From The Desk Of Pastor Toby Powers
Truth Baptist Church, Bremen, GA
A LITTLE LAD, A LITTLE LUNCH, AND A LARGE MIRACLE
Intro: The passage begins with “After these things...” That seems to be an odd way to begin a story... by saying AFTER. So it begs the question, after what things?
* After These Things: It was after John the Baptist had been imprisoned for preaching against Herod’s adultery in taking his brother’s wife. It was after Herodios sent her daughter to perform a salacious dance for Herod as a birthday gift. It was after Herod in the heat of his lust promised her anything she requested up to half of the kingdom. It was after Herodios advised her to demand as her gift the head of John the Baptist who had preached against her adultery might be brought to her in a charger. It was after John was buried by Jesus’ disciples, according to Matthew’s account in Matt 14:12. Then, when the disciples had told Jesus of it, he took them away for a time of mourning and prayer.
* Because Of His Miracles: v. 2, the crowd followed him. Many just wanted to see him perform some trick, display some fanciful whirligig. Some sought for help for their situation. Others just wanted to find out what the truth was about this man of whom they had heard so much. And they followed him.
* Jesus Went Up Into A Mountain: v. 3, he and his disciples were going there to be alone, considering the circumstances. They were weak, exhausted, discouraged, and likely afraid. Herod had already compared Jesus to John the Baptist. Many of them were John’s disciples before having followed Jesus in the way. Would they be next? Would the sword of Herod seek them out? What would become of their lives, ministries, and families? They had no desire at all to minister at this time. They simply wanted to be alone to sort things out.
BUT... in the middle of all this turmoil and confusion, Jesus lifts up his eyes and sees a great crowd following. He asks Phillip where they can get something to give them to eat (v. 5). In Matthew 14:15 the disciples asked the Lord to send the multitude away, but he commanded them to give them something to eat. They didn’t have any money, and if they did, where would they buy? They were not of a mind or a spirit to desire to minister to people, not did they have the means to meet the need. As if beginning to take up a collection, Andrew offers his finding of five loaves and two small fishes that a little boy had there. He knew it wouldn’t be enough, but it was almost as if he thought if all the disciples were to collect a little, they might have enough to get by. But all Jesus needed was a little boy with a little lunch to do a big miracle.
In this account we see the Lord Magnified, The Loaves Multiplied, and the Lad Mystified, or you could say we see the Lord Displayed, The Loaves Duplicated, And The Lad Delighted. While much has been preached on the Lord and the Loaves from this passage, I want to concentrate on the Lad. How was it that a little boy with a little bread and some little fishes was able to be part of such a BIG Miracle? It was so big that it is one of the few recorded in all four of the Gospels. What he did to be in a place of such a blessing is a lesson to us all.
I. HE FOLLOWED THE RIGHT PERSON: Matt 14:13, “they followed him out of all the cities...” And this little boy followed too. But, he was not just a follower, he followed the right person.
A. Had he followed a disciple... they didn’t want to feed them. They wanted to just send them away. They were short on resources.
B. Had he followed Herod... He might have had his head cut off
C. Had he followed the crowd... He would have been hungry as would have all the rest.
D. But he FOLLOWED JESUS God used him and his fish for a great miracle.
The disciples thought they had no resources to feed the people. They felt they had no strength to minister to the people. They didn’t expect that God was going to do anything for the people, but Jesus took a little lad with a little lunch and worked a Big Miracle. We wonder why, how, if, but we just have to follow the right person, and when you feel the least able to minister to someone else may be when God uses you in the greatest way
II. HE FELLOWSHIPPED WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE: Think about the crowd he was among that day. That little boy was in good company, and so are we if we are saved.
A. Andrew: a witness. He is the one who brings Peter to Christ. He is a witness. He is not prominent, like Peter. He is not the center of attention, like John, but he is always bringing someone to Jesus. He is the one who had been talking with this lad. Thank God for somebody who talked with me as just a boy about Jesus You didn’t have to be someone prominent or important for Andrew to tell you about Jesus; he wanted to tell everyone about him. It was Andrew, along with Philip who is also featured in this story, who brought the Greeks to see Jesus (John 12:20-22). He was a witness. When you fellowship with a witness of Christ, like Andrew, you are in good company
B. Philip: a preacher. Philip had been a disciple of Jesus for all of two verses (John 1:43-44) before he was preaching to Nathaniel saying “We have found him ” What a blessing to be this little lad in the fellowship of the men of God like Philip. As a child I sat at meals with such great preachers and grew up among it and didn’t even know then how to appreciate it. Oh, but I do today.
C. The Believers In Christ: the church. This little lad was privileged to be among those standing on a hillside following Jesus. The world said: they are in a desert place; they are hungry; they are sick and needing a miracle; they are weak and pitiful; and they have nothing to eat among all of them but a few hush puppies and a couple fish sticks, but the world can’t see what God is going to do Stay among the church. Stay with God’s people. It may seem dry, deserted, difficult sometimes, but the flesh cannot see what God is about to do But Jesus already knows (v. 6)
III. HE FORGOT ALL HIS PASSIONS: Think about this... where are all this little lad’s friends? There were not a host of children there with sack lunches, just this lad. It seems as if he was the only one his age who really wanted to follow Jesus like this. Young people, hear me It seems as if he was the only one who had left off his other pursuits, but he was also the only one who got to be used in this great miracle God will reward you for serving him, even if you are the only one
A. He Forgot Fishing: you ever thought that this lad may have caught these two puny fishes himself? Very little is more appealing than fishing to a country boy about 12 years old. This kid may have been fishing, caught a couple little fish, and left the creek bank to go with God.
B. He Forgot His Friends: Back at the creek a little band of buddies were gathered with fishing lines saying that this lad was REALLY missing out, but he was where Jesus was. As a 13 yr old boy, I left the creek bank. I left my buddies I was sitting with and responded to the call of God to be saved. They sat on the pew, but I went to the altar. A few months later, I left them even further behind when I surrendered to the call of God to preach. Most of them remained my friends. Some of them got saved. Many of them would see me at 15-18 years old and say, “Man, you are missing it. You wouldn’t believe what a good time we are having.” My flesh would want to go with them, but my spirit hungered inside me to be with Jesus, even if it was in a desert place. Then, he would bless me. Some Friday night while my friends were in the world, God would send a miracle for me preaching some revival or youth meeting.
C. He Followed Jesus: There is something found following Jesus that can’t be found at the fishing hole, the ball fields, or the other places of this world
D. He Fed A Multitude: Well, Jesus fed them, with his lunch. God used him in a great miracle.
Conclusion: v. 11-13, All were fed. All were full. All the fragments were kept, so that none was lost. Though they had just a little, they had all they needed, and they used all they had. Nothing Jesus does goes to waste. You may feel small and insignificant. You may feel like these disciples and do not have the energy, emotion, or drive to minister to anyone. You may be the only one like this little boy and wonder how Jesus could ever use you, but just put yourself in the hands of the master. Give him all you have. He will use it all, multiply it all, and will waste none You can serve him and others for God’s glory.