“Bread of Life – for Life” – John 6:1-15

April 19th, 2020

John 6:1-15

“Bread of Life – for Life”

Call to Worship: Psalm 23

Aux. text: Matthew  6:19-34


Service Orientation:  Jesus is more than enough to abundantly meet our needs.  And our greatest needs are spiritual, not material.


Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. —  Philippians 4:19


Background Information:

  • Of all the miracles related in the Gospels, this is the only one which all the four Gospel-writers alike record. This fact alone (like the four times repeated account of the crucifixion and resurrection) is enough to show that it is a miracle demanding special attention.  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 326)
  • Jesus taught them and fed them, for “he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd” (Mk 6:24). This does not so much mean that Jesus viewed them as a congregation without a pastor, as that he saw them as an army without a general (1 Kg 22:17).  He well knew that the wrong sort of “king” would not only divert them from the things that really mattered, but could lead them into a conflict with Rome from which they could not escape without a disastrous beating.  All of this background, made clear in Mark, explains Jn 6:15.  John does not bother to provide more details, most likely because they were largely irrelevant when he wrote:  Jerusalem had already fallen, and the political setting was vastly different from when Jesus ministered and Mark wrote.  (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 272)
  • Food was called into existence that did not exist before. In healing the sick, and raising the dead, something was amended or restored that had already existed.  In feeding five thousand men with five loaves, something must have been created which before had no existence.  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 326-7)
  • By readily using common places and events as examples of deeper truth, Jesus taught that the created order itself contains insights and lessons that point to him. The God who revealed himself in the OT also left his fingerprints all over his creation (see Ps 19:1-4; Jn 1:3-4, 9-10; Col 1:15-20; Heb 1:1-3).  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 121)
  • By now Jesus had worked enough miraculous healings that a great crowd of people who had seen his signs followed him. However, it seems they followed him mostly because he worked miracles and not because he was the Savior.  (Gary P. Baumler, The People’s Bible: John, 89)
  • In each of the Synoptic accounts this retirement to a deserted place and the feeding of the crowd follow immediately after the beheading of John the Baptist. It may well be that Jesus felt the need of retirement in order for him and his disciples to think through and pray over the implications of this tragedy and to chart their future course.  (George Allen Turner, The Evangelical Commentary: John, 153-4)
  • (v. 2) The fact that it was the time of the Passover was the reason for a great multitude of people gathering so quickly, for at that time of the year Jews came from all over the known world, and thousands in transit on their way to Jerusalem would account for the gathering of five thousand so quickly. (Oliver B. Greene, The Gospel According to John, Vol. 1, 328)
  • (v. 2) Mk 6:33-35 explains that, after the crowd had run around the north end of the lake in order to catch up with him, Jesus taught them at some length–and that is why he felt concern about feeding them. (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 269)
  • (v. 5) John does not say, as Mark does (Mk 6:34), that the crowd had been listening to Jesus’ teaching all day, but this explains his concern about feeding them. (F. F. Bruce, The Gospel of John, 143)
  • (v. 5) But it is worth notice that there was a certain propriety in asking Philip this question, because Philip “was of Bethsaida,” the very town near which they were all assembled (Jn 1:44). Our Lord therefore might reasonably appeal to Phillip, as one most likely and able to answer His question, whether it were possible to buy bread for such a multitude.  He would of course know the capabilities of the neighborhood.  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 332)
  • (v. 5) If anyone knew where to get food, Philip would because he was from Bethsaida, a town about nine miles away (1:44). Jesus was testing Philip to strengthen his faith.  By asking for a human solution (knowing that there was none), Jesus highlighted the powerful and miraculous act that he was about to perform.  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 122)
  • (v. 7) Other Scriptures confirm that Philip always looked at the external evidence. The first time we find him in the book of John, he wanted Nathaniel to “come and see” Jesus (1:46).  It was the same in the Upper Room where he made a very inappropriate statement: “Lord, show us the Father and that is enough for us” (Jn 14:8).  Philip required visual evidence.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: John, 187)
  • (v. 7) Since a substantial proportion of a worker’s wage went into daily food, this was, presumably, enough to provide for a family for eight months or a little longer. But the crowd was so large (v. 10) that even such a large sum of money would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!  (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 269)
  • (v. 7) Nowhere in Scripture are numbers used haphazardly. Two hundred (NIV-eight months’ wages) is a multiple of twenty, and in Scripture twenty signifies a vain expectancy, a coming short of God’s appointed time or deliverance.  For example, in Gn 31:41 we learn how that Jacob waited twenty years to gain possession of his wives and property; but it was not until the twenty-first that God’s appointed deliverance came.  From Jdg 4:3 we learn how that Israel waited twenty years for emancipation from Jabin’s oppression; but it was not until the twenty-first that God’s appointed deliverance came.  So in 1 Sm 7:2 we learn how that the ark abode in Kirjath-Jearim for twenty years, but it was in the twenty-first that God delivered it.  As, then, twenty speaks of insufficiency, a coming short of God’s appointed deliverance, so two hundred conveys the same idea in an intensified form.  Two hundred is always found in Scripture in an evil connection.  Let the reader consult (be sure to look them up) Josh 7:21; Jdg 17:4; 1 Sm 30:10; 2 Sm 14:26; Rv 9:16.  So the number here in Jn 6:7 suitably expressed Philip’s unbelief.  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 291)
  • (v. 8) Once again, Andrew is busy bringing somebody to Jesus (see Jn 1:40-42; 12:20-22). We do not know how Andrew met this lad, but we are glad he did!  Though Andrew does not have a prominent place in the Gospels, he was apparently a “people person” who helped solve problems.  (Warren W. Wiersby, Be Alive, 94)
  • (v. 9) The word for “boy” is a double diminutive, probably meaning “little boy.” (Leon Morris, The New Int’l Commentary on the NT: John, 304)
  • (v. 9) Barley was regarded, according to the Talmud, as a course food, only fit for horses and asses. (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 333)
  • (v. 9) Barley bread was the cheapest of all bread and was held in contempt. (William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: John, 202)
  • (v. 9) Barley bread was the bread of the very poor. (William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: John, 202)
  • (v. 9) Josephus even speaks of a certain barley-cake as being “too vile for man’s consumption.” (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: John, 221-2)
  • (v. 9) The small fishes, as the Greek word indicates, were dried or pickled fish. (R.V. G. Tasker, Tyndale NT Commentaries: John, 98)
  • (v. 9) The two fishes were something of a tidbit that would make the coarse barley bread more palatable. (Leon Morris, The New Int’l Commentary on the NT: John, 304)
  • (v. 9) The bread spoken of was more nearly comparable to pancakes for size and shape; and the fish were not the main part of the meal, but were probably pickled fish used as relish, much as sardines are used now for hors d’ oeuvres. This small amount of food would scarcely make a satisfying lunch for one child to say nothing of five thousand men, besides women and children.  (Merrill C. Tenney, John:  The Gospel of Belief, 112)
  • (v. 9) It is true that God is not limited to means, but frequently He employs them. When healing the bitter waters of Marah God used a tree (Ex 15:23-25).  In healing Hezekiah of his boil He employed a lump of figs (2 Kgs 20:4-7).  Timothy was exhorted to use a “little wine for his stomach’s sake and his often infirmities” (1 Tm 5:23).  In view of such scriptures let us, then, beware of going to the fanatical lengths of some who scorn all use of drugs and herbs when sick.  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 297)
  • (v. 10) Cold weather has passed, the hot, burning heat of summer has not yet begun. The fields are green, and the poppies are blooming by tens of thousands.  Against such a background, what a beautiful sight it must have been to see five thousand men and their families seated in orderly groups!  (Oliver B. Greene, The Gospel According to John, Vol. 1, 332)
  • (v. 10) The time of the year when these things happened would be the very time when there was most “grass.” It was in the spring-time, just before the Passover, when the winter was gone, and the parching heat of summer had not begun.  Thomson, the American traveler, reports that at this very day there is an open space of green grass at the foot of a hill, at the very place where in all probability this miracle took place.  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 334)
  • (v. 10) Sitting people do not shove or crush! (George Arthur Buttrick, The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol 8, 556)
  • (v. 10) When the crowd assembled and sat in groups of 50 (Mk 6:40; Lk 9:14), a Roman Centurion watching was amazed. The man with him wondered what was so amazing, and he replied that only a disciplined army would obey orders and be seated in such an orderly fashion.  A leader who could control a crowd of 15,000 peasants to act like a Roman army was someone to be feared.  (Brock & Bodie Thoene A.D. Chronicles book paraphrase by Jean Porter)
  • (v. 10) If there were as many women as men and again (merely) as many children, Jesus faced feeding upwards of 15,000 people. (Gary P. Baumler, The People’s Bible: John, 90-1)
  • (v. 10) The action of Jesus reveals both natural wisdom and supernatural power. His order to have the people sit down was necessary to stabilize the crowd so that there would not be a rush for the food.  It also served to organize them in groups to facilitate serving.  John mentions only the men, who numbered about five thousand; Matthew remarks that there were women and children also (Mt 14:21).  (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, 72)
  • (v. 11) The Greek word here (NIV – “thank”) used is precisely the same that is used in the account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper given by St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. Paul. St. Matthew and St. Mark say that our Lord “gave thanks” when He took “the cup.”  St. Luke and St. Paul say that He also did it when He took “the bread.”  So here we can hardly doubt that blessing and giving thanks went together.  The Greek word is the one which we have borrowed and transferred to our own language in the expression “Eucharist.”  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 334)
  • (v. 11) If Jesus used the common form of Jewish thanksgiving, he said something like this:  “Blessed art thou, O Lord, our God, King of the universe, who bringest forth bread from the earth.”  Jesus “blesses” God, i.e. he thanks God; he does not “bless” the food.  (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 270)
  • (v. 11) Can you imagine asking God’s blessing on the food when there was no food? (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: John, 190)
  • (v. 11) He “broke” the bread, says Mark (6:41), in a single act. But the Greek verb for “distributed” is one of continuous action.  Somehow, as the bread comes, from the hands of Jesus, there is that miracle, which reminds us of Elisha’s oil which didn’t cease until all the vessels were filled (2 Kgs 4:6).  The food flows until the people are filled.  (C.S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on John, 101)
  • (v. 12) Though Christ could command supplies whenever he pleased, yet he would have the fragments gathered up. (Matthew Henry’s Commentary: Vol. V, 940)
  • (v. 12) It is a sin to waste the good things God affords for us, whether it be money, time, health, or opportunity. (Oliver B. Greene, The Gospel According to John, Vol. 1, 334)
  • (v. 12) The Creator does not squander His creation. (Roger L. Fredrikson, The Communicator’s Commentary: John, 125)
  • (v. 13) When all were fed, when the job was done, they gathered up twelve baskets full; one basket for each Apostle. As you know, the word translated basket is the little satchel in which the travelling Jew carried enough food for one day’s journey, not more.   No waste, but no stinginess.  God does not starve His staff; He always leaves them, if they follow His plan for them and give without reserve to His children, with enough food in hand for the day.  Give without reserve, and you will gather up enough to fill your own lunch basket. (Evelyn Underhill as quoted by George Arthur Buttrick, The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol 8, 559)
  • (v. 13) The leftovers, the peah, was the portion left to the obedient slave that was traditionally collected after the banquet was over. (Michael Card, The Parable of Joy, 74)
  • (v. 13) In proper rabbinic form, Jesus instructs His disciples to gather up the leftovers, or peah. The fragments of bread that remained after the banquet were supposed to be saved and given to the servants.  (No one gathered up the remains of the fish, and it is not hard to imagine why!)  In those lean times wasting food was seen as ingratitude in the face of God’s provision, as a sin.  “Gather the peah,” Jesus told them and another subtler miracle happened.  (Michael Card, The Parable of Joy, 76)
  • (v. 13) Yet one notices that there was no basket for Christ. The great Giver kept back nothing for himself at all. (George Arthur Buttrick, The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol 8, 559)
  • (v. 14) As their forefathers had been fed miraculously in the wilderness in the days of the first Moses, so the one who had now fed them miraculously in another wilderness must be the second Moses, the great prophet of the end time whose advent so many in Israel were expecting. (F. F. Bruce, The Gospel of John, 145-6)
  • (v. 14) St. Matthew and St. Mark both mention another reason why our Lord withdrew to the mountain, besides His desire to avoid the intention of the multitude. They tell us that He “sent the multitude away and departed to pray” (Mt 14:23; Mk 6:46).  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 341)
  • (v. 14) Since Moses had provided food and water in the desert (Ex 16:11-36; 17:1-6; Nm 11:1-33; 20:2-11), the people expected that the Prophet like Moses would do likewise. (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9, 72)
  • (v. 14) The reference is to the messianic prophecy given by Moses in Dt 18:15-19 (cf. Acts 3:20-22). No doubt Jesus’ miraculous provision of food reminded the crowd of Moses and the manna God provided for Israel in the wilderness.  The feeding of the huge crowd was a true creative miracle–not, as some skeptics argue, a story of how Jesus manipulated the crowd into sharing their lunches with each other.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 225)
  • (v. 14) The people saw and filled their stomachs as a result of this sign–who could have missed it?–and this led them to believe that Jesus was the Prophet whom Moses had predicted (Dt 18:15-18). (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 125)
  • (v. 14) What would a man scratch for if food and health were provided? Oh what a great King He’d make!  The words, “that was to come into the world,” show they consider Him to be the Messiah, as does the idea of making Him a King.  (C.S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on John, 102)
  • (v. 15) During Jesus’ ministry, nationalistic fervor was high; the people wanted a king, a leader who would free Israel from Rome. The people expected this of the coming Messiah-King.  When Jesus realized their intentions, he left.  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 126)
  • (v. 15) In other words, “You are following me because of the things I have given you, because you believe I am a material Savior.” Christ’s words have contemporary impact, as they have for 2,000 years.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: John, 178)
  • (v. 15) The intention or wish was probably to place Him at their head, and proclaim Him their king, with or without His consent, and then to hurry Him away to Jerusalem, so as to arrive there at the Passover Feast, and announce Him as a Deliverer to the crowd assembled at that time.–The idea evidently in their mind was, that one who could work such a mighty miracle must be a mighty temporal redeemer, raised up, like the Judges of old, to break the bonds of the Romish government, and restore the old independence and kingdom to Israel. (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 340)
  • The Holy Spirit has–if we may reverently employ such language–described this miracle in the most matter-of-fact terms. No effort is made to emphasize the marvel of it.  There is an entire absence of such language as an uninspired pen would naturally have employed to heighten the effect on the reader.  And yet, notwithstanding the simplicity and exceeding brevity of the narrative, it is at once evident that this incident of the feeding of the hungry multitude was a signal example of Christ’s almighty power.  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 285)
  • Only one other miracle in any wise resembles it–His first, when he made wine out of the water. These two miracles belong to a class by themselves, and it is surely significant, yea most suggestive, that the one reminds us of His precious blood, while the other points to His holy body, broken for us.  And here is, we believe, the chief reason why this miracle is mentioned by all of the four Evangelists: it shadowed forth the gift of Christ Himself.  His other miracles exhibited His power and illustrated His work, but this one in a peculiar way sets forth the person of Christ, the Bread of Life.  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 285-6)
  • The “compassion” of Christ, though noted frequently by the other Evangelists, is never referred to by John, who dwells upon the dignity and glory of His Divine person. Compassion is more than pity.  Compassion signifies to suffer with, along side of, another.  Thus the mention of Christ’s compassion by Matthew tells us how near the Messiah had come to His people; while the reference to it in Mark shows how intimately the Servant of Jehovah entered into the sufferings of those to whom He ministered.  The absence of this word in John, indicates His elevation above men.  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 288-9)


The question to be answered is . . . What does John hope to communicate in retelling the feeding of the 5 thousand?


Answer: In and of ourselves we are not capable of meeting our most urgent needs.  God is.  Jesus is the Bread of Life Who goes beyond our expectations in meeting our greatest needs.


The matter of eating assumed a far greater importance in an ancient culture than it does for most of us who are living today.  When we want something we merely go to the store for it, and it is rare when we cannot buy all we want.  In ancient times it was different.  Harvests were uncertain.  There was not always enough to eat.  As a result, to have enough food was considered a great blessing, and food itself became a symbol of prosperity.  This is seen all through the OT.  (James Montgomery Boice, John, The Coming of the Light, 441)


For the significance of the story we must bear in mind that the figure of eating and drinking is widely used in the OT.  It is a figure of prosperity (“nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad”; Eccl 8:15; cf. Also Eccl 3:13; 5:18), and it is often used of the blessings the people of God would enjoy in the promised land (Dt 8:9; 11:15; Neh 9:36, etc.).  (Leon Morris, The New Int’l Commentary on the NT: John, 301)


Eating is sometimes associated with the vision of God (perhaps because it was so characteristic of the sacrificial system), as when Moses and his companions “saw God, and they ate and drank” (Ex 24:11; cf. also Dt 12:7; 15:20; 27:7; Ezra 6:21; Neh 8:10; Ez 44:3).  (Leon Morris, The New Int’l Commentary on the NT: John, 301)


On the other hand, disobedience to God will lead to the absence of satisfaction in eating (Lv 26:23-26).  (Leon Morris, The New Int’l Commentary on the NT: John, 301)


The wise disciple always keeps the door open for God to work.  When the first or second look at a problem yields no solution, do you trust God to work or assume it’s hopeless?  Phillip fell short because he allowed his thinking to be limited by his own limited resources instead of seeking God’s limitless resources.  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 123)


The Word for the Day is . . . Abundant


What is John trying to tell us?:

  1. Human provision is insufficient to meet essential human need. (Jn 6:7-9; see also: Ex 3:11; Nm 11:13; Jdg 6:15; 1 Sm 17; 18:18; 2 Sm 7:18; 1 Chr 17:16; 29:14; 1 Cor 1:21; 15:9; 2 Cor 12; 1 Tm 1:16)


There were no towns and therefore no shops in which to buy food.  Above all, there was no water, and without water a man cannot survive.  This is the picture that John is setting before us in the opening verses of this chapter and that he is reinforcing specifically by reference to the desert wandering later.  It is a picture of the failure of human resources–not only in a physical sense but also in the attempts of a person to please God.  (James Montgomery Boice, John, The Coming of the Light, 441)


(Mt 14:16) He said, “You give them something to eat” (Mt 14:16; Mk 6:37; Lk 9:13).  The emphasis does not come across as forcefully in the English translation as it does in Greek.  In Greek there is the added and usually unnecessary pronoun you.  The emphasis seems to have been, “You, you do it; why do you come to me?”  Since Jesus knew the nature of the problem and was already aware of what he was going to do, the only reason he said what he did was to impress on the disciples that they could do nothing by themselves.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1, 266-7)


There must be a death to self before there can be an abundance of spiritual blessing.  (James Montgomery Boice, John, The Coming of the Light, 454)


God allows you to go through a hard times so that God might bring you to the end of yourself.    (Steve Brown; The Gift of Powerlessness” 2 Chronicles)


I discovered an astonishing truth: God is attracted to weakness.  He can’t resist those who humbly and honestly admit how desperately they need him. ( Jim Cymbala; Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, 19)


Christ’s preparation for making our poor resources adequate for anything is to drive home into our hearts the consciousness of their insufficiency.  We need, first of all, to be brought to this, “All that I have is this wretched little stock; and what is that measured against the work that I have to do, and the claims upon me?”  Only when we are brought to that can His great power pour itself into us and fill us with rejoicing and overcoming strength.  The old mystics used to say, and they said truly:  “You must be emptied of yourself before you can be filled by God.”  And the first thing for any man to learn, in preparation for receiving a mightier power than his own into his opening heart, is to know that all his own strength is utter and absolute weakness.  (Alexander MacLaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture: John, 256)


Before we can learn the sufficiency of God’s grace, we must learn the insufficiency of ourselves. — Tim Keller


I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.  My own wisdom, and that of all about me seemed insufficient for the day.  — Abraham Lincoln.


So long as humanity is sufficient within herself, there is little hope.


The idea of man’s self-sufficiency, man’s exaggerated consciousness of himself, was based upon a generalization; from the fact that technology could solve some problems it was deduced that technology could solve all problems.  This proved to be a fallacy.  Social reforms, it was thought, would cure all ills and eliminate all evils from our world.  Yet we have finally discovered what prophets and saints have always known:  bread and power alone will not save humanity.  There is a passion and drive for cruel deeds which only the awe and fear of God can soothe; there is a suffocating selfishness in man which only holiness can ventilate.  (Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man, 169)


Until you see your powerlessness you can’t be a channel for God’s power.  (Tim Keller; Channels of His Power)


Popularity and the good opinion of excited crowds are both worthless and temporary things.  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 340)


In the desert, Moses asked God a similar question:  “Where can I get meat for all these people?” (Nm 11:13).  There are several other parallels between John 6 and Numbers 11: the grumbling of the people (Nm 11:1; Jn 6:41, 43); the description of the manna (Nm 11:7-9; Jn 6:31); the reference to the eating of meat (Jesus’ flesh) (Nm 11:13; Jn 6:51); and the striking disproportion between the existing need and the available resources ( Nm 11:22; Jn 6:7-9).  (Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Ill. Bible Backgrounds Commentary, Vol. 2, 64)


This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.  Certainly he often does that with most of us.  Looking back at life, it falls into a pattern.  What at that time seemed dark and inexplicable, perhaps even hard and cruel, tends to gain meaning and significance.  It becomes clear that one who knows us very thoroughly, far better than we know ourselves, is taking trouble to train us, to correct our faults, to grant us chances to rise above our natural weaknesses. (George Arthur Buttrick, The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol 8, 553)


  1. Our lack is more than sufficient with Jesus. (Jn 6:11-15; see also: 2 Kgs 4:6, 42-44; 2 Chr 31:10; Ps 81:10; 132:15; Isa 25:6-9; 55:1-2; Jer 31:14; Mt 4:1-11; 14:13-36; Mk 6:35-44; 8:11-21; Lk 9:10-17; Jn 6:35; Phil 4:19; 1 Tm 6:7-19)  



Do you have nothing to give?  Then give that.  Your nothing plus God is everything.  We need to believe that God is big enough, that he wants to help us.  Then we must give our problem to him.  May we set aside our pride and give it all to him.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: John, 191)


If the only thing you have to offer is a broken heart, you offer a broken heart.  So in a time of grief, the recognition that this is material for sacrifice has been a very great strength for me.  Realizing that nothing I have, nothing I am will be refused on the part of Christ, I simply give it to him as the little boy gave Jesus his five loaves and two fishes–with the same feeling of the disciples when they said, “What is the good of that for such a crowd?”

Naturally in almost anything I offer to Christ, my reaction would be, “What is the good of that?”  The point is, the use he makes of it is none of my business; it is his business, it is his blessing.  So this grief, this loss, this suffering, this pain–whatever it is, which at the moment is God’s means of testing my faith and bringing me to the recognition of who he is–that is the thing I can offer.  (Elisabeth Elliot, Worldwide Challenge, Jan. 1978, 39-40)


Have we found the habit of instinctively turning to Him?  What is your feebleness in comparison with His power!  What is your emptiness in comparison with His ocean fullness?  Nothing!  Then look daily to Him in simple faith, resting on His sure promise, “My God shall supply all your need” (Phil 4:19).  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 290)


There is a direct correlation between God’s work, in and through His people, and the acknowledged helplessness of His people.  To wit:  The greater the acknowledged helplessness,  the greater God’s power.

The ancillary to this proposition; “When the helplessness of God’s people is met with the help of God, God’s people properly do not get the credit.”  (Steve Brown; “The Gift of Powerlessness” 2 Chronicles)


We often feel that our contribution to Jesus is meager, but he can use and multiply whatever we give him, whether it is talent, time, or treasure.  When we give to Jesus, our resources are multiplied.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Matthew, 291)


The boy gave what little he had, and it made all the difference.  If we offer nothing to God, he will have nothing to use.  But he can take what little we have and turn it into something great.  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 124)


Do not make the mistake of thinking that what you have is insignificant and therefore useless.  You may compare your gift with all the great talents of this world–at least, those you think to be great–and imagine that your gift is worthless.  But if you do that you are forgetting to figure on God and God’s desires.  What is it after all that makes a gift great in God’s service?  It is not the magnitude of the gift.  It is into whose hands it is given.  If you will take what you have, no matter how small or how great it may be, and place it in the hands of the Master, you will find that it is more than sufficient for whatever task he sets before you.  (James Montgomery Boice, John, The Coming of the Light, 448)


Be thankful for your failures.  God does his greatest miracles at the margins of our self-sufficiency.


How thankful we should be that God’s blessings are dispensed according to the riches of His grace, and not according to the poverty of our faith.  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 293)


Here, too, the Holy One has left us a perfect example.  “Gather up the fragments” is a word that comes to us all.  The “fragments” we need to watch most are the fragments of our time.  How often these are wasted!  “Let nothing be lost”! your sluggish energies, your cold affections, your neglected duties.  Gather them up and use them for His glory.  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 301)


The practical lesson is clear:  Whenever there is a need, give all that you have to Jesus, and let Him do the rest.  Begin with what you have, but be sure you give it all to Him.  (Warren W. Wiersby, Be Alive, 94)


True faith sets us to work.  It is not to be perverted into idle and false depending upon Him to work for us, when by the use of our own ten fingers and our own brains, guided and strengthened by His working in us, we can do the work that is set before us.  (Alexander MacLaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture: John, 265)


It is significant that twice John mentioned the fact that Jesus gave thanks (Jn 6:11, 23).  Matthew, Mark, and Luke all state that Jesus looked up to heaven when He gave thanks.  By that act, He reminded the hungry people that God is the source of all good and needful gifts.  (Warren W. Wiersby, Be Alive, 95)


This meal on the hillside was a sign foreshadowing that later eating and drinking which was to become a memorial of His sacrificial death.  That “last supper” was to be a covenant that the offering of His flesh and blood, which seemed so shamefully insignificant to those non-believing bystanders, was God’s saving provision for the world’s salvation.  Again what seemed so little became so vastly much.  (Roger L. Fredrikson, The Communicator’s Commentary: John, 126)


Matthew, Mark, and Luke record that the Lord distributed the food to the crowd through the disciples.  Jesus, of course, did not need to use them; He could just as easily have distributed the food to the crowd by supernatural means.  God, however, often works through weak, fallible humans.  He used Moses, who was “very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth” (Nm 12:3), to deliver His people from bondage in Egypt; He used Gideon, the youngest child in the least important family in Manasseh (Jdg 6:15), to deliver Israel from the Midianites; and He used David, an unknown shepherd boy, to kill the mighty warrior Goliath and deliver Israel from the Philistines.  “God,” Paul reminded the proud, arrogant Corinthians, “has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong” (1 Cor 1:27).  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 224)


Worship Point: Worship the God who abundantly provides. (Ps 136; Jer 33:6; Jn 1:16; 2:6-7; 3:16; 4:14; 6:13, 35; 10:10; Rom 5:17-20; Eph 1:7-8, 19; 3:19-20)


So Jesus says, “I came in order that they (i.e., people; here the sheep) may have life (see on 3:16) and may have abundance (of grace, 1:16; cf. Rom 5:17, 20; Eph 1:7, 8; of joy, II Cor 8:2; or peace, Jer 33:6).  See also 2:6, 7; 4:14; 6:13, 35.  These passages show that Jesus always provides an overflowing measure, a surplus. ( William Hendriksen; New Testament Commentary: John, 110)

Did you know that astronomers estimate the existence of hundreds of billions of galaxies?  That is more than ten galaxies per person alive today!  You won’t run out of things to do or discover during your earthly tenure.  And you certainly won’t run out of things to do or discover on the other side of the space-time continuum either.  Heaven will be anything but boring.  It’s taken thousands of years for billions of humans to explore one tiny planet in one tiny galaxy.  And we’ve barely scratched the surface.  Exploring the wonders of the new heavens and new earth will keep us curious forever.  And our love for God will grow infinitely larger.  (Mark Batterson, Primal, A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity, 101)


The flowers had but one day of life; and then they were set alight to help a woman to heat an oven when she was baking in a hurry; and yet God clothes them with a beauty which is beyond man’s power to imitate.  If God gives such beauty to a short-lived flower, how much more will he care for man?  Surely the generosity which is so lavish to the flower of a day will not be forgetful of man, the crown of creation.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew, 257-8)


We ought to conform to God’s will in poverty and all the inconveniences poverty brings in its train.  It is not too hard to do so if we fully realize that God watches over us as a father over his children and puts us in that condition because it is of most value to us.  Poverty then takes on a different aspect in our eyes, for by looking on the privations it imposes as salutary remedies we even cease to think of ourselves as poor.

If a rich man has a son in bad health and prescribes a strict diet for him, does the son think he has to eat small amounts of plain or tasteless food because his father cannot afford better?  Does he begin to worry about how he will exist in the future?  Will other people think that because of his diet he has become poor?  Everybody knows how well off his father is and that he shares in his father’s wealth and he will again have what is now forbidden him as soon as his health is restored.

Are we not the children of the God of riches, the co-heirs of Christ?  Being so, is there anything we can lack?  Let it be said boldly:  whoever responds to his divine adoption with the feelings of love and trust that the position of being children of God demands has a right, here and now, to all that God Himself possesses.  Everything then is ours.  But it is not expedient we should enjoy everything.  It is often necessary we should be deprived of many things.  Let us be careful not to conclude from the privations imposed on us only as remedies that we may ever be in want of anything that is to our advantage.  Let us firmly believe that if anything is necessary or really useful for us, our all-powerful Father will give it to us without fail.  To those gathered round to hear him our Savior said:  If you evil as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father. . .? (Father Jean Baptiste; Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, 58-9)


Of all known forms of life, only about ten percent are still living today.  All other forms–fantastic plants, ordinary plants, living animals with unimaginably various wings, tails, teeth, brains–are utterly and forever gone.  That is a great many forms that have been created.  Multiplying ten times the number of living forms today yields a profusion that is quite beyond what I consider thinkable.  Why so many forms?  Why not just that one hydrogen atom?  The creator goes off on one wild, specific tangent after another, or millions simultaneously, with an exuberance that would seem to be unwarranted, and with an abandoned energy sprung from an unfathomable font.  What is going on here?  The point of the dragonfly’s terrible lip, the giant water bug, birdsong, or the beautiful dazzle and flash of sunlighted minnows, is not that it all fits together like clockwork–for it doesn’t, particularly, not even inside the goldfish bowl–but that it all flows so freely wild, like the creek, that it all surges in such a free, fringed tangle.  Freedom is the world’s water and weather, the world’s nourishment freely given, its soil and sap:  and the creator loves pizzazz.  (Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, 137)


Bertrand Russell once said, “It is preoccupation with possession more than anything else that prevents man from living freely and nobly.”  If the object of your life is a great getting–of prestige, wealth, power–you are the victim of an ever-increasing appetite which can never be satisfied.  (Lloyd J. Ogilvie, The Communicator’s Commentary: Luke, 275)


It will not do, I think, to say rather glibly that God does look after his own children, and that the poor who lack adequate food and clothing are all unbelievers outside his family circle, for there are certainly Christian people in some drought-and famine-stricken areas of the world in very severe need.  It does not seem to me that there is a simple solution to this problem.  But one important point should be made, namely that the most basic cause of hunger is not an inadequate divine provision, but an inequitable human distribution.  The truth is that God has provided ample resources in earth and sea.  The earth brings forth plants yielding seed and trees bearing fruit.  The animals, birds and fish he had made are fruitful and multiply.  But men hoard or spoil or waste these resources, and do not share them out.  It seems significant that in this same Gospel of Matthew the Jesus who here says that our heavenly Father feeds and clothes his children, later says that we must ourselves feed the hungry and clothe the naked, and will be judged accordingly.  It is always important to allow Scripture to interpret Scripture.  The fact that God feeds and clothes his children does not exempt us from the responsibility of being the agents through whom he does it.  (John R.W. Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, 166-7)


I commend to your study, as a matter of great interest and vital importance, the frequency with which that argument [lesser to greater] is used in the Scriptures.  We have a perfect illustration of it in Rom 8:32, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”  It is a very common biblical argument, the argument from the greater to the lesser, and we must always be watching for it and applying it.  The Giver of the gift of life will see that the sustenance and support of that life will be provided.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 384)


We must remember that this power is working for us.  We have seen it in Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians: “The exceeding greatness of his power” (1:19).  He “that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (3:20).  In the light of such statements is not worry ridiculous?  Is it not utterly foolish?  It just means that we do not think; we do not read our Scriptures, or, if we do, we do so in a perfunctory manner, or are so controlled by prejudices that we do not take them at their face value.  We must face these things and draw out our mighty deductions.  (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, 403)


The chief reason we are so preoccupied with our possessions and with acquiring more of them is that we worry about the future and do not trust God to care for us.  (James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1, 106)


The insights of wonder must be constantly kept alive.  Since there is a need for daily wonder, there is a need for daily worship.

The sense for the “miracles which are daily with us,” the sense for the “continual marvels,” is the source of prayer.  There is no worship, no music, no love, if we take for granted the blessings or defeats of living.  No routine of the social, physical, or physiological order must dull our sense of surprise at the fact that there is a social, a physical, or a physiological order.  We are trained in maintaining our sense of wonder by uttering a prayer before the enjoyment of food.  Each time we are about to drink a glass of water, we remind ourselves of the eternal mystery of creation, “Blessed be Thou. . . by Whose word all things come into being.”  A trivial act and a reference to the supreme miracle.  Wishing to eat bread or fruit, to enjoy a pleasant fragrance or a cup of wine; on tasting fruit in season for the first time; on seeing a rainbow, or the ocean; on noticing trees when they blossom; on meeting a sage in Torah or in secular learning; on hearing good or bad tidings–we are taught to invoke His great name and our awareness of Him.  (Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man, 49)


When you have pursued God in repentant helplessness, you will have worshiped.  And every time you sense his embrace, your soul will shine the slightest bit brighter with his reflected glory, and you will be the slightest bit more ready to face what his life has in store for you.  (Timothy Keller, King’s Cross, 122)


Wouldn’t it be great if God always gave you what you would have asked for if you knew everything He knows?  We do have a God like that.  — Tim Keller


Gospel Application: Our greatest need is not protection from the coronavirus.  Our greatest need is not economic protection or provision.  Our greatest need is to be right with God.  Jesus came to give us that and so much more.  (Isa 55:6-7; Jer 33:6; Rom 5:17-20; 2 Cor 8:2; Eph 1:5-8)


The present chapter also reveals, more clearly perhaps than any other portion of Scripture, the kind of Messiah the people wanted; namely, one who would be able and willing to provide for their physical needs.  When it seemed to them that Jesus would actually fulfill this expectation, they were anxious to lead him in triumph to Jerusalem, if need be by force, in order to crown him king.  But as soon as it was made clear to them that their hero was not at all what they had imagined him to be, but a spiritual Messiah, who had come to save people from the guilt, pollution, and misery of sin, they turned their backs upon him and walked no longer with him.  (William Hendriksen, NT Commentary: John, 216)


They were much more concerned about their slavery under Roman rule than they were about the slavery of sin that bound them.  They were looking for a political deliverer, not a Messiah to save them from sin.  (Oliver B. Greene, The Gospel According to John, Vol. 1, 336)


They were thrill seekers who failed to grasp the true significance of Jesus’ miraculous signs (cf. V. 26)–which pointed unmistakably to Him as the Son of God and the Messiah.  As such, they were the Galilean counterparts of the Judean false believers described in 2:23-25.  They flocked to see His works, but ultimately refused to accept His words (cf. v. 66).  They sought the benefits of His power in their physical lives, but not in their spiritual lives.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 221)


The truth of the matter is that Jesus’ kingdom was like no other (18:36).  Jesus himself knew that the way his kingdom would triumph would not be by beating the enemy in siege warfare, but by dying and rising from the dead; “he would go to Jerusalem not to wield the spear and bring the judgment, but to receive the spear thrust and bear the judgment.”  Perhaps he recognized in the mob’s enthusiastic but unwelcome attention the same temptation that he had confronted in the wilderness (Mt 4:8-10; Lk 4:5-8).  And so he fled, abandoning the crowd and (according to Mark) sending even his own disciples away, back across the lake, perhaps in fear that they too might become contaminated by the crowd’s irrepressible but misguided enthusiasm.  (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 273)


You can never know if Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you’ve got.  And then and only then will you know that Jesus is all you need.  — Corrie Ten Boom


We are forgiven because he was forsaken, not because our contrition is adequate. If God’s forgiveness were gained by the adequacy of our repentance, then no one but his Son would know his care. But because our faith is in the finished work of that Child, we are cherished children of God despite our constant waywardness and the inevitable inadequacy of our confession.  (Bryan Chapell, Christ Centered Worship, 183)


He could have multiplied the loaves without breaking them, but in His breaking of the bread He was showing the necessity for His broken body.  (Oliver B. Greene, The Gospel According to John, Vol. 1, 333)


We are told that, after feeding the multitude, He “perceived that they would come and take him by force to make him a king.”  At once He departed, and left them.  He wanted no such honors as these.  He had come, “not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mt 20:28).  (J. C. Ryle, Expository thoughts on John, Vol. 1, 337)


Spiritual Challenge:  God helps those who cannot help themselves and know it.  We need to confess our insufficiency and submit to Jesus.  God abundantly supplies all we need.   


The first step to joy is a plea for help, an acknowledgment of moral destitution, an admission of inward paucity.  Those who taste God’s presence have declared spiritual bankruptcy and are aware of their spiritual crisis.  Their cupboards are bare.  Their pockets are empty.  Their options are gone.  They have long since stopped demanding justice; they are pleading for mercy.

They don’t brag; they beg.  (Max Lucado, The Applause of Heaven, 29-30)


If we take God and attempt to use him to justify what we want to do, all we succeed in doing is making Christianity petty.  It becomes bounded by our own limited horizons.  But if we allow God to use us, then no matter how insignificant we may seem as the world looks at things, we become important spiritually.  (James Montgomery Boice, John, The Coming of the Light, 456)


All you need is need.  All you need is thirst.  All you need is nothing.  (Tim Keller; “Gift of the Spirit”)


He who is already king has come to open His kingdom to men; but in their blindness men try to force Him to be the kind of king they want; thus they fail to get the king they want, and also lose the kingdom He offers.  (Leon Morris, The New Int’l Commentary on the NT: John, 307)


He will have none of this!  So He simply walks away from the crowd to be alone again.  He has come to call men to a radical, costly discipleship, not to a kingdom of bread.  He will be King only of those who enter by the narrow door of spiritual surrender.  (Roger L. Fredrikson, The Communicator’s Commentary: John, 126)


Kingdom obedience is kingdom abundance.  (Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, 312)


There were fierce nationalistic longings among the Jews of that period, and doubtless many of those who saw the miracle felt that here was a divinely accredited leader, who was just the one to lead them against the Romans.  So they set themselves to make him king.  Like many others since, they wanted to use him to further their own ends.  But to Jesus the prospect of an earthly kingdom was nothing other than a temptation of the devil, and he decisively rejected it (Lk 4:5-8).  (Leon Morris, The New Int’l Commentary on the NT: John, 306)


The more one eats, the more there is for him to eat.  And all the world may live upon it forever, and there will be more at the end than there was at the beginning.  (Alexander MacLaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture: John, 260)


If you can learn to focus on what you have, you will always see that the universe is abundant; you will have more.  If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never have enough.  (Oprah Winfrey  Reader’s Digest 12/97, 137)


The little boy let go and had a feast.  But, he first had to let go of his lunch in the mist of 15,000 famished people.


It is indeed blessed to note the response of the disciples to this command of their Master.  Their faith had failed, but their obedience did not.  Where both fail, there is grave reason to doubt if there is spiritual life dwelling in such a soul.  Their obedience evidenced the genuineness of their Christianity.  If faith is weak, obedience is the best way in which it may be strengthened.  (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John, 294)


What the manna in the wilderness foreshadowed is perfectly given in Jesus.  He is the Messiah who gives us the richest banquets to enjoy.  The “sign” has to do with the Kingdom.  The Jews misinterpret it, and think in terms of a prophet (v. 14) and of an earthly kingdom (v. 15).  Both times they were on too low a plane.  The miracle, rightly understood, pointed them to the Messiah, not a prophet, and to the heavenly Kingdom, not a kingdom on earth.  (Leon Morris, The New Int’l Commentary on the NT: John, 301)


To waste food which we do not need, when so many live at starvation level, is an insult to the divine giver.  When this practical lesson has been digested, there may be a further spiritual lesson.  However plentifully the Lord bestows his grace, he has always enough and to spare for others; he is never impoverished by the generosity of his giving.  So too his people, when they imitate his liberality, will prove the truth of the proverb:  “One man gives freely, yet grows all the richer” (Prv 11:24).  (F. F. Bruce, The Gospel of John, 145)


Spiritual Challenge Questions:



  1. How do our “wants” obscure what God says we really need? What kinds of things do we tend to “want” that God says we don’t necessarily need?


  1. What is there about us that prevents us from being able to have God’s perspective and allow us to see our great need for God’s provision, protection and grace?


  1. The Apostle Paul understood that God’s power is made perfect in our weaknesses instead of our strengths (2 Cor 12:1-10). Why do you suppose this is?  What is implied in this perspective?  What is there about us that resists this perspective?


  1. “What you have is sufficient. The gifts you have are the gifts you are supposed to have.  If they aren’t sufficient for the tasks you do you have not been called to complete that task. The money you have is the money you were supposed to have.  If it isn’t sufficient for what you need money for and God doesn’t provide more you weren’t supposed to have what you thought you needed.  The brains you have are adequate.  The gifts you have are adequate.  The money you have is adequate.  The time you have is adequate.  That is what God’s grace is all about”.  (Steve Brown; “Frustrating Impossibility”, Mt 14:13-21) What do you think?


So What?:  Don’t seek an inferior messiah whose focus is the flesh.   Seek the REAL Messiah Who brings life.  Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).  Jesus is Lord of the Feast.  {For further elaboration consult May 3rd’s sermon outline}


Jesus avoided the crowds because their entire perspective on His mission to planet earth was all wrong.   It did not matter what He said or what He did—they were not going to understand His message.  Their obsession with being liberated from Rome completely blinded them from the liberation they needed first . . . they needed to be liberated from their sinfulness and be reconciled to God.

God forbid that we should be so obsessed with this coronavirus that we completely misunderstand what God is doing for us in Christ.  — PK


The multitude did not follow Jesus because they believed Him to be the Messiah, nor because they believed that He was able to save them from sin.  They saw His miracles, and the majority of the people followed Him out of curiosity and for excitement, hoping to see Him perform other miracles.  They followed Jesus, yes–but they followed Him with the wrong motive.  Those who profess to love and follow Jesus simply for personal comfort or gain are not born of the Spirit.  (Oliver B. Greene, The Gospel According to John, Vol. 1, 326-7)


Jesus’ meal was far superior to even that which God gave to the people of Israel through Moses.  The manna would spoil after one day.  You could only collect what you needed for that day.  The bread Jesus offers is eternal, not temporal.


If Jesus is the great prophet promised so long ago, then he is the one to lead the people now.  This is heavily ironic; because of course John believes, and wants us to believe, that Jesus is the Messiah, that he is indeed the prophet like Moses.  But the reaction of the crowds shows that they understand both of these in what Jesus regards as a quite inadequate sense.  In much of the rest of the chapter, Jesus will attempt to move them towards a deeper and truer understanding.  (N. T. Wright, John for Everyone, Part One, 74)


The Evangelist does not suggest that the people were wrong in identifying Jesus as the coming prophet; he does suggest that they were wrong in interpreting his significance on a material and external plane.  When the true interpretation of his significance was made plain to them, most of them took offense.  (F. F. Bruce, The Gospel of John, 146)


With Him as their provider, they would never want for food, and would have the potential to be healed of every illness.  They could march to Jerusalem, overthrow the Romans, and establish the ultimate social welfare state.  Jesus, however, refused to be forcibly made king on their selfish (and unrepentant) terms.  Therefore, He sent the disciples away by boat (Mt 14:22; Mk 6:45), dispersed the crowd (Mt 14:23; Mk 6:45-46), and withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone.  (John MacArthur, The MacArthur NT Commentary: John, 225)


Is there a seemingly impossible task that you believe God wants you to do?  Don’t let your estimate of what can and can’t be done keep you from taking on the task.  God can do the miraculous; trust him to provide the resources.  (Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: John, 123)


Some scholars suggest that milk was one of the most important staples in the Hebrew diet next to bread.  Any land that boasted excess milk and honey had to maintain extensive pastures, which meant plenty of water as well!–important when you’ve spent time in the desert.  Or perhaps honey was viewed as a luxury, and thus a land with milk and honey could meet both one’s needs and desires.  Some scholars suggest “milk and honey” may be an example of Hebrew merism–the literary use of opposites to cover the spectrum of everything in between–reminding the Israelites that the Promised Land contains absolutely everything in abundance.  (Margaret Feinbert, Scouting the Divine, 143)


That’s why the detail of the Promised Land overflowing with honey was so important: God promised his people a land where everything was in top working order.  This was a land abounding in fruitful pastures and efflorescent vegetation.  This was a land functioning in its proper, God-designed rhythms.  The result was natural abundance.  The description “overflowing with honey” offers a glimpse into what God desires and promises us all–an invitation for us to taste and see that the Lord is good.  (Margaret Feinbert, Scouting the Divine, 144)


Little is always much in the hands of Christ.  —William Barclay







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