Bill Hathaway Ministries

What Jesus Did When He Saw The Multitudes

INTRO.  I don’t know about you, but as for me, I am greatly affected by crowds.  I like to think that I put just as much into my preaching when there are few as when there are many, but I do know that crowds affect me.  ILLUS. The crowds in Japan affected me.  I recall standing at the top of the stairs at the Tokyo train station and viewing the thousands of people going up and down that extremely wide set of stairs.  My heart literally thumped and my eyes watered as I looked at that scene.  Thoughts raced through my mind…”Is there even one in this great crowd who knows the Lord?”  “Will any of these ever hear the true message of salvation?”  “Who will tell them?”  I know I am affected by the crowds because Jesus was affected by the crowds.

I.   LET US NOTICE FIRST OF ALL THAT HE SAW THE CROWD.  (Mat 14:14)  "And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude.

  1. First of all, notice that Jesus saw the multitude.  It didn’t escape His eyes.  The Creator of the universe saw this crowd.  Do we see the multitudes of the world today in need of salvation?  Today there is much negative talk concerning the Great Commission.  I’ve heard much negative talk over the years.  Jesus said "Say not ye, (“Time is running out…We don’t have time…There’s no sense going to China because they won’t let missionaries in, etc. etc.)There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest."  I think we can compare this crowd to the fields of the world.  Do you see them lost in sin?  Do you see them headed for hell?  Do you see them as sheep having no Shepherd?  I believe what we need today is to see the people of the world as Jesus sees them. I am glad that Jesus saw me in the midst of those millions in Philly.  The eyes of Jesus ran to and fro across this entire world and stopped and looked at an insufficient 15 year old boy…He saw me!
  2. You want to grow as a church?  Then ask God for a vision!  (Prov 29:18)  "Where there is no vision, the people perish…”  A visions causes action!
  3. Before you can do anything to help those in need, you must first of all see the need…you must first have a vision.
  4. I like to look at the large mission board with a giant map and pictures of all our missionaries in the lobby.  Then I thank God for the vision of this church.  Lift up your eyes, and look…..!  People need the Lord!  The greatest gift you can give anyone is the gift of eternal life.  Oh, the eyes of Jesus as he SAW the crowd!

II.         NEXT NOTICE THAT HE SAW THE CROWD.    (Mat 14:14) “And Jesus went forth and saw a great multitude.”

  1. I like to think of “the great multitude” as the world.  Let me try to give you a vision for the world.
    1. The world has over 6 billion souls.  America with its 263 million is a drop in the bucket compared to the world today.
    2. The population is increasing more each year.  Whereas it took 5830 years for the world to reach its first 1 billion people, today it is taking just about 5 short years for another billion people.
    3. China today has 1 billion, 263 million, 100 thousand souls.  It is claimed that every fourth baby born is Chinese.  That’s not true in our family.  All four of our children are Americans.
    4. Two-thirds of the people of the world live in the “10/40 Window.”  62 countries are in that window.  90% of the poorest of the poor live there.  Two billion who have never heard of salvation in Jesus Christ live there.  Three of the largest religions of the world are in that “10/40 Window.”
    5. Japan had 85,000,000 souls when we first went to Japan as missionaries; today there are 130 million.
    6. Did you know that 1,600 people are moving into the KWFC listening area every month?  They need the Lord!  They need a church that cares!
    7. Are you getting a picture of that “great multitude”?
    8. I use to go up the TV tower in Nagoya or some high place overlooking a city in Japan and I would cry out, “Lord, give me this city for Christ!”  These millions and billions of people need the Lord.
    9. Jesus saw the crowds…but He also saw them as individuals:  The woman at the well, Nicodemus, Zachaeus, Blind Bartimaeus…and praise the Lord, you and me.
    10. ILLUS.  Story of the pastor’s 11-year old boy who went out in the rain & the lady who got saved.

III.        NOTICE THE CONDITION OF THE CROWD THAT HE SAW.   Vs. 14 “…and He healed their sick.”  Vs. 15  “And when it was evening…”  Vs. 15   “…this is a desert place…”   Vs. 15  “…send the multitude away…”  Let’s look at each of these statements.
  1. Vs. 14  “…and He healed their sick.”They were sick!!!  The world is sick today.  In Africa there is a epidemic of Aids.  There seemingly is no cure!  Have you seen the pictures of the poor children on TV dying of aids?  I HOLD IN MY HANDS THE CURE FOR AIDS!  HERE IT IS!  THE BIBLE!  But worse than the plight of aids is the devastation of sin.  God hates sin.  The real need of the world is not to find a cure for aids, but to seek the cure for sin.  You give people the cure for sin and you have given them the cure for aids.   Right now we have a distribution center for SOS…The greatest soulwinning plan ever!  The only hope for Africa and the rest of the world is that we get involved in the Salvation Of Souls!  ”For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  Before anyone can get saved they must realize they are sinners.  You rob one bank and you’re a bank robber…kill one person and you’re a murderer…commit one sin and you’re a sinner!
  2. Vs. 15  “And when it was evening…”  It was late!”  Even the disciples thought it was to late.  I’m afraid that many churches today by the lack of interest in souls…by their lack of interest in the need of the world believe it is to late.  IT IS NEVER TO LATE!  Nicodemus came to Jesus at night.  Jesus said to Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”  He would not have said that if it were to late!  It is never to late!  “Souls are dying, men are crying, let us win the lost at any cost.”
  3. Vs. 15  “This is a desert place…”  What we see as impossible, Jesus sees as opportunity.  The desert offers nothing.  The world has nothing to offer.  Most of the people of the world live in a spiritual desert.  They have nothing.  But here we sit in our comfortable homes and nice churches while the rest of the world is in a desert and hungry for the bread of life.  You may think it’s impossible!  With Christ, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE“What Would You Attempt For God If You Knew You Could Not Fail?” 
  4. Vs. 15  “Send the multitude away…”  These are not the words of Jesus.   (Luke 14:23)  "And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled."  Jesus also said, “(Mark 16:15)  "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."  Again He said, (Mat 28:18-20)  "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. {19} Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: {20} Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."  The great commission was given to the church.  That’s the church’s main objective.  God blesses missionary minded churches.  We need to see the world through the eyes of Jesus.  Your missionaries need your support.  Many times on the mission field we thought of the churches that supported us and we knew they were praying!


  1. Jesus was full of compassion.  Remember how He felt when He looked over the city of Jerusalem?  (Mat 23:37)    "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" What compassion!!! 
  2. Churches today need the compassion of Jesus.  Missionaries wouldn’t go to the mission fields if they didn’t have compassion.  ILLUS. Not long ago a young Japanese girl who was engaged to a U.S. Navy man visited our Japanese class.  My heart longed for her salvation.  While attending our class, I had the privilege of leading her to the Lord.  She had heard the plan of salvation in English, but when she heard it in her own language and saw it in the Japanese Bible, she received Jesus as her Savior.  She was so happy!  And so was I!  Every time I think about it, I want to shout!  There is a Korean business man I am so concerned about that I pray for him and long for his salvation.  I thank the Lord for compassion.  Every church member ought to ask God for genuine compassion.

V.  THE COMMAND THAT HE GAVE.  Vs. 16  Give ye them to eat!”

  1. Jesus didn’t do it all.  He could have dropped it from heaven. He left the work up to them.  Jesus could have done it all himself, but He gave them that opportunity.  Today the church has the obligation to give the Gospel to the world.
  2. Jesus was there with them as they distributed the food to those who were hungry.  Jesus said, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.”  The safest place in the world is in the will of Jesus, even though it might be in some distant jungle or some war-torn country.  ILLUS.  I was chased with a butcher knife once.  You know what  I did?  I ran!  I didn’t have time to pray!  Yes, our missionaries face danger every day, but they are comforted by the fact that Jesus is with them.
  3. The command is for us to GIVE!  “Give ye!”  Our missionaries need our support!  I’m a missionary, but I give my Faith-Promise Offering every Sunday.  Sometimes I really don’t have it, but I give it.  I can’t explain that, but it’s true!  ILLUS.  Sawa’s salvation and giving his wallet; then his three sons. 

VI.  THE COOPERATION HE NEEDED.  Vs. 18  “Bring them hither to me.”

  1. There is cooperation inside each local church.  The mission conference is when the Faith Promise cards are passed out an each member is challenged to act by F-A-I-T-H.   Can you see those disciples with those 5 loaves and 2 fishes?  Can you see the crowd with 5000 men, plus the women and children… perhaps 20,000 people?  Now, can you see those disciples as they watch Jesus brake that bread and divide those two fishes?  Jesus did the miracle and they did the givingYou act by FAITH and watch God come through for you.  I know what I’m talking about. 
  2. One disciple didn’t do it all, it took all 12 of them.  You can’t do it all; nor can your church do it all, but you can do your part and your church can do its part.  We need to cooperate with each other for the cause of Christ.
  3. There were small groups here and larger ones there according to John’s account.  Some were close while others were far out.  They all got fed and were all filled.  It takes cooperation to gain the victory.

VII.  THEY COUNTED THE RESULTS.   Vs. 21  “And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.”

  1. Some people don’t believe in counting the crowd.  Well, we do!  “We count people because people count!”  The history of every soul is a distress cry for help.  The world is sending out an SOS to you today…for help!  Certainly Jesus gave them physical food, but He also gave them spiritual food!  Every soul is important to the Lord!  I like to see the numbers grow.  I recall starting churches in Japan.  It was slow going.  Sometimes there were just 3 present.  Dixie, Ike (our oldest son) and myself, but I kept the record.  Today that first church in Japan runs about 250 to 300 people…a miracle for Japan.  We keep the record here each Sunday night at 4:30 when we have our Japanese Ministry.  We’ve had close to 15 different people attend our services…and each one is important to God.
  2. People do count!  Every person counts.  You never know what will become of some insufficient boy or girl who doesn’t have much, but comes to Sunday School.  ILLUS.  I was just about kicked out of Sunday School, but 2 teachers took responsibility for me.  Who knows what would have become of me if they hadn’t done so!  I sure didn’t count for much, but I was counted.

CONCLUSION & INVITATION;   You who are hearing my voice today…you count with God!  Jesus loves you.  Perhaps now would be a good time to come to the altar just to tell God how much you love Him and to assure Him of your obedience.  HOW MUCH DO YOU LOVE GOD?  HOW MUCH COMPASSION DO YOU HAVE?  WHY NOT ASK HIM FOR MORE COMPASSION NOW?  INVITATION!

Missionary to the Japanese,
Dr. Bill Hathaway

Telephone: 417-833-8584
Mobile: 417-569-4373

3149 N. Maranatha Ln. #8
Springfield, MO 65803



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