth of our consciences to open them to the realization of the matter. “Whence shall we buy bread that these may eat?” Were it not so solemnly posited, we may even consider the question to be humorous. We find ourselves in a mountain vastness facing a multitude far exceeding 5,000. We have barely the resources to purchase bread for our small band, but the Lord wonders where we may buy bread to feed such a numerous host. We have all heard the old axiom, “The best things in life are free!” and it is verily so when it comes to the Lord. Our salvation is freely paid by His blood redemption – free to us, but look at the cost to the Father!
Philip counted the cost, and it was far above their ability to pay; but Andrew, the brother of Peter who brought Peter first to Christ, timidly commented on the five barley loaves and two fishes of a lad who was present with them. “But what are they among so many?” There is a tiny spark of faith in Andrew’s comment. There is not a great quantity, but there is SOME quantity available – Andrew remembers the six jugs of water turned to wine. There was no wine left, but there were six empty jugs in which water could be transformed into wine. In the hand of Christ, all things are possible. When our resources are the most scarce is the moment when the glory of God can be most profoundly demonstrated. Here is a lad who brought provender sufficient for himself, yet was willing, also, to share with such a multitude. That is the kind of compassion that God can turn to miraculous proportions.
“Make the men sit down.” – 5,000 men, plus whatever number of women and children were in attendance. What do we learn from this positive command? When there is no hope in the arm of flesh to satisfy our needs, we must depend upon the arm of God. Our own works and efforts cannot avail, so we sit down in faith as the Lord moves to resolve our dilemma. Another point here is that all things must be done in good order. If the Lord will work, we need to remain attentive and stay out of the way.
“And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.” The Lord always returned thanks to the Father. Now, He distributes the bread and fishes to the disciples for serving. The Lord could have personally shared the bread and fishes with the people directly, but He affords His ministers the opportunity to have a role in providing the Bread of Life to His people. Every person received their fill – as much as they wanted. God does not satisfy our needs in a half-hearted gesture – He fills wholly and completely.
“Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” Men and women of faith are so richly blessed by God that they need not hoard the blessings. Their hearts become fountains of living water gushing forth into eternal life to all who will hear and receive. Twelve baskets of bread were gathered of the five loaves given by the lad after all had eaten. Truly, there will never be want of bread in the House of the Lord – even the twelve tribes of all Israel (those who have believed the promise made to Abraham of both Jew and Gentile) will be filed. How many loaves do you have, and how much can your sharing be multiplied?