Summary: When God tests your faith... When He challenges you to do more than you’ve ever done with your life... I want you to see what a great opportunity He’s given you. I believe that our greatest work is just around the corner… This sermon was adapted from a
An English teacher and her class were studying well known Proverbs.
One day she gave them a test to see how well they were understanding what she taught.
She would state the first half of a proverb and then asked the students to come up with the rest of what it said. These were some of the answers that the teacher got from her students on that quiz:
It’s always darkest before... Daylight Savings Time.
Never underestimate the power of… termites.
Don’t bite the hand that … looks dirty.
If you lie down with dogs, you’ll… stink in the morning.
An idle mind is… the best way to relax.
A penny saved is… not much.
Two’s company, three’s… the Musketeers.
Children should be seen and not… spanked or grounded.
If at first you don’t succeed… get new batteries.
When the blind leads the blind… get out of the way.
Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and… you have to blow your nose.
These students had studied those parables for several days but they still had trouble with the right answers.
Jesus’ disciples had been with Him for several months they still kept tripping over the right answers.
While they had been with Jesus, His disciples had watched Him as He had…
• healed a Leper – Mat 8:1
• healed the servant of a Roman centurion– Mat 8:5
• healed Peter’s mother in law – Mat 8:14
• and He’d also healed numerous people who’d evil spirits and various diseases – Mt 8:16
and they had even seen him
• raise a girl from the dead – Mat 9:25
They had witnessed His power up close and personal.
But here we find them and surely they are tired, it’s late in the day. They’re on a hill out in the middle of nowhere and they’ve got a bunch of hungry people on their hands.
Being practical men, the disciples suggest that Jesus send the people home so they can get something to eat.
At this point, Jesus says one of the most unusual things He’s ever said to them:
He says in Matthew 14:16 "They do not need to go away. YOU give them something to eat."
Well, that wouldn’t seem too crazy… except for two things
1. There are 5000 MEN (not counting the women and children) in this crowd
2. And they don’t have any KFC’s or MickyD’s, no King of Burgers to get enough food for that many people
The Gospel of Mark tells us that when Jesus says that they should feed the crowd, they immediately began complaining.
Mark 6:37“they said to him, ‘That would take eight months of a man’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?"
In John’s account, we see that Jesus had been talking to Philip when he was telling them that they should feed the crowds. And John 6:6 says “He asked this only to TEST him [Philip], for He [Jesus] already had in mind what he was going to do.”
There is something we need to think about here;
When you look at all the miracles that had done up to this point you can clearly see that Jesus had been doing all the work.
He taught the people
He healed people
He raised people from the dead
And the disciples pretty much were along for the ride.
Just like every good teacher…there’s always a test.
Just like that teacher setting the stage, by citing the first part of the parables to her class, and then expected them to fill in the blanks. Jesus has set the stage for His disciples.
He’s given them an impossible situation
He has set before them approximately 15,000 hungry people (5000 men, plus women and children) and He says “You feed them.”
How do they answer Jesus?
We don’t have enough money AND we don’t have enough food
These were not the answers Jesus was looking for…But you have to admit… it was the truth.
If these are the wrong answers what’s the right answer? give Jesus what you have and let Him deal with the solution
Hebrews 11:6 says “But without faith [it is] impossible to please [Him], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and [that] He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Even when we have nothing much to bring to the table, He will make it work. His strength makes up for our weaknesses. That is the essence of faith.
3 things I want you to see from this passage.
1. The first thing I want you see is: God wants to stretch our faith.
God wants to do things in and through us that can only be done in His power. He wants us to do things that WE can’t do on our own.