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Sermons and Outlines

Matthew 14:15-21


Intro: Of all the many miracles performed by the Lord Jesus, this is the only on recorded by all four Gospel writers. This signifies its great importance. This miracle was designed by the Lord to do more than just feed a multitude. It was designed to reveal the Lord Jesus Christ as the Messiah of the Jews and to reveal His nature as God. In fact, there were three distinct reasons this miracle was performed:

1. To illustrate Jesus Christ as the Bread of Life, Who was to be broken for the sin of humanity on the cross.

2. To show the Jews that One greater than Moses was here. The Jews revered Moses because they believed that he had given the Israelites bread in the wilderness. Jesus set the record straight in John 6:32-33. He reminded them that God gave the Hebrews the manna, but that Jesus Himself was the true Bread of God.

3. To demonstrate His power as the Lord of all creation. This miracle and the miracle of transforming water to wine in John 2 are the only miracles in which Jesus actually used His power to create. In all the other miracles, He used resources that were already present.

As we all know, this is a tremendous miracle and it is usually handled in a way that shows Jesus as the Bread of Life and the need of all humanity. At other times, we think of how the Lord can take just a little and make a lot out of it. However, today, I want to explore this miracle from the vantage point of the bread and the fish. I would like for us to see how the Lord Jesus took just five small biscuit like pieces of bread and two tiny fish and multiplied them so that they were sufficient to feed a multitude. I won't attempt to explain the mechanics of what Jesus did here. I do not think we humans can understand the miraculous power of God at work. What I want to do is to point out that Jesus took a small amount of bread and greatly expanded its potential for usefulness. I want to preach to you for a while on this thought: The Ministry Of The Master's Hand. As I do, I would remind you that we may feel insignificant this morning. We may feel like our lives and our church are small and limited in what we can accomplish for the Lord. I want to show you that anything that is placed in His hands, whether it be an individual or a church, will be used of Him in mighty and remarkable ways. As we have a little time this morning, let's explore The Ministry Of The Master's Hand. Just remember that what He does for this bread, He can and will do for you, if you will place all you have and are in His hands!


A. Ill. The Context. John tells us that the bread and the fish came from a small boy in the crowd, John 6:9. Jews were always very careful to render their thanks to God for His blessings. They always prayed over their food at mealtime. Often, their prayer went as follows:

"Blessed be thou,

O Lord our God,

the King of the world,

who hast produced this food

and this drink

from the earth and the vine. The point His, Jesus took this bread in His hands and He looked up to Heaven and the thanked God for His provision! (Ill. He set a standard that we are to follow as well! You ought to always take the time to thank God for the food He gives you! 1 Tim. 4:3-4)

B. Just as Jesus blessed the bread and fish that day, He blesses the lives of His people! Think about His blessings upon you since the day He placed His hand upon your life! My how we love life when the Lord is blessing! Things are good at home when the Lord is blessing. The church house is a glorious place when the Lord is blessing there! (Note: Just take a moment to think with me about how the Lord has blessed your life! Remember the answered prayers? Remember the mountains He has moved? Remember the needs He has met? Remember the times He came near to you and held you by grace? Remember the lonely hours when He reminded you that He still cared for you? His blessings are wonderful and He deserves to be thanked for them! Have you done that lately?) (Note: Even the lost folks among us today should be aware of the Lord's blessings. The air you breath, the food you eat, the water you drink are all His blessing on your life. Even your life itself is nothing more than something God has blessed you with! Yes, His grace and blessings extend to every member of the human family, Matt. 5:45.)

C. We all love it when the Lord is blessing, don't we? Just as a reminder, the Lord doesn't expect us to repay Him for the blessings He gives us. All He wants in return is our love, our obedience and our praise. Is He getting that from your life?


A. After He had blessed the bread, He used the same hands to break the bread! The reason? Before the bread could be shared with others, it had to be broken!

B. One of the hardest truths for humans to grasp is the great truth that those God would use greatly, He hurts deeply! A period of brokenness always precedes a time of usefulness! You can see this principle at work even in the life of the Lord Jesus Himself. Before He could provide salvation to the world, He had to be broken on the cross! We love His blessings, but we shrink from His breakings! However, while the blessings of the Lord are nice, the breakings of the Lord are necessary!

C. One of the clearest examples of this truth in the Bible is the life of the man named Job. God blessed the life of Job greatly, Job 1:1-3; then God hurt the heart of Job deeply, Job 1:8-2:10. The Lord's purpose in breaking Job is not revealed until the end of the book, when we see Job's influence expanded and God glorified, Job 42:1-17!

D. The reasons for His breaking ministry in our lives are always the same. He does it for His glory and to prepare us for greater usefulness in His kingdom work, Rom. 8:28-29. (Ill. Paul - 2 Cor. 12:7-10) It is never pleasant, but the results are always worth the pain! (Note: The lessons learned in the furnace are lessons that can be learned no where else! Ill. Daniel, Noah, 3 Hebrews, Disciples in boat, Widow in Zarephath, Elijah by the dry brook, Widow of Nain; Mary, Martha and Lazarus!) (Note: The primary lesson He wants us all to learn is the lesson of total and absolute dependence upon Him! Have you learned that lesson yet?)

E. The methods He uses for breaking a life will vary greatly. He used the analogy of metal in a furnace in Ezekiel - Eze. 22:18-22. He used the analogy of a potter in Jer. 18:1-6. In both cases, God was taking His people and He was breaking them down so that they would be more like Him! (Note: I do not want to scare anyone this morning, but I just want to remind you that the Lord knows just how to break your life! He knows exactly what to touch in your life to get your attention! He knows your heartstring! By the way, He will tug that heartstring if need be to get your undivided attention! Ill. 2 Sam. 14:28-33 - God knows where your barley field is and if need be, He will set it on fire to get you where He can use you in a greater way!) (Note: There are people here today that God wants to use, but He doesn't have your attention. I assure you that if you don't respond to His gentle calls, He will use more direct means to focus your heart on Him.) (Note: He can and will break churches just like He breaks the lives of individuals!)

F. Friends, if you are in one of those breaking periods of life right now, let me point out a great truth. Did you notice where the bread was while it was being broken? It was in the Master's hands! I would just remind you that when the Lord is breaking you, it isn't to damage you beyond repair. He does it to prepare you so that He can use you in a far greater way. The bread was never closer to the Master than when He was breaking it!


A. The five small loves and two small fishes were just enough to feed one little boy, but they were woefully insufficient to feed a vast multitude. However, when they were blessed and broken by the Master, their ability was broadened. He took what was designed for one and used it to feed as many as 25,000! That is what the Master can do with those things He blesses and breaks!

B. God only breaks us so that He might broaden our ministry! Therefore, do not try to run away when the hand of the Lord lays heavy on your life!. When He is breaking you, it is so that He can use you in a greater manner! (Ill. Think of Elijah by the dry brook. Think of Jacob as he served his uncle Laban for 20 years and as he wrestled with the Lord, Gen. 32 (Note: It left him altered for life - Gen. 32:24-33). Think of Moses on the backside of the desert. Think of Paul in prison. Think of Mary's alabaster box of ointment!) (Note: Remember Joseph. He was the apple of his father's eye, but he wound up in slavery and prison before the Lord exalted him to the throne of Egypt. He hurt him deeply so that He might use him greatly!)

C. If you have been blessed and broken for the Lord, then get ready, He has a plan for your life that is glorious beyond imagination!

Conc: That bread and those fish were greatly used of the Lord. Before He could use them, however, they had to be placed in His hands. There are people here today who need to place their lives in the hand of the Master. Some need to place their life there so that He can save your soul and begin to use you for His glory. Others are already saved, but they and not the Master are in control of their lives. Friend, I beg you to take your life today and place it in His hand. Trust Him to do what is right by your life and to prepare you for greatness.

I challenge this church body to come before the Lord today, call on His name and ask Him to move in power around this place. Let's ask Him to bless us! Let's ask Him to break us to bring us to a place of total dependence upon Him. Then let's watch Him use us for His glory!

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