The text to which we direct our attention is taken from Mark’s account of the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand. This is the only miracle of Jesus’ earthly ministry recorded in all four gospels. As Bible-believers, we accept this account as an actual event which transpired exactly as it is recorded in the Scriptures. It is a story with which we are all familiar. But recently, there was a particular aspect of this story which has captured my attention. It is the little statement found in verse 41 where we are told that Jesus “brake the loaves.”
In Bible times in the Eastern culture, bread was considered a staple of life. It was considered essential for physical life, physical growth, and physical strength. As we read the Scriptures, we find that the Word of God is equated with bread. Moses reminded the children of Israel that “man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3). The word of God is essential for spiritual life (1 Peter 1:23), spiritual growth (1 Peter 2:2), and spiritual strength (1 John 2:14). From this event has been birthed the phrase “breaking bread,” which is used when speaking of sharing a meal and fellowshipping together. Mary Lathbury caught hold of the parallel between this physical event and its spiritual counterpart when she wrote:
Break thou the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
As Thou didst break the loaves Beside the sea.
How we as believers need to “break the bread” of the Word of God to nurture and sustain our spiritual life! May we like Jeremiah say, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart” (Jeremiah 15:16). What happens when we take and break this bread of life and partake of what it offers? Let’s consider the life of the Lord Jesus Christ and note the effects of when He broke the bread.
First, in the story of our text, we find There Is Refreshment – “And they did all eat, and were filled” (Mark 6:42). When the bread was broken, the need of those who were there was met. And how true it is that when we turn to the Word of God, we find that which will meet the need of our lives.
When the word of God is opened, the weak are made strong; the sorrowing find comfort; the broken find healing; the weary are made to rest; and the disillusioned see hope. The Word of God is able to meet every spiritual need of mankind.
Next, we see that when the bread is broken, There Is Remembrance – “the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: and…he brake it, and said…this do in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-24). It is easy for us to forget. Moses cautioned the children of Israel saying, “Take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget” (Deuteronomy 4:9).
When we open the Word of God and look therein, it helps us Remember our Guilt. We often forget where God found us and from where He rescued us. A look in the Word of God helps us to Remember His Grace. We are all beneficiaries of the amazing grace of God which has been showered upon us. Looking into the Word of God helps us to Remember God’s Goodness, which we experience day by day on our earthly pilgrimage. And as we look in the Word of God, we Remember the Glory that is to come. This is not the end, for we are just pilgrims and strangers passing through this world. We are citizens of another country and subjects of the King of kings and Lord of lords Who will one day establish His kingdom where we shall reign with Him.
Finally, when the bread is broken, we see There Is Revelation – “As he sat at meat with them, he took bread…and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him” (Luke 24:30-31). Upon every page of the Bible, we see the Lord Jesus Christ displayed. Amidst a world that is troubled and distressed, we can open the Word of God and look upon He who is the Prince of Peace. As the songwriter so aptly penned:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
 Mary Ann Lathbury, “Break thou the Bread of Life,” in Favorite Hymns of Praise, (Chicago: Tabernacle Publishing Company, 1969), no. 320.
 Helen Howarth Lemmel, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” in Songs & Hymns of Revival, (Santa Clara: North Valley Publications, 1999), no. 160.
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Bro. Burcham serves as the Chairman of the Bible Department at Golden State Baptist College. Prior to coming to GSBC, he served as a missionary with his family in Japan for a number of years and then pastored in Missouri. Bro. Burcham also teaches an adult Sunday school class at NVBC.