COVID-10 plus lockdowns plus vaccine mandates plus government handouts are adding up to shortages in many areas of life. Builders are short of materials, employers are short of staff, stores are short of goods, and many businesses and families are short on dollars. The supply-chain is broken in many parts of the world causing fears of even greater shortages in the months to come. How do we cope with shortage and lack?


Some are replying with panic buying and hoarding. But how should Christians respond? John 6:1-15 points us to Jesus the multiplier when all we see is a is a big negative sign.


Disappointed about the Jews’ unbelief, despite all the Old Testament being about him, Jesus withdrew to a quieter place (1). The crowd followed him, though, mainly because they wanted more sickness healed (2). Despite his disappointment about their unbelief, and despite their selfish motivation, Jesus’ sat down on a mountain to welcome the people once again (3). Knowing that it was Passover time (4), he used the occasion to point them from bread to himself. The Passover pointed to God’s provision for his people, but here they are still hungry.

Of all Christ’s miracles, this was the most public, impacted the most people, and was the most reported (all four Gospels). It’s therefore perhaps the most important and significant of all the miracles.

Given the people’s conclusion from the miracle that Jesus was THE prophet, like Moses but better than Moses, the parallels with Moses in the beginning verses are important: (1) Jesus was leading a crowd like Moses did; (2) The crowd is following Jesus because of his signs, like Israel did with Moses; (3) The crowd saw signs and wonders on this mountain, just like the Israelites did at Sinai; (4) The events took place at the Passover.

What do we usually do when we’re in need?



A Testing Question

Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do (5-6).

Jesus saw a huge crowd of people coming towards him and his first thought is, “They’re hungry, how can we feed them?” He saw their physical needs, was touched by their hunger, and wanted to provide for them (Matt. 14:14).

But instead of immediately proceeding to a miracle of provision, Jesus decided to use this physical lack to increase his disciples’ spiritual resources. He asks them about where they could buy bread to feed the hungry crowd. Although he knew the answer and had already decided how he would provide, he sets this huge hole before his disciples and tests their faith in him to fill it.

Two Failed Answers

Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little” (7).

The first wrong answer comes from Philip. He reckons they’ve got about 200 denarii (daily labor rate was 1 denarius) to buy bread but even that would only get everyone a few crumbs each. Without Christ in the equation, all Philip saw were negatives.

One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” (8-9).

Instead of outright dismissal, at least Andrew raises a question. However, it’s a question that reveals his underlying answer: it’s hopeless. Five loaves and two fish are nothing for so many people. Without Christ in the equation, all Andrew saw were negatives.


Jesus cares. Jesus cares about our bodily needs. He sees when we are hungry, thirsty, tired, stressed, sick, and so on. He doesn’t only see them, he cares about our deficits and their impact on us. He’s thinking about them and even prompting others to think about them.

Jesus tests. Jesus brings lack, need, dearth, loss into our lives to test our faith in his provision. What answer are we coming up with. Negatives? We’re negative about our situation and Jesus’s compassion and care for us. We’re negative about getting out of this hole. If all we see are negatives for ourselves and others, we’re failing the test. We’re coming up with the wrong answer. And all because we’re looking to our own resources rather than Jesus’s.


Subtraction and negatives are the wrong answers. What’s the right answer?



Although the disciples failed the test, Jesus did not give up on them, but made the crowd of 10,000+ sit down to watch him provide the right answer (10).

Jesus Multiplies Food

Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten (11-13).

Three phrases stand out in this report: ‘as much as they wanted’ (11), ‘they had eaten their fill’ (12), and ‘filled twelve baskets with [leftover] fragments’ (13). These three lines underline the massive miraculous multiplication. It wasn’t just enough but more than enough. Little x Jesus = Plenty.

Notice also, Jesus’s care not to waste the leftovers. He didn’t want anything to be lost (12). Jesus wanted every crumb to have a purpose.

Jesus Multiplies Faith

When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!” (14).

Jesus not only multiplied the food, but also the faith of the crowd. Knowing Moses’ prophecy of THE prophet who would be the Messiah, they were sure he was standing in front of them (Deut. 18:15). The multiplication of food multiplied their faith.

Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself (15).

Jesus had multiplied their faith but had not yet matured their faith. Mature faith is focused on spiritual power, not earthly power. He wanted to be a spiritual king not a political king. To do that there needed to be a cross before a crown.


Jesus is our Multiplier. We bring minus signs to the table but Jesus brings multiply signs. We are needy negatives, he is a generous supplier. How many times Jesus has replaced our minus with his multiply. Let’s take our negatives to him and watch him do heavenly math.

Jesus is our Messiah. Jesus sees our greatest need is not physical or material but spiritual and eternal. He can feed our souls and satisfy all our spiritual longings. Sometimes he brings us into need so that we see him as the only answer. He is the satisfier of our deepest needs (Ps. 132:15). Every time we give thanks and break bread, we’re reminded of his broken body and give thanks.



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Multiplying Messiah, I’ve brought a lot of negatives into my life. Be the super-supplier of my greatest needs.


1. What lacks or needs have you had in the past? What needs do you have right now?

2. How have you responded to need in the past? And in the present?

3. How has Jesus provided for your needs in the past? How does that help you today?

4. What kind of prophet did Moses teach Israel to expect (Deuteronomy 18:15-22). What similarities does Jesus share with Moses?

5. What’s a mark of mature faith compared with baby faith?

6. How will you share this encouraging message with a needy person you know?

PDF of Sermon Notes.