10 Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.
Having seen that the disciples could do nothing about the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus took the situation into His own hands.
Then Jesus said,
Despite the problem of insufficient food for the large crowd, Jesus proceeded to address the situation Himself.
“Make the people sit down.”
The gospel of Mark places emphasis the idea that they sat down in companies. Jesus dealt with a crowd in an orderly fashion (1 Co 14:33, 40).
“People” is the Greek word for mankind, so the idea included women and children.
Now there was much grass in the place.
People did not sit on rocks or sand to have their lunch; rather, Jesus provided a comfortable place for them.
So the men [males] sat down, in number about five thousand.
Mark 6:40 indicates that people sat down in groups of 50 and 100. This was for better distribution of food.
The 5,000 here are males. There were women and children in addition to the men, making the total number double, maybe 10,000 people in total.
And Jesus took the loaves,
Both Jesus and the disciples distributed food to the people. This was a hands-on miracle by Jesus. It was not until the loaves were put in Jesus’ hands that the miracle happened.
Christ left an example of giving thanks for our food. It is important to acknowledge God’s providential care over His creatures.
He distributed them [caused them to be distributed] to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down;
Jesus did not directly distribute food but gave that assignment to His disciples. He used the method of delegation of authority. God uses human instrumentality in some miracles. It was not in the hands of the disciples to perform the miracle; they only mediated the miracle.
Jesus fed the crowd through His disciples. God sometimes uses human instruments and at other times He is the sole provider. When He does use us as His instruments, we are privileged to be “laborers together with God” (1 Co 3:9).
and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.
“Wanted” carries the idea that the crowd ate to their fill. They fueled up and were completely satisfied. God does not distribute His grace in small measure (Jn 6:35). The crowd was completely satisfied with the meal; this was no token meal.
The minimal number of loaves and fishes is all that Jesus needed to meet the needs of people. Jesus is sufficient for any need we may have.
John stated this striking miracle simply as a matter of fact. He did not present it in an ostentatious way. Jesus multiplied the food without fanfare. He kept the food coming until all were not only fed but satisfied.
Mountain experiences are sometimes necessary in the Christian experience.
God dispenses blessing according to His grace and not according to the deficiencies of our faith. There are times when we need to get alone to evaluate our personal needs and God’s provisions. All of us need to grow in our faith (He 5:11-13).