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for two thousand persons; whereas there were here five thousand.
8. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him,
9. There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes, but what are they among so many?
Five loaves, which a boy could carry, must have been very small, and totally inadequate to the purpose of feeding such a multitude.
10. And Jesus said, Make the men sit down.
This he ordered, that they might be served with more order, and that they might more easily be numbered.
Now there was much grass in the place, which made it convenient for them to sit down ; so the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
They were enabled to number them, because they sat down, as we learn from the other evangelists, in separate companies, each consisting of one hundred and fifty.
11. 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 many as they
as much as they chose.” 12. When they were filled, “ satisfied,” he said to his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
13. Therefore, or, so," 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.
Fragments which filled twelve baskets contained more bread than the original quantity, which was only five loaves: there must therefore have been a creation of bread upon this occasion; an effect which could only be produced by divine power.
14. Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet, " that teacher," that should come into the world.
It seems they conceived that their Messiah was to be both a teacher and a temporal prince at the same time; and this extraordinary miracle led them to conclude that Jesus was the person who was to unite these two characters
15. When Jesus therefore ceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain, « into the mountain," himself alone,
This was the mountain mentioned in the third verse of this chapter, and to the foot of which he had descended to feed the multitude. Matthew and Mark speak of his retiring to the mountain to pray; but that reason is not inconsistent with that mentioned by John. Having retired in order to frustrate the design of the multitude, he then spent the time in prayer.
16. And when evening was now
come, his disciples went down unto
This they did by the direction of Jesus, as appears from Matthew.
17. And entered into a ship, and went over the sea, that is, “ along the sea,” towards Capernaum, for this town lay at the end of the lake, and not on the other side ; and it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them.
18. And the sea arose, by reason of a great wind that blew.
19. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship; and they were afraid.
They did not know it to be Jesus, and imagined that it was a spirit, as the other evangelists inform us.
20. But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid.
21. Then they willingly received him into the ship, and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.
Without any further interruption from the storm, and perhaps sooner than could be expected, in consequence of being driven by the wind.
1. In the two miracles which are here recorded we see, an illustrious display of divine power. In the one we behold that unstable element which yields to every impression, and suffers no heavier body to remain on its surface, becoming solid under the feet of Jesus; and, violently agitated by the wind in one part, in another affording him a firm and safe path to walk upon; thus showing the power of God to suspend and control the usual course of nature. In the other miracle we behold five thousand men, besides women and children, who must have amounted at least to an equal number, making a full repast, apparently upon five small loaves and two fishes, so small that a child was able to carry them, but, in reality, upon additional loaves and fishes, which God had created for the occasion: for what but a new creation could produce at once food enough for ten thousand human beings, at the foot of a desert mountain? Well might the multitude who partook of this repast be astonished at the manner in which it was provided, and justly did they conclude that the person who was honoured with the ability of performing so unparalleled a miracle, must be the greatest prophet whom the world ever saw, even the true Messiah." Vain also is the presumption of those men who tell us that there never was such a thing as creation, that the universe has no intelligent author, and that from eternity there has been the same succession of causes and effects as we now observe.
For here we behold the Creator himself performing, as it were, an act of creation, in the presence and before the eyes of his offspring, and hereby furnishing an everlasting refutation to the language of atheists.
2. The direction which Christ gave respecting the fragments, affords us a useful lesson of instruction: for it teaches us that although Heaven bestow upon
men frequently more than they immediately need, yet it is not its intention that what appear superfluities should be wasted and lost, but that they should be carefully laid
up for a future time, to supply our own wants, or those of our poor brother, to whom God has been less bountiful. When therefore you have provided a plentiful meal for your friends, as Jesus did for this multitude, in the midst of profusion be careful as he was that there be no unnecessary waste: let the fragments of the feast be laid up for some of the uses just mentioned. When Heaven favours you with a plentiful harvest, and you rejoice, as you may well do, in the divine bounty, take care to use with economy what Heaven bestows so abundantly, and let not present extravagance prepare the way for a future scarcity. ·
3. The passage which I have been explaining illustrates in a striking manner the excellence of Christ's character; for he shows himself most humble when he appeared to have the greatest reason for being elated, and resists, without difficulty, temptations of the most powerful nature. When surrounded by a crowd of astonished and applauding spectators, he withdraws from their presence, to spend the time in prayer; when offered a crown by those who would have been proud to become his subjects, he rejects it with disdain. Assured of a plentiful subsistence, under the care of one who could multiply bread at pleasure, and persuaded that such a leader could conduct them to victory and conquest, not only over the Romans, but over the whole world, the Jews are eager to confer. upon him royal honours, and to place him at the head of an army. But these earthly honours have no charms in the eyes of the Saviour: what he was intent upon was to fulfil the great purposes of his mission, in the instruction of mankind, and to secure to himself a crown of eternal glory in heaven. So carefully had he attended to the design of that part of the temptation in the wilderness where he was offered all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them! And so fully has he justified the language of an apostle, that he was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin!