When the disciples come to Jesus and tell Him to send the crowds away, Jesus flips the table around on them and tells them to put food on it. Does Jesus really mean for them to feed the crowds? Absolutely, and they will. Their failure is that they come to Jesus seeking to be wise when they should come seeking a miracle. They come seeking to give an answer, instead of seeing the Answer. Do they think Jesus less concerned about the crowd’s need for food? Jesus is not only more compassionate, He is more capable. No sin of selfishness makes Him unwilling. No lack of power leaves Him unable. No lack of knowledge leaves Him in the dark.
The disciples think they have only five loaves and two fish. They have infinitely more than that, they have the Bread from heaven. John MacArthur writes, “They are like a person who stands in front of Niagara Falls and asks where he can get a drink.”
Jesus tells them to bring the bread, “to Me.” In all of this the disciples are active yet passive. They will distribute the bread, but Jesus does the miracle. Jesus means not only to be Bread for us, but to be Bread through us. Jesus means for His disciples to mediate the miracle. The task of ministry is impossible for us. We cannot regenerate. We cannot sanctify. We cannot create spiritual appetites. But as we obey, God mediates the miracle through us. We preach, God saves. Jesus is the Host and the Fare, we are waiters. The task is impossible for us, but we do not go it alone. The Great Commission is accompanied by the Great Promise; “I am with you always.”
Truly, he who writes this comment has often felt as if he had neither loaf or fish; and yet for some forty years and more he has been a full-handed waiter at the King’s great banquet. -C.H. Spurgeon