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6. Miracles and Teachings of Jesus

After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. 2And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. 3And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. 4And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.

5When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? 6And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. 7Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. 8One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, 9There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? 10And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. 12When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. 13Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. 14Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.

15When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. 16And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea, 17And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. 18And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. 19So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. 20But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid. 21Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.

22The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone; 23(Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:) 24When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. 25And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? 26Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. 27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. 28Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. 30They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? 31Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. 37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. 41The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. 42And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? 43Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. 44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. 46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. 47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. 48 I am that bread of life. 49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. 52The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 53Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. 59These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. 60Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? 61When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

66From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 67Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 68Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. 70Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? 71He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.

7. Two hundred denarii. As the denarius, according to the computation of Budaeus, is equal to four times the value of a carolus and two deniers of Tours, this sum amounts to thirty-five francs, or thereby. 119119     The value of the old French coins passed through so many changes, that all reasoning about them must be involved in uncertainty; but, so far as we have been able to ascertain, the value of a carolus of Tours, in Calvin’s time, was nearly that of a penny sterling, and the denier was the tenth part of it, or nearly a modern centime of Paris. “Four times the carolus, with two deniers,” would thus be 4 and 1/5 pence sterling, and, multiplying that by 200, we have three pounds, ten shillings. Again, taking the franc (as Cotgrave rates it) at two shillings, 35 francs are also equal to three pounds, ten shillings. This is, at least, a curious coincidence, and the reader may compare it with a computation made from the livre Parisis, (Harmony, volume 2, page 234, n. 2.) It would appear, however, that Budaeus and Calvin had estimated the denarius at little more than half its real value, which was sevenpence halfpenny sterling, taking silver at five shillings per ounce; so that two hundred denarii would be equal to six pounds, five shillings sterling. — Ed. If you divide this sum among five thousand men, each hundred of them will have less than seventeenpence sterling 120120     “Quatorze (fourteen) sols Tournois.” According to Cotgrave, the sol Tournois is the tenth part of our shilling, or one part in six better than our penny.” — Ed. If we now add about a thousand of women and children, it will be found that Philip allots to each person about the sixth part of an English penny, 121121     “Sesquituronicum;” — “un denier Tournois et maille;” — “one and a half denier of Tours.” to buy a little bread But, as usually happens in a great crowd, he probably thought that there was a greater number of people present; and as the disciples were poor and ill supplied with money, Andrew intended to alarm Christ by the greatness of the sum, meaning that they were not wealthy enough to entertain so many people.

10. Make the men sit down. That the disciples were not sooner prepared to cherish the hope which their Master held out, and did not remember to ascribe to his power all that was proper, was a degree of stupidity worthy of blame; but no small praise is due to their cheerful obedience in now complying with his injunction, though they know not what is his intention, or what advantage they will derive from what they are doing. The same readiness to obey is manifested by the people; for, while they are uncertain about the result, they all sit down as soon as a single word of command has been pronounced. And this is the trial of true faith, when God commands men to walk, as it were, in darkness. For this purpose let us learn not to be wise in ourselves, but, amidst great confusion, still to hope for a prosperous issue, when we follow the guidance of God, who never disappoints his own people.

11. After having given thanks. Christ has oftener than once instructed us by his example that, whenever we take food, we ought to begin with prayer. For those things which God has appointed for our use, being evidences of his infinite goodness and fatherly love towards us, call on us to offer praise to Him; and thanksgiving, as Paul informs us, is a kind of solemn sanctification, by means of which the use of them begins to be pure to us, (1 Timothy 4:4.) Hence it follows, that they who swallow them down without thinking of God, are guilty of sacrilege, and of profaning the gifts of God. And this instruction is the more worthy of attention, because we daily see a great part of the world feeding themselves like brute beasts. When Christ determined that the bread given to the disciples should grow among their hands, we are taught by it that God blesses our labor when we are serviceable to each other.

Let us now sum up the meaning of the whole miracle. It has this in common with the other miracles, that Christ displayed in it his Divine power in union with beneficence, It is also a confirmation to us of that statement by which he exhorts us to seek the kingdom of God, promising that all other things shall be added to us, (Matthew 6:33.) For if he took care of those who were led to him only by a sudden impulse, how would he desert us, if we seek him with a firm and steady purpose? True, indeed, he will sometimes allow his own people, as I have said, to suffer hunger; but he will never deprive them of his aid; and, in the meantime, he has very good reasons for not assisting us till matters come to an extremity.

Besides, Christ plainly showed that he not only bestows spiritual life on the world, but that his Father commanded him also to nourish the body. For abundance of all blessings is committed to his hand, that, as a channel, he may convey them to us; though I speak incorrectly by calling him a channel, for he is rather the living fountain flowing from the eternal Father. Accordingly, Paul prays that all blessings may come to us from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, in common, (1 Corinthians 1:3;) and, in another passage, he shows that

in all things we ought to give thanks to God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Ephesians 5:20.)

And not only does this office belong to his eternal Divinity, but even in his human nature, and so far as he has taken upon him our flesh, 122122     “Mesme en son humanite, et entant qu’il a pris nostre chair.” the Father has appointed him to be the dispenser, that by his hands he may feed us. Now, though we do not every day see miracles before our eyes, yet not less bountifully does God display his power in feeding us. And indeed we do not read that, when he wished to give a supper to his people, he used any new means; and, therefore, it would be an inconsiderate prayer, if any one were to ask that meat and drink might be given to him by some unusual method.

Again, Christ did not provide great delicacies for the people, but they who saw his amazing power displayed in that supper, were obliged to rest satisfied with barley-bread and fish without sauce. 123123     “De poissons sans sausse.” And though he does not now satisfy five thousand men with five loaves, still he does not cease to feed the whole world in a wonderful manner. It sounds to us, no doubt, like a paradox, that

man liveth not by bread alone, but by the word which proceedeth out of the mouth of God,
(Deuteronomy 8:3.)

For we are so strongly attached to outward means, that nothing is more difficult than to depend on the providence of God. Hence it arises that we tremble so much, as soon as we have not bread at hand. And if we consider every thing aright, we shall be compelled to discern the blessing of God in all the creatures which serve for our bodily support; 124124     “En toutes creatures qui servent a nostre nouriture.” but use and frequency lead us to undervalue the miracles of nature. And yet, in this respect, it is not so much our stupidity as our malignity that hinders us; for where is the man to be found who does not choose to wander astray in his mind, and to encompass heaven and earth a hundred times, rather than look at God who presents himself to his view?

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