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LUKE - Christ, the Savior of the World
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to Luke

PART 3 - JESUS' MINISTRY IN GALILEE (Luke 4:14 - 9:50)

17. The End of Christ's Ministry in the Mountainous Region of Galilee (Luke 9:10-50)

LUKE 9:10-17
10 The apostles, when they had returned, told him what things they had done. He took them, and withdrew apart to a deserted place of a city called Bethsaida. 11 But the multitudes, perceiving it, followed him. He welcomed them, and spoke to them of the Kingdom of God, and he cured those who needed healing. 12 The day began to wear away; and the twelve came, and said to him, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding villages and farms, and lodge, and get food, for we are here in a deserted place.” 13 But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we should go and buy food for all these people.” 14 For they were about five thousand men. He said to his disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 They did so, and made them all sit down. 16 He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to the sky, he blessed them, and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. 17 They ate, and were all filled. They gathered up twelve baskets of broken pieces that were left over.

Events followed one another quickly. The disciples returned and told Christ of the miracles of power done by their words and with their hands through his name. These reports came at the same time to the ears of the king who had beheaded John, the forerunner of Christ. This king had probably begun to search thoroughly throughout his region for all those who were baptized at the hands of the Baptist.

Then Jesus took his apostles left his country and went towards the kingdom of Philip, brother of the murderous Herod Antipas. Jesus desired to deepen his disciples’ experiences, and guide them to pray and give thanks that they might humble themselves and glorify God alone, keeping in mind that they were nothing, and that their Lord is everything.

When the multitudes in the area observed that the Savior of the world was about to leave them with his disciples, they followed him. And as Christ went by boat to the other side of the lake, five thousand men followed him on foot and on boats to partake of the power of his blessings. There they found Jesus in the wilderness, and listened gladly to his message about the divine kingdom in which peace and truth prevail, and no sin, injustice, or murder enter. This kingdom of God begins today in whoever repents and comes to Jesus, the Possessor our Lord who qualified us by his blood to receive the power of his Spirit. This establishes us in the service of divine love, and in the fellowship of the divine kingdom. Have you become a member of it, or are you just neutrally listening to the words of Christ and remaining outside the kingdom of God?

When the sun went down, the multitudes became hungry, and anxious. The disciples also became disturbed about the crowd’s need of food and lodging. So they asked Jesus to end the preaching and healing, and send the five thousand people away. But the Lord looked at his apostles and was determined to give them an unforgettable lesson in so that they should not become puffed up because of their experiences in preaching, as long as they were unprofitable servants in spite of all the miracles they had done.

Christ commanded his disciples to feed that great multitude of people, but they confessed they had little to offer. Such honest confession is the right attitude for every servant of the Lord. Be aware that you and I are nothing. We have nothing, and we know but little of the knowledge given to us by the grace of the Creator. Physicians, philosophers and scientists, know nothing, understand nothing, and can do nothing except that which is granted and made available to them by their Lord’s grace. Did you know that you are nothing but a breath of your Lord’s grace?

When Christ gave them the responsibility of feeding the crowd, their minds began to think: how could they manage to satisfy such a great multitude? They had a look on their moneybox, and counted the number of camels, donkeys, and ships required to carry food to them. They realized that it was impossible for them to solve this problem for they thought in worldly terms. But Christ thought in heavenly terms. He commanded the multitude to divide themselves into one hundred groups of fifty, in an orderly way for the kingdom of God does not accept disorder, or confusion. They sat according to Jesus’ instructions, fixing their eyes on him to see what he might do while they waited hungrily.

Jesus Christ took the five loaves and two fishes in his hands, placed them before God, and thanked him for this gift. His thanksgiving and dependence on his Father, together with his trust in his great providence, and love for his lost hearers, mixed with constant praise were the mystery of this miracle and the power of performing it. The bread and fish multiplied in his hands, until the entire multitude was filled. The disciples and the multitudes together were astonished, and some of them gave thanks to their Lord. What about you? Do you thank your Lord for what is given freely to you? Do you share it with others, or do you withhold it from them? Where is your faith? Where is your thankfulness? Where is your love?

In the beginning of his ministry, Christ did not agree, in his temptation by the devil, to make bread out of the stones, for himself. But he was moved with compassion toward his hungry followers who had suffered long for the sake of spiritual nourishment, when they had listened to him for a long time. He was prepared to satisfy their hunger when they had listened to his teaching, and not vice versa, for Christ is not a king who supplies only food. However, material blessings shall be added to him who seeks first his kingdom and righteousness. The Lord provided but bread and fish only. The multitudes found water to drink, and when they had all eaten, they filled twelve baskets with left-overs of bread and fish, which were more than what was at hand in the beginning. Christ commanded them to gather the pieces that were left over, so that nothing of the grace might be wasted.

Then the apostles and the miracle crowd realized that Christ is the Creator, the Almighty, and the Controller of all elements who multiplies by his love what is available. He alone can solve the problems of the future of mankind. Such management happens not through international contributions or monetary aids, but through the spiritual Lord’s Supper. Jesus gave his body and his blood to his repentant disciples as nourishment for their road in the desert of the world. The filling of the five thousand men in Galilee was a token of the Lord’s Supper everywhere, where the Son of Man sacrifices his life, feeds those who thirst for righteousness, and give them life through his Spirit. Do you enjoy God’s spiritual nourishment, where the King gives himself to fill his chosen citizens of the world?

PRAYER: O Lord, How great you are! I am sinful, and filled with complaint, worries, doubt, and unbelief. Please open my eyes to your love and power that I may believe in your ability to give out of your fullness to all those who hunger for righteousness; thus, we receive grace for grace.

QUESTION 67: Why did Jesus produce food for five thousand people and satisfied them?


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