Description / Transcription
You know, there are certain elements in our order of worship, and if you’re here for any length of time, you begin to get accustomed to them. There’s a certain rhythm to how things are get done and there’s some things that change, but some things that don’t, and it’s helpful every once in a while to just remind you of why we have these elements that we do. So we have before the preaching of the Word the pastor gives a prayer; it’s called a prayer for illumination. And we do it not just because, you know, it’s helpful because the pastor does not know how else to start things, or end things, except prayer. It’s necessary because when we come before God, I need His help to preach, and you need His help to listen. And so let’s bow before the Lord, not simply out of custom and habit as we often do, always do, when we come to the Word, but out of a desperate sense of need.
Let’s pray. Father, our prayer is that our hearts would be good soil, open to the seed of Your Word. When our hearts are hard, break the stone away. When are hearts are cold, warm them with the day. And when our hearts are lost, lead us on Your way. Lord, let our hearts be good soil. We pray that you might give now both to the preacher and to the hearer great grace, that Your voice would be clear, distinct, powerful, and you would speak to us just what we need to hear. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
We return this morning to the Gospel according to John after our summer way through the kings of Judah. We return to the gospel of John and we are in chapter 6. Begun this last fall, moving our way with a few breaks here and there, slowly through this book, which you can see we’re just in chapter 6 so will be here, Lord willing, for still some time to come.
This morning we’ll be looking at verses 1 through 15. Please turn in your Bibles. You’ll want to have your Bibles opened so you can follow along because ultimately the only authority I have is if I’m speaking according to this book. So you want to test everything against this book. If you’re here and you’re visiting and you don’t have a Bible, we’d love for you to take that Bible there to make sure that you have a Bible for your own. If you didn’t bring one, you can use the pew Bible and follow along now as I read John, chapter 6, beginning at verse 1.
“After this, Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain and there He sat down with His disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up His eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward Him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?’ He said this to test him, for He himself knew what He would do. Philip answered Him, ‘Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.’ One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?’ Jesus said, ‘Have the people sit down.’ Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and when He had given thanks, He distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, He told His disciples, ‘Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.’ So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign that He had done, they said, ‘This is indeed the Prophet who is come into the world.’ Perceiving that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him King, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by Himself.”
I imagine this is a familiar story for most of us. Many of us have known this story as long as we have known anything. Even if you’re a brand new Christian or if you’re here this morning and you’re not a Christian, you may have heard of this story, the feeding of the 5000. It’s one of the Bible’s most beloved stories and you can maybe picture a painting of it in your children’s Bible or a cartoon version or felt boards back when you had those things or cave drawings, depending on your age, something where you remember this story, the feeding of the 5000. It’s well known. It’s the only miracle, bit of Bible trivia for you, it’s the only miracle besides the resurrection that appears in all four Gospel accounts. That’s how significant it was.
The story is easy enough to understand on a historical level. We understand what’s happening. Look at verse 1. It says “after this,” so some indefinite time later after the incident of healing at the pool on the Sabbath and the discourse of Jesus and the witnesses to Jesus of which He spoke, sometime later now we have this incident. It says that Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, that is, the east side. The main side was the side toward the Mediterranean Sea; this was opposite that, to the east side.
We know from the other Gospel accounts that He’s trying to get some peace and quiet. He’s trying to get some alone time with His disciples, but try as He might, a large crowd followed Him, probably along the north side of the sea. We’ve already seen in John’s Gospel how the crowds, amazed by Jesus, is not necessarily a positive indicator of real faith, but rather they have a great interest in the miracles. Their zeal is not so much for the message, or even for the messenger, but for the miracles that this miracle worker is bringing and we see that explicitly, verse 2, “because they saw the signs that He was doing on the sick.”
You would be interested in this, too. There’s a man that’s traveling around Mecklenburg County and he is, he is healing people. And not just the sort of ways people claim to get healed today by preachers, invisible back pain that people can neither confirm nor deny, but I mean really massive things. People who were paralyzed and then walking. So they follow him around to the other side and just as He sits down on the mountainside to be with His disciples, lo and behold a massive crowd is coming.
John tells us, and you’ll see later why this is important, verse 4, that it was the Passover. There are three Passover feasts mentioned in John’s Gospel. We already saw one in chapter 2, we’ll see one when we get to the end toward the upper room discourse in chapter 11, and here again we have it in chapter 6. It’s noted here in part to indicate why we have these massive crowds. It’s not that there was any city along the Sea of Galilee that would have been this big, but you have the pilgrims streaming down from the north and the Galilee region as they needed to do at the Passover to come to Jerusalem. The crowds are far from home, many of them, they’re hungry. Where in the world are the disciples going to find food for all of these people?
So Jesus has them sit down. We read in the other Gospel accounts a very orderly, you know, by fifties, by tens, by small groups, by, you know, committee structure, Jesus was a Presbyterian, no doubt. We read that they sat down and they had plenty of grass. This tells us that this was in the spring, while the grass had grown and was green and before the summer heat had turned it brown. They sit down, and with just five loaves and two fish, the whole crowd is fed with plenty left over.
You notice in verse 11 He took the loaves and when He had given thanks, He distributed to them. I don’t think this is a kind of anticipation of the Lord’s supper, but we do see here hints of what Jesus will later do with the last supper. And those of us who know, Paul’s institution of it and Christ’s institution before that, can’t help but here echoes of it as He took the bread and He broke it and He gave thanks. He would have said something like “blessed are you, O Lord, our God, king of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.” A typical Jewish blessing.
You notice, it says He gave thanks. It says, in the other Gospel accounts, that He blessed God. What we sometimes speak of before a meal, we bless the food and that’s, you know, understandable language, but technically He’s blessing God for the food.
There was this little satire piece one time I saw on the internet that you can buy pre-blessed food. Somebody’s already prayed. It’s got a little sticker “pre-blessed.” You can just buy it from the store and, you know, that just saves you a prayer. Well, that’s now quite how it works. The idea is to receive everything with prayer and thanksgiving, 1 Timothy 4, and so Jesus sets us a good example. Blessed are you, O Lord God, for you have given us this food to eat.
This is the fourth of seven signs in John’s Gospel; the water into wine, the healing of the royal official’s son, the healing of the paralytic, and now this is the fourth sign, the feeding of the five thousand. The people end by marveling that He’s a prophet and then in verse 15 we see the crowd is ready to force Jesus to be their liberator king, the king they had been so desperate to find.
That’s the story, that’s the history, that’s the context. It’s easy enough to understand on itw own. We know the story. And beyond that, most Christians would then say, “Well, look, this is an amazing miracle. Only God could do a miracle like this. See how Jesus is proving Himself to be God. He’s doing a miracle that only God could do, therefore He’s God.” Now that’s not entirely a wrong way of thinking, but, uh, that’s not entirely accurate either.
We should be careful the syllogism that says “miracles are from God, Jesus did miracles, Jesus must be God,” because of you set that up, you’re going to find some people in the Old Testament who did some miracles who aren’t God and you’re going to find the apostles later in the New Testament who did miracles and they’re not God. So it isn’t simply, it’s not simply that Jesus was a wonder worker, therefore He was God. There’s a bit more going on than that, and so we need to look at the passage with more attention than simply amazing miracle, Jesus is amazing.
I want you to notice three points this story is trying to make. Three points. Jesus is more than a prophet; Jesus is more than a king; and Jesus is more than enough.
Number one: Jesus is more than a prophet. You need to know the Old Testament, like the Jews would have known their Old Testaments. Sometimes when, you ever find this, when, when Bible study leaders or books or preachers make connections between the New Testament and the Old Testament, sometimes you might think “ah, I don’t know. Really?”
I remember having English classes in high school and the teachers would make all these connections. Here’s what Shakespeare’s really saying and I’d think I don’t know. Really? And then I, I’ve had the opportunity to write a few books, and when you write books, you, you pore over the words and you write things very carefully, and I, I’ve realized that those things don’t get in there by accident, and we don’t want to read more than is meant to be there, but very often those are deliberate echoes. And particularly so when we’re dealing with the New Testament and the Old Testament. You have to remember that this is probably written for a Jewish audience, either new Christians or hoping to become Christians, and these incidences are happening among Jewish people who would have been very well versed in the stories and in the language and in the history of their Bible.
I’ll tell you something amazing. They didn’t even have the internet yet. They didn’t even have TVs. They didn’t been have books. They had scroll, they didn’t have books as we know them. You know what they did? They told stories, and they memorized the Torah and they passed on these stories of their history and of God’s faithfulness. All of that is to remind us that even if we in our increasing biblical illiteracy don’t make the connections, they would have been much quicker to see the connections between what was happening and the Old Testament, even though like Nicodemus many of them Jesus said “you’re a teacher, you should have gotten this.” Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn’t.
We see her a connection to at least two different prophets in the Old Testament. The first is with Moses. We see that Jesus is a better provider than Moses. Think of the parallels with Moses. We have Jesus in a desolate place. That’s not what it says in John, but in Mark’s Gospel, it says He went into a desolate place. That is, He went into the wilderness a la Moses leading his people in the wilderness.
And you notice, where does Jesus go up? He goes up a mountain. Okay, they’re thinking mountains, mountains, mountains. What happens? Big things happen on big mountains. They’re thinking Moses going up the mountain. Of course, Jesus does a sermon on the mountain as the new Moses, as the new law giver. Here He goes up on the mountain to teach.
Even the divisions into the camps, which we see more explicitly in the other Gospel accounts would have been reminiscent of Exodus chapter 18, when Jethro comes to Moses and tells him to divide all the people to make them more manageable. Later in chapter 6, Jesus is going to make explicit the connection with Moses, that just as Moses gave them manna in the wilderness, now Jesus will give them something even better than manna, He will give them the bread of eternal life. So we are seeing Jesus is a better provider than Moses.
And there’s an even more striking parallel. We see that Jesus is a better wonder worker than Elisha. There, there are several hints here that tell us that this story is meant to mirror the account of Elisha in 2 Kings chapter 4. And even if you don’t remember that particular story, I’ll read it to you in just a moment, they surely would have. Just like if I mention to you or to even your children something about an ark and a flood, immediately you would know, okay, here we got a story. If, if I just said these two words, lions’ den, you would know something about the story. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, Daniel and the lions’ den and let me tell you some of the story.
Well, we have those same sort of resonances here with this story from Elisha. So I want you to keep your finger here, I want you to go to the Old Testament to 2 Kings chapter 4. Joshua, Judges, Ruth, we got 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings before 1 and 2 Chronicles, 2 Kings chapter 4. Outside of the exodus and the plagues and the miracles there, the main miracles in the Old Testament take place during the time of these two prophets, Elijah and Elisha. Two different people.
Growing up I remember, you know, one of my Sunday School teachers kept referring to Elisha and I, I thought she had a lisp and I was just saying to myself, boy, don’t even know it’s Elijah, come on. Had to be put in my place. No, it’s a different person, Elisha.
Follow along as I read 2 Kings 4:42. “A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. And Elisha said, ‘Give to the men, that they may eat.’ But his servants said, ‘How can I set this before a hundred men?’ So he repeated, ‘Give them to the men, that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, “They shall eat and have some left.”’ So he set it before them. And they ate and had some left, according to the word of the Lord.”
There are obvious parallels here. Boy, barley, baskets. So there’s a boy. That’s the word, the Greek translation paidarion, which can mean a boy, a young man, a teenager, a slave. We have the same word here as Andrew brings the boy. To there’s a boy coming with what? Not just any loaves of bread, but John tells us they’re barley loaves. This is not the normal wheat loaf, but a barley loaf. Barley loaves were the, the bread of choice among the poor. If you didn’t have the best for the wheat, you had barley loaves.
And then we have baskets left over. Now, I’m, I’m going with the alliteration to help you remember it. It doesn’t actually mention that there were baskets in 2 Kings 4, but it did mention “and there will be some left over,” just like there was plenty left over, 12 baskets full we’ll see here in John’s account. So the boy, the barley, the baskets left over.
We could also mention the parallel question. Just as the disciples say “how can this possibly, how can this little feed this many?” we have the same question of incredulity in 2 Kings chapter 4: How is this possibly going to work?
So there’s an immediate parallel. What Jesus is doing here. He is a better wonder worker than Elijah or Elisha. What He does dwarfs Elisha’s miracle. Think about the proportions of it. They had 20 loaves for 100 men, and they said 20 loaves for 100 men, that’s never going to work, and it took a miracle to feed them.
Well, now we have five loaves for five thousand men. So it’s Jesus who’s saying “you know that Elisha story you all grew up with? You know that? You know that? You like that? Great story, right? Right? Watch this.”
He’s a prophet. Not just a prophet, He’s the prophet. If you look back at John chapter 6 in the ESV in verse 14, it capitalizes “the Prophet” and I think they’re right to do so. Of course, the original Hebrew or Greek didn’t have capitalization, but editors add that and it gives us a sense of meaning here and I think this is correct, because they’re not just saying you are a prophet, they’re saying He is *the* prophet. Well, which prophet? That is, the one predicted in Deuteronomy 18 where Moses announces the Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me, Deuteronomy 18:15 through 19. That’s the one they were looking for. They were looking for the Prophet. They were looking for a King. What they didn’t quite know was that they also needed a priest to atone for their sins once for all.
So this is really amazing, what Jesus is showing here, whether they have eyes to see it or no. “I’m a better provider than Moses the prophet, I’m a better wonder worker that Elisha the prophet.” Just heaping up the heroes of not only the faith but the heroes of their nation. It would be like if somebody came along and through his acts of bravery and ingenuity and courage and wisdom and theological integrity, you just though “well, this person’s bigger and better than George Washington and John Calvin and Martin Luther and Martin Luther King, Jr., and Billy Graham… ” and you would say, “Who is this man?”
Jesus is more than a prophet.
Second, we see Jesus is more than a king. Or I should say, he is more than an earthly political, military king. Now we know Passover as the day that commemorated leaving Egypt, the exodus from Egypt as slaves. It had religious significance, it had national significance. Passover was like the Fourth of July for Americans or Bastille Day for the French. It was a time of nationalistic fervor. It was a time of celebration. It was a time of hope, to remember what God did to save our nation.
This crowd gathering her may have been a Zealot crowd. I mean zealot with a capital Z, a definable group of people in the first century, this group called the Zealots. Sometimes think of these four different groups that were operative in the first century around Jesus’ time. You have the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes, and you have the Zealots. The Zealots were the people that wanted to usher in a military king and a military kingdom and were most passionate about getting the backs of the Romans off of them. This may be what we have here, whether they were Zealots or not, they were certainly a large group of people here that wanted Jesus to be their political, military king. They wanted a revolution, and they thought they had found their revolutionary.
There were all sorts of revolutions and revolutionaries afoot in these early days in the first century, and they would lead thousands of people into the wilderness and be squashed by the Romans or they would commit suicide or the whole thing would fall apart, and this crowd thought maybe finally we have the one we’ve been looking for. But Jesus was not a political revolutionary. He was not that kind of king and He did not mean to bring that kind of kingdom.
There are two remarkable things going on here, at least two. One, if we’re honest, we often still want to make Jesus this kind of king. Don’t we? Wouldn’t this be great? We, we, we, we want to sort of get Him to be the king to make everything politically better, to, to, to make things the way they ought to be. We want Him to be that nationalistic leader. This is true on both the right and the left. So on the right sometimes is Christians. Might think if we can just mobilize to get the right judges and get the right elected officials we can reclaim America. The kingdom coming is about making America great again. That’s the kingdom coming. That’s what, that’s what we want Jesus to do. Well, there may be good aims and designs in many of those things, but is the that the sort of king Jesus means to be?
Or let’s say on the left, if we can just mobilize to get the right officials who are going to create biblical budgets that redistribute wealth and realize equality and Jesus is going to be the ultimate social justice warrior. And the kingdom will come when He levels all inequity.
Now, if you found your toes being stepped on in one or two of those descriptions, good. I’m not against politics at all. We need Christians involved in politics. We need to be informed. We need to make good decisions. Those things have consequences and they matter. Justice matters. Holding fast to biblical standards and morality matter, but Jesus is not running for president, praise the Lord. He doesn’t need our votes. Not looking at hanging chads. Doesn’t need the electoral college. He is the King of Kings, no matter whether His subjects realize it or not, and He shows, remarkably enough, to this crowd “I’m not the sort of king you think you need. I’m the sort of kin you really need.”
And then here’s the other remarkable thing: Not only that we, if we’re honest, still want Jesus kind of to be this sort of king, what’s even more remarkable is that Jesus did not allow Himself to be this sort of king. Five thousand men. If they have wives, if they have children, if they have young boys and girls, might this be ten thousand? Might it be twenty thousand or more? This is a large crowd. And you notice verse 15: He perceives they were about to come and take Him by force. Twenty thousand. So what, fifteen times the size of this room? Think about Jesus feeding the, where is it? Where the Charlotte Hornets play? That probably seats fifteen to twenty thousand people. That sort of arena.
And then you have all of those people ready to come, by force, and say “Come, come, you’re, look at what you’re doing. You look at the miracles. Look at all the people following you. Come. You are the king that we need, that we’ve been waiting for.” They are ready to do battle. They have a guerrilla force that’s ready to strike at the heart of Rome.
But of course this was not the point of His miracle, this was not the heart of His message, and this was not the aim of His mission.
Remarkable. You think how many of us at that moment when a throng of ten or twenty or twenty-five thousand people were ready to come upon us and say “You lead us. You rule over us. We will follow you to the death.” Say “okay, you twisted my arm. All right. I could probably tell you what to do.”
Jesus so knows Himself, He so knows His Father, He so knows what His ministry and His mission is about, He says “You know what we’ve gotta do, disciples? We’ve got to get out of here and fast, because I am not that kind of king. I’m not the king who obliterates my enemies in a bloodbath. I’m going to be the king who sheds my own blood for my enemies.”
And then finally we see, not only is Jesus more than a prophet, Jesus more than a king, we see Jesus is more than enough.
I want you to look at verse 6. This is key. “He said this to test him, for Jesus Himself knew what He was going to do.” The picture here is Jesus is completely in control of this situation. He is not panicking when He sees five thousand men plus women and children coming towards Him, perhaps far from home, after a journey, maybe the heat of the sun, they’re hungry. What’s going to happen when… You know what happens in your own house when you have three or four or seven or eight people who are hungry. It’s all out mutiny sometimes. Fooood, pow pow pow. Cereal boxes are flying and the stuff is on the ground and kids are crawling like puppies and eating, just eating whatever and then the puppies eating their stuff, you know, it’s just a mess.
Well, imagine twenty thousand people. What are they going to do? Jesus knows what He’s going to do. He wants to see what the disciples think He can do. And so He starts with Philip. Why turn to Philip? You may remember from John 1: 44, it said Philip was from Bethsaida. Bethsaida is not far from where they are on the far side of the Sea of Galilee. So this is his stomping grounds. Hey, Philip, you’re from Mecklenburg County here, um, we’ve got twenty thousand people. Where do, where do you suggest we go to feed them?
Well, he doesn’t think that’s possible. What, where are we gonna get all of this food? 200 denari, verse 7, worth of bread would not be enough for them to get a little.
You know a denarius is a day’s wage. So this is essentially eight months’ wages. Let’s say $75,000 salary, just make the math easy, two-thirds of that… $50,000.
Where are we gonna get $50,000? And it says we’re not, we’re not giving them, you know, a super-sized meal here, we’re giving them just a little. Where are we going to get $50,000 to give them all a handful of Goldfish crackers? What are we gonna do after that? Okay, we count out four Goldfish for each of them, then what’s your plan, Jesus?
Well, here comes Andrew, Peter’s brother. Notice this, I’ve said it before in John’s Gospel, Andrew is always bringing people to Jesus. You’ve gotta love that about Andrew. He did it in chapter one, with Peter. Here he does it. Andrew is always, you just see this with Andrew, he’s bringing people to Jesus. So Andrew says, maybe sheepishly, I found a boy. He’s got fruit snacks. [laughter] Okay, and he’s got a buy one, get one free waffle fries. What do you think, Jesus? He’s got five barley loaves.
Now, this is even smaller than you think. It’s not like a big, you know, French bread. At least he’s got that. No. It, it really means a cake of barley. Picture like an English muffin, and a fish. It’s not the sort of big fish that you fishermen catch. You may know that the Greek word ichthus for fish, that’s the usual word. This is a different word, opsarian. It’s referring to pickled fish, small fish. It’s probably like a relish. This is two English muffins with pickle relish, or with fish relish, even worse. Pickled fish and then a little bit left over, five and two.
So, okay, we got a couple fish cake sandwiches. Right here. What, what are you going to do with these? Andrew says this is, this is the best I can find, is this kid right here with the fish burgers, but what, what’s that going to do with five thousand men plus women and children?
Incidentally, you could preach a whole other sermon on this from the point of view of this boy. We tend to look at what we lack; Jesus looks at what we have.
Now the main point of the passage is not to serve as an example of giving, but there is a lesson here for us. Give what you can, no matter how small, because you never know what Jesus can do with it.
I remember, I think it was 1999 or 2000, and this relates with the history of this church because Harry Reeder had gone to Briarwood because Frank Barker had just retired and Frank Barker was doing a missions conference up at First Presbyterian Church in Ipswich, Massachusetts, which is where Trisha and I went when we were at school there. And Frank Barker was preaching a message and he preached on the feeding of the five thousand about giving Jesus your fish burgers. And he was talking about giving and talking about no matter how small. And I don’t remember much about the message, but I remember being so move in hearing that message, thinking okay, I’m a poor seminary student, I don’t have a job, I don’t have anything, but I need to give something. I’m gonna commit. I’m gonna give $20 a week. Maybe it was a month, I don’t want to give myself too much credit. Something. I didn’t have any money coming in, but I said I’m gonna give some. I’m gonna give my little fish burgers, my little fish relish on an English muffin, $20. And I’ll tell you, it was amazing to see out of nowhere I would get cards from people at my church back home and the checks and $20 and always had something. I could have said well, I don’t technically have an income, what’s 10% of zero? Oooh, yes, it’s zero. [laughter] But I wanted to give something. I wanted to see what the Lord would do with it.
Let that be a lesson for each of you. It’s not how much you give, but we know from that widow with her two copper coins, it’s how much it costs you to give.
But clearly the miracle in this passage is not the little boy’s meal, it’s Jesus’ multiplication of the meal. Somehow the bread and the fish didn’t run out. When I get to heaven, of the million things I want to ask, I want to ask Jesus or Andrew or the little boy, how did this happen? What did it look like? You know, did, did the bread just go down the aisle and took a, a big chunk then it went to the next person and they did a, just a double take? It’s still here. And then you took and then it kinda, it just went on, or did it get to be a, you know, a crumb and then by the time they passed it to the person next to them it started…. I don’t know what happened, but it just didn’t run out. For five or ten or twenty thousand people.
And then they gather leftovers. All of you moms can be very pleased that you have biblical precedence for leftovers. [laughter] This was Jewish practice: Waste not, want not. They would collect what was there, and so they went along and went around and they got 12 baskets. Of course 12 baskets. Why? 12 disciples. Why? So each disciple being rather thick could come back to Jesus, and Jesus would say, “What do you have?” “Um, I’ve got a basket.” “Of what?” “Bread, and the fish, here it is. We, we each have it. We each can see.”
I mean, this is amazing. They ended up, you would love this, parents, they ended up with more leftovers than the food they started with. Wouldn’t that be great? You have a party, you got fifty people over. Let’s just get one pizza. [laughter] Disaster. I hate it when people do that. And the people that say “I don’t really want any, I’ll just, I’m not very hungry” and then you get them with three pieces on their plates, and the girls who said “I don’t like the meat lovers” and then they’re scarfing all the Canadian, the bacon, and okay, all of that, it’s very frustrating. People order one pizza and you think this is never going to work, we’ve got fifty people, we’ve got guys that are just coming in from football practice, we’ve got hungry people there, and then when they’re done, all of you be sure to take your box of pizza leftovers on the way home. That’s a neat trick. [laughter]
It happens, because He wants them to put two and two together. Do you see, disciples? I mean, it’s for the disciples as much as for the crowd. I can take care of you. I can meet your needs. I can do more than you ask or imagine. More than you could ask or imagine.
In their wildest dreams they probably would have thought “well, God, we pray, can we, can we collect a handful of Goldfish? Can we put all of our money together and maybe run into town and get something and maybe we’ll pray for a miracle of sharing and they’ll all get a little crumb and maybe that will….That’s the best we can hope for.”
Well, with Jesus there’s always more you can hope for. There was an abundance of wine when they never expected it, and now there is an abundance of food. You can just imagine the consternation and the concern in verse 5: Where are we to buy bread so that these people may eat, Jesus said to Philip. Jesus, of course, is not concerned, but Philip is and Andrew is and Peter is and the disciples are.
Looking out… It’s not hard to be overwhelmed with life, family, with job, with work. It’s not hard to be overwhelmed and look at the needs of your neighborhood, your community, just your, your church small group, your… Let alone if you follow anything going on in the world. It’s so easy to look out and say “impossible.” Nothing. That life will never change, that marriage will never get fixed, they’ll never have… It, it won’t work.
There is no church committee that can meet all your needs. That’s true. There is no government plan that can do everything for you. There is no United Nations program with all the wealth of all the nations working together that can fill the human heart.
Jesus here is not interested in merely providing for their temporary need for food. The question of the hour is the question that Jesus poses to them: Where, where, where?
You know the Psalm? I lift my eyes to the mountains, to the hills, from where does my help come? Where are we possibly going to get help for these problems? It is the question of that hour in our text and it is the question of every hour. Where will we go? How can our needs possibly be met? And the answer we see in abundance is that Jesus is more than enough.
If you’re a Christian, you know that and you, you know, you can make a bumper sticker of it: Jesus is more than enough.
Listen, friends. Is He really? Do you really believe that? Do you believe these two things. Number one, what you need most is Jesus. What you need most.. You might need sleep, you might need a job, you might need a friend, you might need a prescription, true, true, true. Don’t discount any of that. What you need most is Jesus. Do you believe that? What Jesus can bring you? Who Jesus is? Where Jesus can take you? You need Jesus.
And do you believe this, second of all? That that He provides for you and can do in you and do through you and do with you is more than enough? Jesus is more than enough for you.
Let’s pray. Our gracious heavenly Father, oh how we would have liked to be there on that day, and yet we no less than them have hunger, have wants, have needs, and we no less than them must trust and depend that with only five loaves and two fish You can feed multitudes. So give us confidence, Lord, on this day, whatever our needs, whatever our struggling, whatever our wandering, whatever our want, that You are more than enough. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.