What do you have today? What do you need today? Usually when I ask this question of people, they typically respond about their needs. They may have plenty, but it is their needs that have hooked their attention.
Now when I was new in Christ, I thought and felt exactly the same way as many, and it took quite a while for me to realize the error of my ways. I used to always sing hymns about Jesus being all I needed, but I never actually understood or meant it.
As we continue our series on the goodness and blessings of Jesus, today we will be looking at His provision, and how our attitude can make all the difference in exactly how much we receive from Him.
Our main scripture text today is found in John 6:5-14, and while this account can be found in all four Gospels, there is a specific reason why we are reading from John.
“When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come to him, he says to Philip, Where will we buy bread, that these may eat?
And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.
Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.
One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, says to him,
There is a lad here, which has five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?
And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.
When they were filled, he said to his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above to them that had eaten.
Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.”
There is a lot of detail here in these verses, so we are going to take it point by point one at a time.
First we have the perceived obstacle. There is a large crowd of people that need to be fed, and the disciples have no food for them. Now as I have said before, whenever the Bible records a conversation, or the words spoken, it is always for a reason; nothing is ever in the Bible by accident, nor is it ever merely filler.
Here we can see the attitude of the disciples, in contrast to the attitude of Jesus. The disciples saw lack, Jesus saw provision. The disciples saw failure, Jesus saw an opportunity… And specifically an opportunity for ministering the Grace of God, based on His total confidence of the success of the miracle about to happen. He knew what He was going to do.
Those who are looking to perform miracles can learn something from this. You must always see an opportunity for the ministry of God in every situation. Where others see lack, you must see fullness and the opportunity for the Grace of God to shine in that situation. Although it may appear hopeless to the natural eye, things are never truly hopeless with God. Where the disciples tried to solve the problem by natural means – going to the market and buying bread – Jesus instead knew where the provision was going to come from. The market wasn’t going to get any glory today, it was to be God’s glory alone.
Second, we have the offering. This is so beautiful, because it shows us that God does not care how great or how small we are. When we bring ourselves and what we have (no matter how meager) and willingly submit it to Jesus, He turns it into something special!
We have here a boy, who brings five loaves of bread, and two fish – and this is why we read in John today, because he went in to greater detail and specified that they were “small fish”. See it doesn’t matter what we have, as long as we give it to Christ, He will make it wonderfully perfect.
Next we have the command of Christ, “Make the people sit down”. The actual text is “recline/rest”. And this is the main task of any believer in Christ, rest in the provision and care of God. Rest in the work of Christ and stop trying to use yourself or your own efforts.
As I stated at the beginning of this message, I used to sing songs about Jesus being the provider and all that I needed, but I never really understood or believed it. And there may be some of you today who feel the exact same way. But as you continue t learn of Christ, see His goodness, see His character and love for you, you will trust Him more and you will be strengthened in your faith where you can truly trust Him in all things.
Those who want to receive miracles from Him should simply rest in His word and in His love, do not focus on the how or why of the miracle itself, but just rest in Christ and He will provide.
Then next we see the faith of Jesus as He gave thanks before braking and distributing the bread. Do you think He gave thanks for just the five loaves and two fish? Personally, I believe He gave thanks for the multitude being completely fed. I think He said “Thank you Father for feeding this entire crowd until they are completely satisfied. Amen.” And I believe He meant every word of that thankful prayer also.
And this brings us to our final point as we close today, “Each one ate as much as they would”. His supply exceeded the demand, and the food stopped multiplying only when the people said “enough, I’m full.”
There’s more, but my time is up for today.
My friends, we limit God. We limit Him in what we take from Him, and we limit Him in what we expect from Him. Let’s agree today, to let God demonstrate His goodness without our own ideas and limits getting in the way. Just rest and receive from Him, it’s paid for by Jesus!