Sermon #34                                                 Series: Matthew


            Title:            THEY NEED NOT DEPART!”             
            Text:             Matthew 14:13-21

            Subject:        The Miracle of The Loaves and Fish

            Readings:    Office: Lindsey Campbell Aud. Bob Poncer

            Date:            Tuesday Evening – February 28, 1995
            Tape:            R – 7




            The miracle of the loaves and fish being so bountifully multiplied that five thousand men, besides women and children, were fed by them, so well fed that they were fully satisfied, is one of our Lords most remarkable miracles. No other miracle is mentioned so often as this one. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were all inspired to record it. Evidently, the Holy Spirit intends for us to give it special attention. Read the text with me – Matthew 14:13-21.


            The Holy Spirit inspired the evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to record these stories of our Lord’s dealings with men upon the earth, so that we might read them often, study them carefully, and learn from them continually. His miracles have not yet been fathomed. His words and his ways have not yet been comprehended. Like the cloud that Elijah’s servant saw (I Kings 18:44). These gospel stories seem to get bigger and bigger every time we look at them. Like the widow’s barrel of meal, there is an inexhaustible fullness of spiritual instruction in this Holy Book. I read a lot of books. Most of them can be comprehended with one or two careful readings. But the more I read the Word of God, the more I am lost in the richness, fullness, and freshness of it.


            I have said all that because I want you to realize that when I have finished this sermon, there will be much more that needs to be said. I will have only scratched the surface of this deep, deep mine. Having scratched around the surface of this rich mine, I have found four, choice nuggets of gold that I want to show you tonight.


I.  First, Our Text Gives Us A Display Of Our Savior’s Deep, Deep Compassion For Man.


            How often we read of our Savior’s compassion toward men!



These words are not given to fill up space. They are written in the Book of God because the Lord God intends for us to understand that he who is our God is a God full of compassion!



When our Lord saw the sick, “he was moved with compassion toward them, and healed them.” When he saw these thousands of people out in a desert place, ready to faint for hunger, he was moved with compassion for them and fed them.


            This word, “compassion,” is very expressive. It means, as Spurgeon put it, “His whole being was stirred to its lowest depth, and therefore he proceeded at once to work miracles of mercy among them.”


            He knew that many in the crowd had no faith in him and no love for him. They followed him because of curiosity, because the crowds went after him, or because they wanted to see a miracle. Yet, our Master pitied them. All were fed. All were relieved. All were filled.


A.  Let No Man Ever Question The Gracious Character of God.



B.  Let All Who Profess To Be Followers of Christ Follow Him In His Example of Mercy and Compassion.



First, in this story Matthew shows us a display of great compassion in the Son of God.


II.  Secondly, We Have Before Us An Undeniable Proof of Our Savior’s Omnipotence As The Mighty God.


            It was promised by Isaiah that the Messiah would be both a man born of a woman (Isa. 7:14) and “The Mighty God” (Isa. 9:6). Here is a display of his Omnipotence as the mighty God – With five loaves and two small fish, the Lord Jesus fed “5,000 men, beside women and children.“ That means he fed at least 20,000, maybe 25,000 people with five pieces of bread and two pieces of fish!


            The task was manifestly impossible for anyone other than God himself, who alone has creative power, who alone “giveth food to all flesh” (Ps. 136:5).


            Let every believer treasure up in his heart these blessed facts. Our Savior, who is full of compassion toward us is Himself…



III.  Thirdly, This Miracle Is Intended To Give Us A Lesson About Faith – (vv. 15-18).


            The disciples wanted to “send the multitude away.” They were ready to limit the Holy One. By their actions they were saying, like Israel of old, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?” They measured the Lord Jesus by their own model. They looked upon the Son of God as Naaman did the Jordan river, with Syrian eyes! Let us learn from their mistake and be warned – When we think of God, we must put down Hagar and raise up Sarah, silence human reason and act according to God-given faith. Faith believes without evidence, and even contrary to evidence, that “things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”


            I cannot expound them to you so fully and clearly as I desire, but there are two sentences in these verses that are bursting with spiritual instruction. Hear these two words from the lips of the Son of God and ask for grace to trust him.


A.  “Jesus said unto them, They Need Not Depart!”


            What a blessed word of grace and assurance! If there was no necessity for these hungry souls to depart from Christ for food, there can never be a reason for you and me to depart from him. There is no need for the bride of Christ to wander from beneath his banner of love. Many may sit at Jesus’ feet always! “They need not depart!” That means…


1.      There is Never an Excuse for Compromising the Gospel.

2.      There is Never a Reason for Disobedience to Christ.

3.      There is Never a Cause for Neglecting Christ, His Worship, and His Service.

4.      Whatever We Need, our Savior is Ready to Give to Us or Do For Us!

·        Hebrews 4:16

·        Proverbs 3:5-6


B.  Then, in verse 18, “He said, Bring Them Hither To Me!”


            Bring all that you are and all that you have to Christ. He will remove the curse, add his blessing, and make our paltry loaves and fishes instruments of great usefulness and spiritual benefit to chosen sinners in his kingdom.


            Little is much in the Master’s hands! It has always been God’s delight and glory to use that which men consider useless.


1.      He used a baby’s cry to move the heart of Pharaoh’s daughter.

2.      He used a shepherd’s crook to work miracles in Egypt.

3.      He used a boy and a slingshot to bring down Goliath.

4.      He used a poverty-stricken widow to feed his prophet.

5.      He used a little girl to lead Naaman to Elisha.

6.      He used Balaam’s ass to teach him obedience.

7.      He used the jawbone of an ass to slay a thousand Philistines.

8.      He used a little child to teach his disciples humility.

9.      He used a boy’s lunch to feed twenty some thousand people.

10. He uses men who are in themselves useless to call out his own elect.

·        I Corinthians 1:26-29

·        II Corinthians 4:7


IV.  Fourthly, This Miracle Serves As a Beautiful and Clear Allegory of The Gospel of God’s Grace.


            We must never attempt to make allegories where the Holy Spirit does not make them. We must never try to make the Scriptures say what they obviously do not say. But just as Paul used Sarah and Hagar as an allegory to teach the distinction between law and grace (Gal. 4), so the Holy Spirit has given us these recorded miracles of Christ to teach us spiritual, gospel truths.


A.  This Hungry Multitude in A Desert Place Represents Lost Mankind In This World.


            All the sons of Adam are an assembly of perishing souls, lost, helpless, starving, and upon the verge of eternal ruin without the gospel of Christ. There is but a breath between them and everlasting ruin. Their only hope of salvation is the gospel of Christ.


·        Romans 1:15-16


B.  The Loaves And Fishes, So Readily Despised as Being Inadequate To Meet The Needs of So Many, Represent The Doctrine of The Gospel, Jesus Christ And Him Crucified, Which God Has Ordained For Saving Of His Elect.


·        I Corinthians 1:21-23

·        John 6:33 – This is “The bread of God which Cometh down from heaven, and giveth life to the world.”


NOTE:  The preaching of the cross meets all the spiritual needs of sinners in this world.


·        I Corinthians 1:30-31


C.  The Disciples’ Passing Out The Loaves And Fishes To The Crowd Shows Us The Sphere Of Human Instrumentality.


1.      I can’t make loaves and fish; but I can bring my lunch to the Master!

2.      I can’t multiply the loaves and fishes; but I can pass them out – I can’t save; but I can preach.


D.  The Satisfaction of All The Crowd And The Baskets Full Leftover, Represent The Fulness of Grace To Be Found In The Lord Jesus Christ.


1.      He freely gives all to all who trust him.

2.      All who come to him have all they want and need – Satisfied with Christ!

3.      Yet, the storehouse of grace is never diminished – In my Father’s house is “bread enough and to spare!”


Application: Bring your lunch to Christ and watch him work!