"Meanderings in Mark"
Series on Mark, Lesson 25

What Do You Have?

Read: Mark 6:35-44

Text: (Mark 6:38 KJV) He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see.

Theme: What you have is enough if it is placed in the Master's hands.


The miracle of Christ feeding the 5000 is so important that it is mentioned in all 4 gospel accounts. (Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17, John 6:1-14) It's importance is also underscored by Jesus' later reference to it in Mark 8:17-21.

There are many parts of the account which are consistent throughout all 4 accounts:

QUESTION - Let's talk about these similarities. What is the Holy Spirit trying to teach us from each of these similarities? It is obviously very important to our Christian life, since it is mentioned in all 4 gospels.

There are a few minor differences between the accounts, indicating the different perspective each eyewitness had of the event. (QUESTION - By the way, who is the eyewitness to this event in Mark's account? ANSWER - Peter.)

NOTE - The NIV Study Bible points out that "Bread was regarded by Jews as a gift of God, and it was required that scraps that fell on the ground during a meal be picked up."

QUESTION - Let's talk about these differences. Are they significant? What do we learn from each?

There are many things that we can learn from this wonderful miracle, but the thing I want us to focus on this morning is the question Jesus asked in our text (vs. 38). Jesus was asking, "WHAT DO YOU HAVE?" Jesus was saying that whatever you have, it is enough if it is placed in the Master's hands.

As we consider Jesus' question in verse 38, let's notice the following 3 key points:

I. The disciples saw a problem. (vss. 35-36)

A. There was a VAST need.

1. 5000 men (besides women and children, cf. Matthew's account)

2. Lateness of the hour

3. Remoteness of the place

B. Human instrumentality was insufficient.

1. 200 pennyworth = 8 months labor! (avg. wage was about 1 denarius per day)

C. Jesus seemed to be asking the ridiculous.

"Give YE them to eat." (vs. 37)

NOTE - The emphasis here is on the word "YE".

D. The disciples still saw through their eyes, not Jesus' eyes.

1. They forgot that "nothing is impossible with God."

(Mark 10:27 KJV) And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

ILLUS. Jonathan and his servant - (1 Sam 14:6 KJV) And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.

ILLUS. Elisha and his servant - (2 Ki 6:17 KJV) And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

II. The Savior saw an opportunity. (vs. 37)

A. Opportunity to knock the disciples down a peg!

(Contrast vs. 30, 37)

We can take credit for NOTHING in the Christian life.

SONG - "To god be the glory, great things HE hath done."

(Luke 17:10 KJV) So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

B. Opportunity to demonstrate who He is.

(The feeding of the 5000 is considered by many to be Jesus' greatest miracle.)

1. It was a miracle of creation.

(Though some that choose not to believe the Bible say that it was merely the example of the boy's sharing which prompted the rest of the people to share their lunches! WRONG! - BELIEVE THE BIBLE!)

NOTE - Jesus' orderly approach to this feeding is further proof of the authenticity of the miracle. QUOTE - "Christ was careful to have the audience seated before He performed His miracle. Had He neglected to do this, the scene might have beggared description. Had they been standing in a closely packed throng all around Him, the startling news of what He was doing might have turned that crowd into a rushing multitude of fanatics. The people would have pressed from all sides to see what was taking place; children might have been injured in the crush, and the whole scene would have become an object of criticism. Therefore, with the aid of His disciples the Lord arranged that the people be seated in groups of fifty (Matthew) or by double rows of fifty—hundreds (Mark). This exhibited orderliness in the Master’s methods; it provided an easy way by which the people could be counted, and each individual was able to see clearly what Christ was doing." (From Mark's Superb Gospel)

2. It was a miracle that OBVIOUSLY occurred in JESUS' HANDS.

Vs. 41 - "gave" - imperfect tense - lit. KEPT GIVING. (The bread literally multiplied in His hands.)

NOTE - The order is so important here. We must receive from Jesus before we can give to others. Others can only receive from Christ if they accept the gift that is given!

QUOTE - "The disciples, the Church, can only give what they first receive from Him. Their own resources are too small and inadequate. Unless the preacher obtains the food from the hand of Christ, congregations go home hungry. Furthermore, the provision of Christ and the cooperation of His followers cannot avail unless hungry people accept what is offered. Christ supplies the banquet, but He never FORCES His guests to eat." (From Mark's Superb Gospel)

3. Those who would explain away this miracle just don't believe that Jesus is God.

(Col 2:9 KJV) For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

(I.e. ANYTHING God can do, Jesus can do!)

C. Opportunity to teach the disciples where their sufficiency lies. (Vs. 43)

1. All Jews carried a basket.

2. This was THEIR provision… Jesus did not forget His own.

3. As they served others, Jesus was meeting their needs.

(Psa 37:25 KJV) I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

(Mat 6:33 KJV) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

D. Opportunity to teach the disciples to USE WHAT THEY HAVE! (Vs. 38)

III. No matter what you have, it is enough in Jesus' hands! (Vs. 38b)

(Zec 4:10a KJV) For who hath despised the day of small things?

A. Samson was nothing special, until God got hold of him.

B. The disciples were "unlearned and ignorant men," yet they "turned the world upside down."

C. Moses had a speech impediment, yet was God's spokesman.

D. Paul had physical deformities, yet reached the world.

(2 Cor 12:9 KJV) And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

E. Jonathan Edwards was nearly blind, and read his sermons in a monotone, yet was used to bring great revival to New England.

ILLUS. It is told that while he preached his famous sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," one man ran to the front and begged, "Mr. Edwards have mercy!" Many were hanging onto the posts that held up the building because they feared they were literally slipping into hell! So powerful was the preaching of this man, and so mightily did God use him even in his infirmity!


(Mark 6:38 KJV) He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see.

(Mark 6:38 KJV) He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see.

(1 Cor 1:27-29 KJV) But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.

(Mark 6:38 KJV) He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see.

(Mark 6:38 KJV) He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see.

Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright © 1997 William E. Johnson.