Apart from the resurrection of Christ, the only other miracle to appear in all four Gospels is Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand (Matt. 14:13–21; Mark 6:30–44; Luke 9:10–17; John 6:1–14). Beyond the significance for its miraculous scale, this miracle demonstrates a particular characteristic of Jesus that makes it even more magnificent—His all-sufficiency.
Jesus was greeted by a vast multitude as He stepped ashore from the Sea of Galilee. He instructed His disciples to give the people something to eat because it was around mealtime and they would be hungry. Empty-handed, the disciples approached Jesus with only five loaves and two fish, resources that were completely inadequate for feeding so many.
Seeing the crowds as sheep without a shepherd, Jesus instructed His disciples to assemble the people for the banquet He was about to spread. He took the five loaves and two fish, blessed them, and gave them to the disciples to distribute. Including women and children, Jesus was feeding around twenty-five thousand people, and His disciples continually returned to Him until the people were all “satisfied” (Matt. 14:20). Jesus went further, however; He provided enough so that each disciple had a basket of leftovers. This miracle demonstrated not only the sufficiency of Jesus but the superabundant sufficiency of our Shepherd in giving more than enough to provide for His sheep.
The Apostle Paul gives three reasons that Jesus is our all-sufficient Shepherd in Colossians 1. First, Jesus is sufficient because He “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (v. 15; see also v. 19). Jesus is no ordinary man with ordinary means but is the incarnate Word in flesh—God with us. And because God is from everlasting to everlasting, Jesus is sufficient from everlasting to everlasting.
Second, Jesus is sufficient because “by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth” (v. 16, KJV). Jesus is the Creator of all things, and therefore His resources are endless. He created the cattle on a thousand hills, bread and fish, and all other things for our good and His glory. Therefore, we should never fear when we find our pockets and baskets empty.
Third, Jesus is sufficient because “he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (v. 17, KJV). Jesus is our sufficient Shepherd because all things have been placed under His sovereign authority. Nothing in all the universe is outside the sovereign control and authority of Jesus.
Fourth, Jesus is sufficient because He promises to make all believers “perfect” (v. 28, KJV). The same Jesus who forgives you from sin, justifies you by faith, and grants you eternal life will make you complete in Himself and bring you all the way to glory.
If Jesus can take a child’s lunch and feed thousands, He is always more than adequate in every challenge in this life. Depend on Him for all things and you will always be satisfied.