From Heaven With Love


Chapter 39—“Give Ye Them 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 was soon broken. The disciples thought they would not be disturbed, but as soon as the multitude 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 at hand, and pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem gathered to see Jesus, until there were assembled 5000 men besides women and children. HLv 244.1

From the hillside Jesus looked upon the multitude, and “was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd.” Leaving His retreat, He found a convenient place where He could minister to them. HLv 244.2

The people listened to words of mercy from the Son of God, words that were as balm to their souls. The healing of His divine hand brought life to the dying and ease and health to those suffering with disease. The day seemed like heaven on earth, and they were unconscious of how long it had been since they had eaten anything. HLv 244.3

At length the sun was sinking in the west, and yet the people lingered. Jesus had labored all day without food or rest, but He could not withdraw Himself from the multitude that pressed upon Him. HLv 244.4

The disciples finally urged that for their own sake the people should be sent away. Many had eaten nothing since morning. In surrounding towns they might buy food. But Jesus said, “Give ye them to eat.” Turning to Philip, He questioned, “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” This He said to test the faith of the disciple. Philip looked over the sea of heads, and answered that two hundred pennyworth1 of bread would not be nearly enough, so that each of them might have a little. HLv 244.5

Jesus inquired how much food could be found among the company. “There is a lad here,” said Andrew, “which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?” Jesus directed that these be brought to Him and that the disciples seat the people on the grass in parties of fifty or a hundred, that all might witness what He was about to do. When this was accomplished, Jesus “looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples to set before the people; and He divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish.” RSV. He who taught the people the way to secure peace and happiness was just as thoughtful of their temporal necessities as of their spiritual need. HLv 245.1

Christ never worked a miracle except to supply a genuine necessity, and every miracle was to lead the people to the tree of life. The simple food passed round by the disciples contained a whole treasure of lessons. Humble fare had been provided; the fishes and barley loaves were the daily food of the fisherfolk. Christ could have spread a rich repast, but food prepared merely for the gratification of appetite would have conveyed no lesson for their good. Never did people enjoy luxurious feasts as this people enjoyed the rest and simple food which Christ provided so far from human habitations. HLv 245.2

If men today were simple in their habits, living in harmony with nature's laws, there would be an abundant supply for the human family. There would be fewer imaginary wants, and more opportunities to work in God's ways. But selfishness and indulgence of unnatural taste have brought sin and misery into the world. HLv 245.3

To that great throng, weary and hungry, the simple fare was an assurance not only of Jesus’ power, but of His tender care for them in the common needs of life. The Saviour has not promised His followers luxuries. Their fare may be plain, even scanty; their lot may be shut in by poverty. But His word is pledged that their need shall be supplied, and He has promised that which is far better than worldly good—the comfort of His own presence. HLv 246.1

In the production of earth's harvests, God is working a miracle every day. Through natural agencies the same work is accomplished that was wrought in the feeding of the multitude. Men prepare the soil and sow the seed, but life from God causes the seed to germinate. It is God who every day feeds millions from earth's harvest fields. Men ascribe the working of His power to natural causes or to human instrumentality. Man is glorified in place of God, and His gracious gifts are made a curse instead of a blessing. God desires us to recognize Him in His gifts. To accomplish this, the miracles of Christ were performed. HLv 246.2