"Give ye them to eat"

When Jesus, after hearing of the cruelty done by Herod to John the Baptist, went out into the desert no doubt to commune with God, to realize at-one-ment again with his Father-Mother, Love, we are told that he was followed by a great multitude. It is also recorded that when the multitude came to him, he healed their sick. The very same day, in the evening, we find him giving one of the most wonderful demonstrations of man's dominion over material conditions ever recorded. As the day was coming to an end and they had "nothing to eat," the disciples came to their beloved Master and implored him to send the multitude away.

Let us tarry a while before this picture, in what the disciples called "a desert place." Not only "about five thousand men," but also probably quite as many women and children, were gathered about Jesus and his disciples. It was evening—and the dark comes quickly in the East; yet he sent them not away, because he had compassion and love for them. His answer to the disciples, after they had asked him to send the multitude away, "Give ye them to eat." Jesus meant what he said. He knew that it was possible for them to obey his words; otherwise, he would not have used them. The disciples, however, still looked to matter, in fear, and pointed to the very small amount of material food which the physical senses perceived. Jesus looked instead to the infinite source of all supply, seeking to do the will of Him that sent him; and thus he approached the demonstration of supplying food to the great multitude. In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 597) Mrs. Eddy defines "wilderness," in part, as "loneliness; doubt; darkness." This explains the standpoint of the disciples. The latter part of the definition shows us where Jesus stood. It reads: "The vestibule in which a material sense of things disappears, and spiritual sense unfolds the great facts of existence."

The people were seated. What a large area must have been covered by them, grouped as they were "by hundreds, and by fifties"! But, behold, we find Jesus breaking the bread, dividing the five loaves and the two fishes into a supply sufficient for the hungry ones, and then giving it to his disciples to distribute to the great multitude—to those farthest away, as well as to those sitting nearest him. When all had eaten and were satisfied, we find the disciples gathering, each one of them, a basket full of what was left over. Thus Jesus, our Way-shower and Exemplar, proved that God—not matter—is the source of supply and the substance of man; he proved, also, that time is not absolute; and, finally, he proved that space cannot limit the ever-presence of good or the divine supply.

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The Way of Holiness
February 4, 1928

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