Summary: In the feeding of the five thousand we find three attitudes believers can have in regards to their situations. God wants to give an abundant supply - spiritual principles involved in receiving abundance.
John 6:1-13 After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased. And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples. Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.” One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?” Then Jesus said, “Make the people 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 them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.
The feeding of the five thousand is the only one recorded by each of the four Gospels, there must be something about it of importance. Jesus supplies the needs of a great crowd by means of five loaves and two small fishes. In healing the sick and in raising the dead, something was amended or restored which already existed; but here was an absolute creation, food was called into existence, which did not exist before. Only one other miracle resembles it—His first, when He made wine out of the water. These two miracles belong to a class by themselves, and it is surely significant, that one reminds us of His precious blood, the other points to His body, broken for us. His other miracles exhibited His power and His work, but this tells that Christ is the Food of God’s people.
John 6:4 the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near - a feast meaning abundance and celebration - typically, believers feeding on Christ! The Passover looks back to the night when the children of Israel feasted on the lamb; but here we see their descendants hungering! The Passover speaks of "Christ our Passover " 1 Cor. 5:7.
This sermon centers on three attitudes that we often deal with as Christians –especially as we relate this to spiritual supply.
He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”
Philip was confronted with a trying situation. The Lord’s design in this was to "prove" or test him. What did Philip reveal? It shows he was occupied with circumstances, the size of the multitude, the cost to feed them. He was looking on the things which are seen and such a look is always a barrier of faith.
Two hundred is a multiple of twenty and in Scripture twenty signifies a vain expectancy, insufficiency, a coming short of God’s appointed time or deliverance so two hundred conveys the same idea in an intensified form. For example, in Genesis 31:41 we learn that Jacob waited twenty years to gain possession of his wives and property; but it was not until the twenty-first that God’s appointed deliverance came. Judges 4:3 we learn that Israel waited twenty years for emancipation from Jabin’s oppression; but it was not until the twenty-first that deliverance came. So in 1 Samuel 7:2 we learn that the ark abode in Kirjath-Jearim for twenty years, but it was in the twenty-first that God delivered it.
What happened to Philip happens to us. A trying, difficult, situation confronts us; each arranged by the hand of the Lord. They are God’s testing of our faith. They are sent to "prove" us. For example a bill comes unexpectedly; how are we to meet it? The morning’s mail brings us news which plunge us into perplexity; how are we to get out of it? Something goes wrong, which threatens to wreck the daily routine; what shall we do? An unanticipated demand is suddenly made upon us; how shall we meet it? How do such experiences find us? Do we look at our resources? Do try to find some solution? Or do our first thoughts turn to the Lord Jesus, who has so often helped us in the past? Here, is the test of our faith. Phil. 4:19 My God shall supply all your need