Humble Hero


“You Give Them Something to Eat”

This chapter is based on Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:32-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-13.

This rare season of peaceful quietude did not last long. The disciples thought they would not be disturbed, but as soon as the crowds missed the divine Teacher, they inquired, “Where is He?” Some had noticed the direction where He and His disciples had gone. Many went by land, others in their boats, to meet them. The Passover was near, and pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem gathered to see Jesus, until five thousand men were assembled, besides women and children. HH 166.1

From the hillside, Jesus looked at the crowd, and “was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd.” Leaving His refuge, He found a convenient place where He could minister to them. HH 166.2

The people listened to words of mercy from the Son of God, words that were like soothing medicine to their hearts. The healing from His divine hand brought life to the dying and relief and health to those suffering with disease. The day seemed like heaven on earth, and they were unaware of how long it had been since they had eaten anything. HH 166.3

Finally the sun was sinking in the west, and yet the people lingered. Jesus had worked all day without food or rest, but He could not take Himself away from the people that crowded around Him. HH 166.4

The disciples finally urged Jesus to send the people away for their own sake. Many had eaten nothing since morning. In surrounding towns they could buy food. But Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.” Turning to Philip, He asked, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” He said this to test the faith of the disciple. Philip looked over the sea of heads and answered that two hundred pennyworth of bread would not be nearly enough for each of them to have a little. HH 166.5

Jesus asked how much food they could find among the people. “There is a lad here,” said Andrew, “who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?” Jesus directed them to bring these to Him and that the disciples seat the people on the grass in parties of fifty or a hundred, so that all could witness what He was about to do. When this was done, Jesus “looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all. So they all ate and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish.” He who taught the people the way to find peace and happiness was just as thoughtful about their physical necessities as He was about their spiritual need. HH 166.6

Christ never worked a miracle except to meet a genuine need, and every miracle was meant to lead the people to the tree of life. The simple food passed around by the disciples contained a whole treasure of lessons. Jesus had provided a humble meal; the fish and barley loaves were the daily food of the fisherfolk. Christ could have spread a rich meal, but food prepared just to gratify appetite would have carried no lesson for their good. Never did people enjoy luxurious feasts as much as this people enjoyed the rest and simple food that Christ provided so far from human homes and resources. HH 167.1

If people today maintained simple habits, living in harmony with nature’s laws, there would be an abundant supply for the needs of the human family. There would be fewer imaginary wants and more opportunities to work in God’s ways. But selfishness and gratifying of unnatural taste have brought sin and misery into the world. HH 167.2

To that great assembly, weary and hungry, the simple food was an assurance not only of Jesus’ power, but of His tender care for them in the common needs of life. The Savior has not promised His followers luxuries. Their food may be plain, even scarce; their lives may be shut in by poverty. But His word is pledged that their need will be supplied, and He has promised what is far better than worldly good—the comfort of His own presence. HH 167.3

In the production of earth’s harvests, God is working a miracle every day. Through natural agencies, He accomplishes the same work that Jesus did in feeding the multitude. People prepare the soil and sow the seed, but life from God causes the seed to germinate. It is God who feeds millions from earth’s harvest fields every day. People credit the working of His power to natural causes or to human instrumentality. They glorify man in place of God and make His gracious gifts a curse instead of a blessing. God wants us to recognize Him in His gifts. To accomplish this, Christ performed His miracles. HH 167.4