Scripture Text: John 6: 1-15
INTRO: In the 6th chapter of John’s Gospel there is recorded a miracle of Jesus with which many folks are familiar – even unbelievers. It is the story of the “feeding of the 5,000” and, of course, it causes us to marvel at the power of the Lord. In this story, there are four (4) great lessons for us about trusting the Lord with our lives. Tonight I want to run through that story and offer an overview of those lessons. Please PRAY with me before we go on.
I. JESUS IS MORE INTERESTED IN BLESSING PEOPLE THAN GATHERING CROWDS. (1-5)
A. Jesus was in Galilee to the north and a crowd had begun to follow Him around to watch the miracles He was doing. Apparently, many of these were pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover Feast. Jesus, in His typical heart of compassion, decided to address the needs of that crowd.
B. We ought to be about doing our mission out of obedience rather than out of a desire for fame and fortune. In this case, Jesus blessed the crowd, but I don’t think anyone would doubt He would have done the same thing if it had been only one hungry follower. Yes, we are to reach the world, but we are to do so for the sake of Jesus and for the needs of the people, not for our own sake!
II. JESUS IS INTERESTED IN HOW HIS DISCIPLES APPROACH PROBLEM-SOLVING. (5b-8)
A. We are told here that Jesus knew what He was about to do, but He still asked Philip a question, in order, as the Scripture says, “to test him.” What was the test about? James tells us in Jm.1:3 “the testing of your faith produces endurance.” That means it calls us to never give up on a problem of how to serve people, but to hold on to faith. In vs. 12, James adds, “a man who endures trails is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life.” Jesus was steadily building the faith of His followers to not be afraid of problems, but to see them as opportunities to grow knowing that Jesus can always provide.
B. Every day, as we go about the mission of blessing those in need, we will encounter problems, some which are far beyond our ability to deal with successfully. Maybe it will cost too much money we don’t have, or it may be a job we can do, but our resume looks too weak to get us a chance, or maybe we don’t have a clue how to take care of loved one who is ill. Remember, Jesus is aware of our concerns and needs. We must assess the situation, see if there is something we have overlooked, and, above all, pray and trust the Lord to lead us in the right way. As we will see, no problem, even if we can’t imagine how, is not too hard for our Lord – so quit worrying and start moving forward in prayer and action.
III. JESUS CAN AND WILL USE THOSE WILLING TO BE USED, REGARDLESS OF THEIR ABILITIES. (9,11)
- Among the crowd there was a child who had a child’s portion to eat on the way to the festival. Now, understand, others may have had food, but either it was not prepared or they would not part with it. But the boy was willing to offer his small gift. And Jesus accepted it as enough.
- You may believe you have nothing of real value with which to serve the Lord. You may gaze around and think “I am insignificant among all these people.” But Jesus delights in taking things the world believes to be inconsequential and doing great things with them. The key is to offer yourself and your gifts, no matter how slight they may seem to you, and let Jesus amaze you and all those around you. Don’t hesitate and don’t be ashamed, He will do the impossible through your faith.
IV.JESUS BLESSES WITH BENEFITS. (10-13)
- Just to have small bite to tide them over would have been a blessing to that crowd, but notice how Jesus provides. First, He made them comfortable. Why would John have mentioned the abundance of grass? People in those days were used to sitting on rocks or standing. But Jesus has picked out a place for them to rest, He asks them to sit down, and though we are not specifically told this, the grass indicates possible water availability and maybe some relief from the heat of the day. Then, He feeds the crowd (5,000 men and how many others? It was Passover crowd.) And He doesn’t give them just a snack, it says, “[He gave them] as much as they wanted.” For traveling men, that could be a lot! Then, He has His disciples gather up leftovers, (probably to send with them. His group could not carry them and He would not gather them to let them waste). It was a full and overflowing blessing.
- Jesus will give you what you need if you trust and ask Him. He will give you more than you need and in a surprisingly, fulfilling way. In other words, it will satisfy you. Now, we must receive it with gratitude and faith. We are not to be grumblers like Israel was even though God had provided them ongoing food because their selfish desires refused to be satisfied with His blessing. It will be enough and it will bring you joy and peace if you will receive it in faith.
CONCLUSION: vs. 12-13.
As our text pointed out earlier, Jesus did not use His power to build an earthly kingdom. He had no desire for such a thing because He knew it would hinder His purpose. He blessed and served people because He loved them – not to gain selfishly from them. We must learn to do the same. We do not bless or serve to receive earthly recompense, but to please our Father in heaven and to show His love fall people. If you run across a person in need of God’s blessing, serve them without despising the
small opportunity. And if you need to feed 5,000, don’t worry. Your Savior can take care of it. Just offer what you have and trust Him. You will have more than enough!