In this Pandemic, we are busy healing the physically sick and feeding physical food to hungry multitudes. At the same time, we need to heal spiritual pandemics and feed spiritual hunger—in our lives, in the lives of others, and in our civilization—by living on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Moses and Jesus both faced the problem of feeding hungry multitudes when supplies were short.
When Moses was in the desert leading multitudes, God sent manna.
Reflecting 40 years later on those difficult times, Moses told the multitudes: the LORD your God “humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that [a person] does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 8:3).
When Jesus was in a lonely place teaching multitudes who became hungry, God sent “a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish.” (John 6:9).
In one sense, the result was miraculous. When the multitudes finished eating, there was far more food than Jesus started with.
How was this miracle performed?
Some believers discern a physical miracle. Jesus broke the laws of nature to make more food.
Some believers discern a spiritual miracle. Jesus used the generosity of a boy to melt the selfish hearts of the multitude so they shared the food they were hoarding.
In another sense, however, the result was disappointing and frustrating. The multitudes missed the deeper, truer, spiritual meaning of the miracle.
The next day the multitudes went looking for Jesus. When they found him, Jesus rebuked them.
The multitudes were following him because “they ate the loaves and had [their] fill.” Instead of working for physical food that spoils, they should be seeking the spiritual food that Jesus was giving them. (John 6:26-27).
Despite the teaching of Moses, they were living on bread alone. They were not living on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
What are these words?
The words of the Law and the Prophets that Jesus came to fulfill. (Matthew 5:17).
The words of Jesus in his teachings such as the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5:1-8:3).
The words of Jesus when he hung in agony alone on the cross, and yet found the love to tell those who condemned, insulted, tortured and crucified him: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
In this Pandemic, we are busy healing the physically sick and feeding physical food to hungry multitudes.
At the same time, we need to heal spiritual pandemics and feed spiritual hunger—in our lives, in the lives of others, and in our civilization—by living on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
For additional Pandemic Wisdom, please read my blogs “Fear Not the Pestilence That Stalks in the Darkness” “Getting Out of Your ‘Tent’”, “Trusting The LORD Will Provide”, “Pandemic Wisdom: Praying and Waiting”, “Pandemic Wisdom: Hear and See, Understand and Perceive”, “Pandemic Wisdom: Visions of America”, and “Pandemic Wisdom: Multiple Choice Exams and No-Win-Scenarios”.
For additional thoughts on Jesus feeding multitudes, please read the chapter “Jesus Feeds Five Thousand People” in my book Hoping in the LORD, at pages 139-148.