Give Us This Day


"Give Us This Day..."


John 6:1-15


The Feeding of the 5000 is the only miracle recorded in all four of the gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. There's a lot of truth in today's miracle story.


Today's miracle story is telling us a simple truth - Jesus Christ meets our most basic needs. We've already seen it in his conversation with Nicodemus. Jesus engaged him with a conversation about meaning and truth. We saw it as Jesus sat down beside a woman at the well and told her, "I am the Living Water." Here he's going to divide some bread and some fish and say to people he's the Bread of Life. Bread and water and, as we saw in the miracle at the wedding at Cana, wine. Basic, simple things. Jesus meets our most basic needs.


John 6:1 begins in a way a lot of other chapters begin. "After this." This phrasing indicates the passing of a significant amount of time. While it is unspecified, it is most likely at least half-a-year since the events of chapter 5. "After this."


Let's start with the setting. The setting is important. After a tiring period of preaching and traveling, Jesus and the disciples take a boat to the other side of a lake. The purpose is to take a break. To get away from the crowds. Have you ever needed some quiet time? While the work is rewarding and exhilarating, it is also exhausting. There have been times in my ministry when, in a three day period, I have done a funeral, a wedding, and two Sunday morning worship services. While needful, it is emotionally and physically wearying. That's what's going on here. They are looking for some away time.


But what does verse 2 tell us is happening? Things are less than calm and quiet. "And a large crowd was following him." Things are frantic. Jesus and his disciples are being pressed from all sides.


All Jesus and his disciples want is some alone time. But with spreading word and rising popularity, that's not about to happen. Verse 4 reminds us, as so often happens in this gospel, significant moments occur within significant times. Here it's the Passover holiday. Verse 5 says, "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?'"


I love Jesus' compassionate response to the interruption. Life can be filled with interruptions. I once read about a family who had uninvited guests crash their pool party. Talk about rude interruptions. {Show Picture}

How do you respond to life's interruptions? How do you understand them? How do you walk through them?


There are two life lessons from the miracle of fishes and loaves.

1. How do you measure things?

Don't measure according to your abilities and resources. You are insufficient. The right measuring stick is the greatness of God.

You don't want to measure a problem or challenge according to your own ability.

What does Jesus do when he sees the crush of the crowd? Before he does anything, Jesus says to Philip, "Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?" There are thousands of people. That's a huge crowd to feel responsible for. Jesus asks Philip, how are we going to feed them all?


Jesus is using this as a teachable moment. Jesus isn't worried about how they're going to feed everybody. He knows what God can do. Jesus is teaching us that we sometimes use the wrong measuring stick. We look at the problem and size it up. We then look at our abilities and resources, and that's when the panic sets it. We see our abilities and resources don't match up with the problem.


Big problem.


So Jesus presses Philip. And he wants to bring him to a vitally important truth:


OUR FAITH GROWS THROUGH IMPOSSIBLE CIRCUMSTANCES.

Jesus was born of a virgin, walked on water, fed over 5000 men with bread and fish and rose from the dead. God loves impossible circumstances.

The truth is, Jesus loves impossible circumstances. When he was born, he was born of a virgin. That's quite an impossible circumstance. The angel said to Mary, "Nothing is impossible with God." He sat down with the woman at the well when nobody else would. He healed a man who had been sick for 38 years. Later we're going to read about a guy named Lazarus, who had been dead for four days, and God raised him back to life. And here Jesus is going to feed thousands of people. So, yes, Jesus loves impossible circumstances. And I'll tell you right now why. Because God gets the glory.


God still loves impossible circumstances. Do you know why I know that? Because He has chosen to save us through Jesus Christ. God has called us to love Him and serve Him. Based on what I know about my life, and no doubt, what you know about your life, we're pretty impossible creatures to love, yet here we are. God wants to work in the impossible circumstances in your life.


Take a moment right now and think about some impossible circumstances in your life.

Put them in the context of the fishes and the loaves. Let Jesus show his power in and through them. People need to know the God who loves impossible circumstances. We have to quit using our measuring stick and

instead trust God's ability.


Here's why this miracle matters. We're going to find ourselves in impossible situations. And we have to be confident in them. We have to be hopeful in them. We have to believe that even when we're hurt, we're not broken, because Jesus Christ is Lord. And we have to believe that when we're broken, we're not destroyed, because Jesus Christ is Lord. This miracle teaches us that in all things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us.


Where do you need a miracle? Where will you need a miracle?


There was a heartbreaking story about a young woman - late 20s - who seemed to have it all. By her own admission, there was nothing wrong with her life. Except she was broken. Here is the last sentence in her suicide note:


I have accepted hope is nothing more than delayed disappointment, and I am just plain old-fashioned tired of feeling tired.


I wonder if she ever heard the story of the miracle of fishes and loaves? I wonder if she ever heard about the Samaritan woman at the well? She was crushed by the hopelessness of her life.


Jesus Christ loves you. Jesus Christ loves impossible situations. He wants you to know his power and strength no matter what happens in your life. Even when things don't seem to be working out according to the way you want them to or think they should, Jesus Christ is powerfully present.


When Jesus asks Philip the question, "Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?" like a good shepherd, he is driving him to the answer.


Notice how Philip responds. In verse 7, he says, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little." What is Philip doing? He's thinking literally. He's thinking in terms of what his narrow vision can see. It's going to take at least eight month's wages to provide.

We need to stop here an recap what the disciples have seen up to this point:


  • Jesus turned water into wine.

  • Jesus cleansed the Temple.

  • Jesus powerfully taught Nicodemus.

  • Jesus lovingly taught a Samaritan woman.

  • Jesus healed a man who had been disabled for 38 years.


Phil's learning curve is a lot like mine. A very long, steep climb.


That's why Jesus is lovingly patient with him. Aren't you glad you have a Savior like that?

Here's the second thing we learn:


2. How do you weigh things?

How often do we allow the supposed weight of our problems to distract us from the presence of Jesus Christ?

You see, sometimes we act as if our problems are bigger than our Savior.


In verse 9, Andrew says, "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?"


How do you weigh your problems? It's interesting what Philip does. He sees things in terms of the size of the problems verses the money they have. Andrew sees things in terms of what they already have on hand, and the boy's box lunch isn't going to cut it. For both, it's an impossible situation.


Here's where both missed the truth:


  • Philip looked at the crowd, not at Jesus.

  • Andrew looked at the loaves and fishes, not at Jesus.


They both couldn't see past their problem to see Jesus. How many times do we let our problems keep us from the joy we should have in the Lord?


The reality is, problems are never going to go away. We are always going to have challenges and difficulties that can, at times, seem insurmountable. But guess what? There is joy and hope in the midst of the things that would crush other people. That is the lesson of the miracle of the feeding of the 5000.


Here's something you might want to write down:


START WITH WHAT LITTLE YOU HAVE, AND WATCH WHAT GOD CAN DO.

God can do all kinds of great things in our lives and He never needs to rely on our resources or abilities to do them.

I think a mistake a lot of us make is, we thing we need this much to be happy. We need to achieve this goal in order to have joy. We need to reduce our problems down to zero in order to have contentment. And that's wrong.


Whatever we have, it's enough. Because God can bring great things out of a little. And don't get caught up into thinking we're only talking about material things. Whether it's fishes or loaves or joy or happiness or contentment, God can do all kinds of great things…material, spiritual, or emotional…in our lives.


Think about the expectations of the people in this story. The crowd was after healings. Philip was all about the money to buy food. Andrew was all about how all this food can't possibly feed all these people. He was expecting failure.

Listen to what Jesus does next. With everything swirling around him, Jesus says, "Have the people sit down." The Greek word used here - sit down - literally means "to recline." In other words, everyone sit down, relax, I've got it covered.


Oh, how we need to hear that in our lives. The world is starving for those simple words. Jesus is here. Relax. It's all going to be okay.

I think the most trusting person in the story is the little boy. He doesn't appear to make a squeak when Jesus borrows his meager vittles. He trusts Jesus. And he knows Jesus will not disappoint.


Are you expecting God to do great things in your life? Let's end with a question:


How will the way God works change the way you act when you face a problem or a difficult circumstance?

How will the way God works change the way you act when you face a problem or a difficult circumstance?

Philip thought there was too great a need. Andrew thought there were too few resources. How will the person of Jesus Christ inform how you look at those things in your life?


That's a question we all need to answer.

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