Summary: where is Jesus when you really need him???
Now you’re probably wondering why I would call the feeding of the five thousand a disaster.
Well I suppose on the surface,
this feeding miracle seems to have been successful
after all every one was fed,
that in itself must give the miracle some level of success.
But the point of this miracle was not to set a world record for the biggest open air picnic, was it.
Jesus was also not trying to perform a cheap party trick. Nor did Jesus just want to give them a nice fish supper to send them on there way.
So what was the purpose of this miracle?
What was it that Jesus was trying to communicate with these fish sandwiches? .
It seems that Jesus probably hoped that the crowd would do what he always hoped the crowd would do,
- give glory to God for what they had seen and tasted.
Jesus probably hoped that by demonstrating the miracle working power of God,
people’s lives would be changed, for good.
Maybe this miraculous feeding did change lives,
maybe, just maybe it made people stop and think about what direction their lives were taking,
maybe many of the crowd made a decision to live their lives to the glory of God,
and Maybe many of them also decided that they wanted to follow Jesus as disciples too.
All of these are possible
but it certainly doesn’t seem like that is what happened,
it doesn’t seem like the crowd decided to follow Jesus Because immediately after the meal Jesus dismisses the crowd,
he sends them away each to their own home.
These people were like sheep without a shepherd,
yet the parting words of Jesus were not take up your cross and follow me.
The crowd had failed to understand who Jesus is,
as they munched away they failed to grasp who Jesus is. The feeding was a failure and so Jesus’ parting words were go home you stomachs are full.
It seems that the contentment on the faces of the crowd, was not due to them having witnessed God at work in their lives
but because there stomachs were full.
Jesus probably also hoped that the disciples would finally recognize that this man who stood before them was more than just a prophet,
that he was more than just God’s envoy declaring the news of the coming kingdom,
and that he was more than just a great teacher,
but that this man,
was God made flesh,
the promised messiah.
For the disciples it seems that old Murphy was at work in their lives again,
and that Murphies law was once again ruling over them. because once again the disciples got it wrong,
once again they ended up with their feet firmly wedged in their mouths
as once again they missed the point of the miracle.
They should have seen the hand of God at work through Jesus,
God made flesh,
instead it seems that all they saw was a delicious fish supper.
Neither the crowd or the disciple caught on to what Jesus wanted to achieve.
A good meal had been had by all
but apart from that nothing else had been achieved,
the crowd definitely went home with full stomachs
but there souls were probably still hungry.
A disaster of Kingdom size proportions had occurred and so Jesus saw no other option but to send every one on their own separate ways,
The disciples he sent to the other side of the lake,
the crowd he sent to their homes,
and Jesus sought out the solitude of a mountain and the comforting of his heavenly father.
And so the discipels were alone.
As they set sail on the lake that night
you can’t help feeling that as they rubbed their swollen, full bellies,
and thought about the events of the day
that there was a sense of complacency in their minds.
They probably felt quite pleased with themselves as they rowed towards the opposite shore of the lake.
And pleased with them selves they should be,
after all the disciples were going about doing the work of God’s kingdom weren’t they
storing up brownie points in heaven.
And weren’t they as disciples following God’s envoy, Jesus,
that must put them in a good light with God,
they probably thought it gave them a certain amount of diplomatic immunity as well.
And all they had to was follow Jesus,
listen to his every word and observe his every action.
The disciples probably felt life was getting really quite cruzzy.
They may not have had two pennies to rub together,
or a place to lay their heads
but as long as they were following a man like Jesus they would never starve,
after all hadn’t they just witnessed this man feed over five thousand people with just a few stale fish sandwiches.