Summary: We can have hope as we face challenges because Jesus is with us.
Big Faith when you have Big Problems
Matthew 14:13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food." 16 Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat." 17 "We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered. 18 "Bring them here to me," he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
The other day I was reading an article about the famine and drought conditions taking place on the other side of the world, in Africa. Have any of you been following that story? It really is quite sad. An estimated 11 million people in Somalia and countries in eastern Africa are at risk of starvation. The reason why is because there has been no rain there for a long long time – the worst drought in a generation, some news reports say. The sad thing is, there is plenty of food in the world to help these people. But our world is sinful, which means that human selfishness and corruption stand in the way of everyone getting fed. News reports describe Somalia’s government as very corrupt, resisting outside groups from coming in to distribute food. It seems like a problem that is too big for anyone to fix.
There are lots of problems like that in the world today, aren’t there? Problems too big for anyone to fix. Earlier this month the problem of the national debt was debated. It’s a big problem. Is it too big for anyone to fix? Do you have any problems that are so big, they seem unfixable? A relationship that has gone bad? Not enough money? Healthy problems that don’t go away? Have you ever had a problem that seemed too big for anyone to fix?
This morning, we’re going to look at Jesus, and his miracle of the feeding of the 5000. We are going to learn how we can have a Big Faith, even as we experience Big Problems in our world. A Christian can have hope and confidence and joy and optimism, no matter how big the problem is in his life. May God give us those blessings as we study of his Word today.
In Matthew 14, we see Jesus, spending time with his disciples in a remote, solitary place, somewhere way up in the hills surrounding the Sea of Galilee. People heard that Jesus was there, and soon a crowd began to gather around him. And as the day went on, the crowd grew and grew, from a few hundred to thousands and thousands of people. Many of these people ran to Jesus because they had medical problems – diseases, illness, deformities, sicknesses – problems too big for anyone to handle – and there in those hills Jesus healed them – no problem was too big for Jesus to handle.
Then the disciples came to Jesus with a big problem – we’re in the middle of nowhere, and thousands of people are getting hungry – send them away, so that they can go and buy food. The people needed to eat, but the people didn’t want to leave Jesus – a big problem. What was Jesus’ answer? “YOU give them something to eat.”
Are you kidding me? How can we do that? All we have here are 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. That’s all we have. Do you see what the disciples were missing? Is that all they really had, as they faced this big problem? Nothing except a little basket of bread and fish? That’s not all they had, is it? What else did they have? Besides that little basket of food, they had Jesus, the Son of God, standing right next to them. The same Jesus who was miraculously healing diseases 5 minutes ago – he was with them – the same Jesus they had seen who had cast out demons, the same Jesus they had seen who raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead – this same Jesus was right there, with them. “All we have are 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish” – not true. Jesus was also right there with them, and that changes everything.