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Breaking Bread to Belief (John 6:1-15)
Message #9 of "John: A Story to Believe" by Pastor Jeff MacLurg; Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash.; notes from the 9 and 10:45 am services, I pray that my notes are useful to you.
--- Sizing Up the Situation (v. 1-4) ---
Number 1 rule of Racing: Don't run into the wall. Everything else bends, except the wall.
What does God expect from us when we feel like we're running into the wall?
* Jesus' life is a CONSTANT SWIRL OF ACTIVITY.
John had just been beheaded, Jesus was the most sought after speaker in the land at that point. He was too busy even to eat, teaching and healing all day. Finally Jesus said "Guys, we need to get away." But the crowds saw where he was headed, and by the time they got to the other shore, they were waiting for him even there. (About 7-8 miles along the coast, not a long journey.)
* Jesus is plainly MAKING IT KNOWN WHO HE IS.
He wasn't whispering or sneaking around. Jesus was performing signs.
4th of 7 "signs" in John proving Jesus
- Water to wine
- Healing of son
- Raising lame man
- Feeding of the 5,000 - only one of Jesus' miracles (save resurrection) to be captured in all four Gospels
* Jesus is MISUNDERSTOOD.
Drew a lot of people /after/ Jesus, but not a lot of people /to/ him. A number of people left because He said something they didn't like.
A recent TV preacher said that the boy shared his meal with Jesus and people saw it and started sharing their meals and that was the miracle, Jesus turning a bunch of selfish people into a bunch of selfless people. Pffft.... the Bible doesn't say that.
Mark 6:51-52 - Jesus had intended to teach the disciples through the feeding of the 5,000 and prepare them for their ministry. But they didn't get it.
--- Loaf Lessons (v. 5-15) ---
Philip was from the area. "Where should we get some food, Philip?" If anyone knew where to buy bread in the area, it was Philip.
* He was the CALCULATOR.
He was super-practical. He can figure things out, but from a human perspective. He had a spreadsheet for a mind and a pocket-protector for a heart. He's not spiritually perceptive. He comes up with the right answer but the wrong conclusion. (Yikes! This sounds like me.)
* Jesus planned to FIX THAT.
This is far more than a miracle, this is a test and a teaching moment. He sets up situations that may seem like mountains to us to remind us of who He is and Who is climbing up the mountain right alongside us.
We do this... we come up to a situation, look at our finances and decide whether or not God can handle it.
** Never assess a difficulty in the light of your own resources. **
Notice that Philip even infects Andrew. Andrew was the Eeyore of the group. "Here's a little lunch,but what is it amongst so many? It'll never work. We're all going to starve."
Jesus couldn't build his church on a calculator, he needs men of faith.
You're not doing the best you can until you bring God into the equation.
"I'm giving her all she's got, Captain." - not good enough, Scotty.
In this verse, "men" in the original text translates to "men" - so it's safe to estimate that there were also women and children, so probably at least 15,000-20,000 people who were fed that day.
* They were FILLED.
John used a word that was often used to describe 'animals who had pigged out.'
* They were FICKLE.
After they saw the miracle, they wanted to make Him king. If this guy (who can feed us) is in charge, He can help us with the Caesar problem. They weren't looking at Worship, they were looking at Welfare.
What have you done for me lately, Jesus? Do we drift? Do we focus only on the here and now?
Sure, they weren't all calculators and Eeyores, but they all needed to learn.
Luke 9:12-13 - Jesus wasn't asking anyone if they had a good idea, or asking who wanted to be involved. Simply, "Give them something to eat." - it wasn't an option - "I've got a job for you."
* Jesus didn't ask for VOLUNTEERS; he gave ASSIGNMENTS.
If you claim to be a follower of Jesus, expect to be given assignments. Expect them to be *impossible*.
Can you imagine what were going through the disciples as Jesus prayed over this tiny meal? And then Jesus breaks the bread into 12 pieces and passes them to the disciples. Philip's thinking "How am I gonna cover for Jesus on this?" and Andrew's thinking "Why did I even mention this kid's meal?" And then Jesus finishes the prayer and says "Go feed them." So the disciples walk out and pass the baskets (probably little satchels that men often carried in those times, like a "man purse" - you would reach in and pull some out) with the meager contents. But then the people keep passing and passing and passing the basket and before you know it, the people are *STUFFED* and Jesus sends them back out to collect the baskets and the disciples have proof.
All the other miracles (save resurrection) rearrange things, here is continual creation in front of the largest number of people. Probably the second biggest miracle and all the people want from it is a king. This was like Moses and the manna, but much bigger.
* He wants to be KING OF OUR HEARTS, NOT KING OF THE HILL.
--- Life Lessons ---
This was a set-up. Jesus brought all these people to a remote place far from the restaurants and grocery stores and then put the disciples in charge of feeding them.
* In difficult times, THINK IN TERMS OF "GOD"
This was a test of the disciples. Would they look at what they had or would they look at what God can do?
My money, my network, my smarts, my scheming, my (whatever) will never be enough. If I don't look to God, I've failed. When impossibilities come, the first thought that needs to come to mind - God!
Not "What can I do?" but "Where's God in this/What can God do?"
I can't but God can.
When there's more month than money... The fist thought that should come to mind - GOD!
When my friends have failed me.... GOD|
When my friends are hurting and there's nothing I can do... GOD|
When I've lost the one I love... GOD|
When I'm afraid of what's next... GOD!
When I feel like I'm headed right into the wall... GOD|
In difficult times, your first thought should be of GOD|
Don't be a calculator, don't be an an Eeyore, be a believer.
A real miracle - that little boy left home early in the morning and still had food left by mid-afternoon. (haha)
But, seriously, that little boy had no idea when he left home that morning that he had something small to offer which was the basis for a miracle.
* Realize, God can DO AMAZING THINGS when we GIVE HIM EVEN VERY LITTLE.
Barley loaves were considered food fit for animals and "poor people." The fish, only tiny dried-and-salted minnows.