Intro: There is a school of thought called Naturalism. It teaches this: we have nature around us, and nature is all there is. There is no “supra-“ or “super-“ nature, so anything that we find in the written record of the New Testament that suggests a supernatural event must be rejected out of hand. If we are naturalists, we cannot believe in the supernatural, ergo, anything that pretends to be supernatural must be rejected as unscientific and irrational.
The feeding of the five thousand is one of those instances.
In the New Testament, there are only two miracles recorded in all four gospels. The resurrection (well that’s obvious) and feeding of the 5,000 (why this particular miracle?). Today’s message is based on the latter. Although the four gospels describe the miracle in slightly different ways, all of them describe the outcome in a similar fashion – “And all eat, and were filled.” Productivity is a notable fact in Jesus’ ministry and the ministry of the twelve
Fun fact: John’s desire to tell us who said what is the reason Thomas got stuck with the infamous, “Doubting Thomas.” For some reason “Practical Philip” didn’t catch on, though.
Three lessons from the loaves and fishes
1. Never judge your problems based on your resources. Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the LORD with all heart; and lean not unto your own understanding”.
God has unique sense of humour; He usually asks you to do what He knows is impossible for you to accomplish on your own. (John 6:6 – But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do) How did Philip respond to the test? Remember Philip is the one being tested here. (John 6:7 – Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!”) So, for Philip it all came down to money. But here is my question to you. Was Philip’s assessment of the situation incorrect? “NO”. Philip’s assessment was actually pretty accurate – he was sound in his reasoning and yet he failed the test.
Philip failed the test on two points:
(1) Jesus did not ask him how much it would cost to feed the people;
(2) his assessment was only correct from a worldly perspective. Philip failed to factorin God in his calculations.
2. Put yourself in a position for God to do something big
John 6:8-9 “Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?”
(a) To know the mind of God, one must be in relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit, (1 Corinthians 2:11 – “In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God”.)
(b) You need to come to Church. Online Church is great, but spending time with God’s people puts you in that position for God to do something big.
3. Accept God’s invitation to participate.
John 6:11 “Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted.” his kids could have refused to hand over his lunchbox, remember that this kid didn’t need a miracle; you need to take that little bit of faith that you have, and use it to produce a big miracle. That little bit of forgiveness you have is more than enough for you to show forgiveness to others. That little bit of love you have is more than enough to rebuild that broken relationship.
(1) What is God asking you to do and you are looking at the limitations due to your resources?
(2) What do you have with you that God wants to use, but you can’t let go?