The first fourteen verses of the sixth chapter of John tell us of a great supper—not the final supper, the marriage supper of the Lamb, the supper where we shall all sit down together in glory; but the supper that Jesus made right here on this Earth.
It was a wonderful supper. Five thousand guests! How would you like to cook for such a crowd as that? How would you like to wash that many napkins, or serve that many plates? And how would you like to get it all up in fifteen minutes? That is quite a supper, isn’t it?
Now, while Jesus was here He did certain things to prove that it was going to be very easy for Him to perform all the wonderful things which are promised to believers. He proved He was master of every force, and this supper was one of the proofs.
Get A Fiery Faith
Oh, I love to think about a supper like this, prepared as it was by Jesus. It is wonderful to think about the time when Jesus came back from the dead and walked along the seashore; when the disciples saw Him and John said: “It is Jesus!” There He had a little fire prepared. They might have asked where He got the fire. But that was none of their business, because He made all the fire in the first place. Say, if you ever get a real, fiery faith that Jesus is divine, I tell you it will knock the whys and wherefores clear out of you, and the gloomy doubts will all vanish. The great trouble of our age is lack of faith in the divinity of Jesus Christ. We forget about it, and the devil tries to take it away from us by getting us to think so much of Him as man. Oh, wonder of wonders, He was God. He said “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” Very God of Very God—yet He came among us in human form, and He can come into this very body of ours and transform these cold hearts and wicked hearts into hearts born again from above; and, praise God, He is going to transform our body some day, too! He says He is going to do that “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” Bat your eye and see how quickly it is going to happen. He who made the great supper out of five small loaves and two fishes can quickly transform this flesh.
Because Of Miracles
In the second verse are the words: “And a great multitude followed Him, because they saw the miracles which he did on them that were diseased.”
You can talk to most anybody about the fact of God and they will not refute you. Only a fool, only a man who is altogether twisted and away below the average of human intelligence will contradict the fact of God for a moment. They will say: “Yes, I believe God can do this; God made these flowers; all these things came forth from God.” They have their own ideas as to the method, but they recognize that there is a divine force, a divine personality behind all that we see. None of the isms of our day try to contradict God. Bob Ingersoll stood up in the darkness of his heart and with his followers contradicted the God of the Bible. But the men of our day believe that a God produced existing phenomena. These people followed Jesus, too, because of the phenomena; because He worked wonders.
A New Head Offered
Men are not going to be damned because they do not believe in a God. Men are not lost because they do not believe in His wonder-working power in this world. They believe in God, but they do not know Him. They believe there is a Creator; they believe there is a mighty force, a mighty power; but when He comes down and asserts His authority through Jesus Christ and asks for the allegiance of every man; when He puts this new Adam at the head of the race—this sinless, spotless Adam, Jesus Christ Himself, very man of very man, very God of very God, and says to you: “Choose Him; this is the head of the race; if you want life and salvation come to Him; as you have natural life from the first Adam, you have this new Adam’s eternal life by faith; accept Him,” it is here that men back up. They turn Him down. “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
They believe in God, they believe in the power of God, they believe in the miraculous working of God, they believe in the waves and the tide, and they will explain all these wonders to you; but they do not believe in the power of Jesus Christ to save—in God’s plan and God’s method for saving men. This is what they put aside.
Let me show you what I mean. Here is the miraculous power that Jesus was displaying. Men would come to Him to touch the hem of His garment and were healed. Women came to Him to touch the hem of His garment and were healed. He reached out His hand and spoke a word and the man was healed. He raised from the dead the boy of the widowed mother. He spoke to Lazarus and Lazarus came forth. Even Nicodemus comes in the dark and says: “Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher from God, for no man could do the works that Thou doest except God be with him.” And that is as far as he wanted to go. Nicodemus knew very well that the first word out of his mouth should have been “Messiah.” He should have spoken as Nathaniel did: “Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God.” Nicodemus that very night should have said right out: “You are the Messiah.”
But do you see his hedging? It is the natural hedging of the human heart. Instead of dropping on his knees and worshipping God as he stood before Him, because He had a human face, because He had a human voice Nicodemus did not want to call Him Lord. It is easy for a human heart to put God away off there, but when God puts Jesus Christ before men as their Savior and Lord they will not have Him to rule over them.
Do you see that the natural heart is willing to accept the miraculous? It will always do that, but it does not want to accept the substitution of Jesus for its own life. If God had offered reformation to the world through Jesus Christ, and through the church, and through the agencies of the church; if He had built up a powerful church, as men have tried to do, they would accept it. But God has cursed men every time they have tried to do that—to put the power into a hierarchy.
Men will accept the church; men will accept the cathedrals, the great music, and all of it, but when it comes down to accepting Jesus Christ as a substitute for your life, to accept Him by faith, then men back up. We are even willing to wear crosses around our necks; we are willing to go to church on Easter mornings by the thousands; troops even bow down and uncover their heads; but when it comes to accepting Jesus’ life and putting your sin far behind, to take Jesus as the new head of the race, to give Him your obedience and allegiance, men do not want to do that.
These thousands of people who came to Jesus came because of the miracles that had been done. They were glad to come around as long as these things were being passed out, and the loaves and fishes were being broken up; and men today are glad to line up if you want to scientifically talk about the big things of God; to talk about the mountains God has made. Men write books about past ages, books on evolution, and other men read them, and there is no hatred of it at all; but when you bring men up to the fact and say, “Here, you think you are a great creature, but you have lost out and God says you are altogether corrupt, and death is written across you, and Jesus has come as a substitute to offer His life for you,” then what do you get? You get spit and scoff, rebuke and blasphemy towards God.
I have seen people go out of this Tabernacle—whirl out, and the next day I get the letter about it. “The idea of insulting our modern age by saying men cannot be saved by culture!” Sure, I will insult our modern age. Men who have come to their senses in Christ Jesus and have been born again realize the awful condition of a human heart. Some men look at their flower gardens and thing the world is pretty good because the flower garden is growing pretty well; but they will not examine the human heart and see the stuff that grows in there. But the minute a man admits that hatred and malice and envy and murder and passion and lust and lying and thieving and stealing are part and parcel of the very root of man’s heart, then he finds out that it is nothing but a new life that is going to save him.
It is not a question simply of God forgiving outbroken sin. Has not God made a provision for us in Jesus that when we come to glory the rot and the envy and the filth and the covetousness and the passion and the lust and all these rotten things that make sin will be forever gone? Oh God, is there a salvation that when we come to you we will not have any of it? Yes! Why? Because we have been born of the last Adam; we have been born from above, with a new life that has come in. And after a while we will burst from the old shell on the outside, and will have a redeemed body like unto His own precious body!
He came out of the grave. We will come out of the grave. He entered the room, the doors being shut; He stood on the shore and ate fish. When they were gathered together discussing His resurrection He suddenly stood in their midst, saying: “Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see we have.” A new Adam, our own Savior, is Jesus. If God can turn a horse and a goat and a donkey into the same pasture and eat the same food and drink out of the same stream, and yet every one of them is a different kind of animal, with a different kind of hair growing out of its back—if this can be produced from grass and water, oh, how simple is it for Him to give the life of His own Son to those who will take.
The Hungry Crowd
Who would have thought of the hunger of this crowd but Jesus? They had not even prepared anything for themselves. Jesus asked Philip: “What are you going to do to feed this crowd?”
Philip didn’t know. He said: “Lord, it will take two hundred pennyworth of bread to feed them. We haven’t got money enough in the treasury, and we haven’t any place where we can buy it.”
While sinners are not hungry to be fed, though they are looking at the miraculous work of God who made the universe, the heart of God is saying: “They are hungry. I want to feed them.” Nobody but God knows how starved the sinner is. “Herein is love—that while we were yet sinners Christ died for the ungodly.” Jesus began thinking about the hunger of those folks before they ever said a word. God knows better than you know tonight the depravity of your heart, how far your soul is from heaven, how far that heart of yours is from Him. Oh, I am so glad I don’t have to work to make this heart of mine right. I’m so glad it isn’t up to me to make it right. I couldn’t even build a body. How in the world am I going to build my soul right? You don’t know what life is made of; you haven’t the materials to patch it with, but Jesus has a supply. He is the life. He satisfies. He is a banquet.
Look. It says: “He knew what He would do.” Jesus had a supply. Jesus knew He had a supply. Jesus was the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the earth, slain for this hungry lot of us. God knew He had something in Jesus that would satisfy every longing of our soul and perfectly fit us for God. And there He was willing to give out to that multitude that which satisfied, and to this multitude tonight. “He knew what He would do.” He knew His powers. Tonight Jesus knows what He can do for you. He can feed you until you are absolutely satisfied. That is the glory of this whole proposition. You will be satisfied. So many people on the outside seem to think it rests on theory. Not a bit of it. You may feed me on theory, but that will not satisfy me at all. You know that. You may get and eat little sawdust cakes, with sugar and cream on them, every morning, but they won’t satisfy. I tried a new kind of breakfast food this summer when I wasn’t feeling very good and thought it might stay down, but after it had been down a while it began to taste like pasteboard. You can bluff your eyes, but you can’t bluff your stomach. You can bluff your head, but your soul knows whether it is theory of life, and it’s life we must have.
Life And Light
You may have a very satisfying theory—but a soul KNOWS when it has passed from death unto life; when it is light instead of darkness. Jesus gives light and life, and the men and women who have touched Him and taken this salvation from Him say, though they may not be able to explain the proposition, “Thank God, I KNOW IT!” Somebody comes around and says, “Well, how do you know it?” “I don’t know, brother, BUT I KNOW IT,” is the answer. “You expect me to just take a thing that you know you have?” “Yes, brother. I know I am satisfied. I am more than satisfied. I am happy; I am delighted.”
Maybe they say, “How does it feel?” Well, I can’t tell you that. Somebody else will try to seek salvation by seeking feeling. My friends, you might just as well try to seek the feeling to a thirsty throat of a glass of water as seeking feeling of salvation. Take the glass of water and the feeling will come. And if you take Jesus by faith and trust Him as your Savior, and believe in Him, thank God the satisfaction will come. Jesus says: “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.” You can come to Him tonight—and if you die two minutes afterward you can go up with that Bible and say: “Oh God, if there is any justice in heaven, you told me to come, and I came, and you cannot throw me out, because I came and you promised to take me in.”
There was enough for five thousand. There is enough in Jesus for all Earth’s multitudes. Next Jesus says: “Make the men sit down.” Strange, isn’t it, that He didn’t say: “Make them pass along in a line here, and take it as I hand it to them.” I know some folks who, if I went around to them tonight and said, “Brother, come into the inquiry room and sit down, and Jesus will feed you,” would only say, “Why, what is the use of going in there?” And you go out of the Tabernacle hungry, don’t you? You don’t want these simple little methods. My friend, if you don’t take a position where Jesus Christ can do a work for you, you will never get the work done by Him. So when we ask you to come down an aisle, to make some kind of sign, and break from the hunger and the awful condition of your life, it is just a simple, natural thing we ask you to do. If salvation does not mean enough to you for you to put your pride in your pocket and walk down before any company of people, then it does not mean enough for you to even care for it at all.
Suppose one of those fellows had said: “You aren’t going to get me to sit down, I can tell you. Let Him come down here and give me the bread.” That is the wrong spirit, and you know it. If you have a real heart of humility tonight you will find that you will take God at His word and come down as humbly and sweetly as you know how. God is asking you to do the humble, natural thing in order that He may do the supernatural and exalting thing.
Here is the exact thought about this supper. He didn’t feed them straight Himself. “He distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were sat down.”
Bread When Passed
Jesus broke the bread of life to His disciples and said, “Go out and be my witnesses.” Peter on the day of Pentecost stood and broke the bread of life to the people, and the Holy Spirit used him to get their mouths and hearts open. Peter didn’t do the saving, but he broke the bread.
You may say, “I can be saved in my room.” The time for a hungry man to take bread is when it is being passed. Take it tonight. “It pleases God by the foolishness of preaching” to save folks. There have been men in all ages who have schemes of great mass movements to change everybody at once—get them quicker that way. But they don’t know the Word. It pleases God to take just weak humanity and send them to the hungry multitudes. You may say, “I would do it another way.” You would say, “If I were doing it, Lord, when you were feeding the five thousand, I would have thrown it into the air, like that, and it would have fallen into everybody’s lap.” But God has broken this life to us and asked us to hand it to you, and when a personal worker comes to you and speaks a word you are trying to put down some of God’s agents. God wants you to be fed. He wants you to be fed plentifully. If you are a Christian and haven’t been filled with all God has for you it is your own fault. There is plenty to eat. Jesus has already prepared the supper.
Next is this thought: “Filled twelves baskets with fragments.” They went around and collected the fragments to show that everybody had had all they wanted to eat, and there was still enough left. Friend, when everybody who wants salvation has taken it there will still be plenty of salvation for everybody who didn’t take it. God has done the work: Jesus has broken the bread, and on Calvary paid the debt of all for all.
Friend, do not look at him from the miraculous alone, but look at Him as your Savior, who will save you from sin, from the power of the devil, tonight; will break the shackles and set you free, and still not exhaust His power. There are fragments to every job Jesus does.
Not The Kitchen
Yes, it was Jesus’ supper. He never invited you into His kitchen to see how He made it, but into the dining room of faith to eat what He had prepared. I might sit down with you in the parlor and my wife get the dinner ready and put it on the table, and you, my guest, might say to me: “Yes, but do you believe that potatoes can be pared, and cooked, and served so that I can eat them?” Will they digest?”
“You just come out to the table and I will prove it to you.”
You will still argue and ask: “Do you mean to tell me that the flesh of a cow that has been killed and butchered, and then put onto the fire and burned, is fit for eating, and can be turned into bodily tissue for me by the processes of digestion which I cannot see work?”
And I say: “Please, friend, just come out and get your teeth in it; come out and eat it, won’t you?”
“Yes, but Mr. Rader, you tell me about the ice cream for dessert. How can you freeze cream? Now, please, explain it to me.”
“Come on out, brother. I will serve you a little in a dish and get you a spoon, and you just try it.”
All your questions will be answered at the table. Come to the feast. The world these days is trying to break into God’s kitchen to see the how; but you be wise and come to the table; take Jesus. Some of you will do tonight just what I have talked about when you get the invitation. Your arguments are absurd and so foolish. Oh, come to the feast prepared for you. I philosophized, I fooled around; but, say, when I got down to business, like a little robin when its mother speaks I opened up to Jesus—He did the business.
Take The Ticket
I plead with you, take the ticket of invitation which God offers with one big word on it, and that word “Come.” Walk down these aisles, present it on your knees in the inquiry room tonight, and you’ll find it is good for an eternal feast. God will make it good. Here’s His promise: “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.”
I heard the voice of Jesus say
“Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one,
Stoop down and drink and live!”
I came to Jesus and I drank
Of that life-giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
And now I live in Him.