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Ministering the Bread of Life

Ministering the Bread of Life

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY REV. R. J. CAMPBELL, M.A,

" But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart;
give ye them to eat — Matt. xiv. i6.
BY REV. R. J. CAMPBELL, M.A,

" But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart;
give ye them to eat — Matt. xiv. i6.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Feb 08, 2014
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02/08/2014

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MINISTERING THE BREAD OF LIFE BY REV. R. J. CAMPBELL, M.A," But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat — Matt. xiv. i6. The story of the miraculous feeding of the five thousand by our Lord in the wilderness is remark-able in many ways. For one thing, it happens to be the only miracle recorded in all the four gospels, a fact that is not without significance in helping us to understand the purpose with which it was originally written. The whole subject is extremely interesting, far more so than I shall be able to make clear in a single sermon. To begin with, however, let us put ourselves in possession of the recorded facts, and then make our deductions. According to all the Evangelists the scene of the miracle was a desert place; there was a multitude of five thousand men ; Matthew says there were some women and children also. The disciples of Jesus were about to send these people away, but their Master prevented them from doing so, say-ing : "They need not depart; give ye them to
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eat." They reply that all the food they possess is but five loaves and two fishes. Jesus commands the disciples to make the multitude sit down ; takes the food in His hand; looks up to heaven; blesses io6 MINISTERING THE BREAD OF LIFE 107 the supply, and distributes it to the twelve who carry it to the waiting host. But as they share it it grows, until the hunger of all is abundantly satisfied. At the end of the feast Jesus bids them gather up the fragments, and when they do so it is found that there are no less than twelve baskets full. Let me put a straight question to all the level-headed people in this congregation. Do you really believe this story in the literal sense? I have no doubt there are a few among you who think they do, but these few represent the very class which
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would most sturdily refuse to believe any such thing if it were told, say, of the Bishop of London in Soho yesterday. That very quality of mind w^hich bids you accept a venerable tradition without question is the quality of mind which would reject it without question if it belonged to your own day and generation. It is your so-called practical man who will believe any mortal thing, no matter how improbable, so long as it is in the Bible; but would never dream of believing anything out of the com-mon in every-day life unless it were supported by incontrovertible evidence. His credulity in the one case and scepticism in the other are both due to a lack of imagination. Permit me to say, then, before going any further, that if you accept this st6ry as literal four-footed fact you will land your-self in an impossible position ; and not only so, but you will miss the very point for which it was ever told at all. The men who wrote this story were Orientals. Neither they nor their immediate circle of readers were in the least deceived by their
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