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John 6:3 Commentary - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

This miracle of our Saviour's feeding five thousand persons with five barley loaves and two small fishes, is recorded by all the four Evangelists, and several particulars therein are very remarkable.

Observe, 1. What a poor and slender provision the Lord of the whole earth hath for his family, for himself, for his disciples, and the multitude; nothing more than five barley loaves and two fishes.

Teaching us, That these bodies of ours must be fed, not pampered. Our belly must not be our master, much less our God; and as the quality of the victuals was plain, so was the quantity small; only five loaves and two fishes. Well might the disciples say, What are they among so many? The eye of sense and reason sees an utter impossibility of those effects which faith can easily apprehend, and a divine power more easily produce. When men judge by sense and reason, and do not look to Christ's power, if extremities come, they are soon at their wit's end, and know not what to do.

Observe, 2. How the great Master of this miraculous feast doth marshal his guests; he commanded them to sit down. None of the people reply, "Sit down, but to what? Here's the mouths, but where's the meat? We may soon be set, but when shall we be served?" Not a word like this, but they obey and expect. Lord how easy it is to trust thy providence, and rely upon thy power, when there is corn in the barn, bread in the cupboard, money in the purse. But when our stores are empty, when our stock runs low, when we have nothing in hand, then to depend upon an invisible bounty, is a noble act of faith indeed.

Observe, 3. The actions performed by our blessed Saviour.

1. He blessed the loaves; teaching us by his example, never to use or receive the good creatures of God without prayer and praise, not to sit down to our food as a beast to his fodder. Christ broke the loaves: he could have mutiplied them whole, why then doth he rather chuse to do it in the breaking?

Perhaps to teach us, that we may rather expect his blessings in the distribution of his bounty, than in the reservation of it. Scattering is the way to increasing, and liberality the way to riches.

Again, 3. He gave to his disciples, that they might distribute to the multitude; he did not do it with his own hands, but by theirs; doubtless it was to gain reputation to his disciples, from the people: the same course doth Christ take in spiritual distributions. He that could feed the souls of his people immediately by the hand of his Spirit, chuses rather by the hands of his ministers to divide the bread of life among them.

Observe, 4. The reality and greatness of the miracle, They did all eat, and were filled; they did eat, not a crumb or a bit, but to satiety and fulness. All that were hungry did eat, and all that did eat were satisfied, and yet twelve baskets of fragments remain. More is left than was at first set on. It is hard to say which was the greatest miracle, the miraculous eating, or miraculous leaving. If we consider what they ate, we may wonder that they left any thing; if what they left, that they eat anything.

Observe lastly, These fragments, though of barley loaves and fish bones, must not be lost, but gathered up; we must exercise frugality in the enjoyment of the greatest plenty.

Lord! how tremendous will their account be, who, having large and plentiful estates, do consume them upon their lusts! how will they wish they had been born to poverty and necessity, when they appear to make up their accounts before God!

Consult other comments:

John 6:3 - The Greek Testament

John 6:3 - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

John 6:3 - Calvin's Complete Commentary

John 6:3 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

John 6:3 - Adam Clarke's Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

John 6:3 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

John 6:3 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

John 6:3 - Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

John 6:3 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

John 6:3 - Gnomon of the New Testament

John 6:3 - Godet Commentary (Luke, John, Romans and 1 Corinthians)

John 6:3 - Henry Alford's Greek Testament

John 6:3 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

John 6:3 - Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

John 6:3 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

John 6:3 - Old and New Testaments Restoration Commentary

John 6:3 - Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

John 6:3 - A Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 6:3 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

John 6:3 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

John 6:3 - Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament

John 6:3 - Combined Bible Commentary

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament