Summary: Will God take care of us? What about cancer, catastrophe or death? Let’s learn the truth about God’s control over life’s trials. Let’s look at John’s version of the feeding the 5000 and Jesus walking on water in John 6:1-21.
Will God take care of us? What about cancer, catastrophe or death? Purpose: Let’s learn the truth about God’s control over life’s trials. Plan: Let’s look at John’s version of the feeding the 5000 and Jesus walking on water in John 6:1-21.
1 The Setting
John 6:1 After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased. 3 And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples. 4 Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near.
It was about Passover time, a spring festival in the Northern Hemisphere, a week-long according to the Jewish liturgical calendar in Leviticus 23. It starts as the sun sets beginning the 15th of the first month. That first night is celebrated with the Passover meal and no leavened bread is eaten for the remainder of the week. Holy assemblies begin and end the week. It was near this time that Jesus crossed the sea of Galilee and sat on a hill with his disciples. A huge expectant crowd kept following him. Why were they following him? It was because they saw his miraculous signs. Weak in faith, many were later offended and left. Faithful ones stumbled, as did all twelve of the apostles, but eventually stayed to the very end.
Church membership is not like a club where we go to be fed or have our needs met. Church membership is a calling from God. We should ask God whether or not He is calling us to a particular church, not whether or not all our needs are being met. The disciples were not the crowd. They were called to serve, not be served. Those sitting on the grassy slopes were not yet believers. Like Israel at the Exodus Passover, many of them later complained. There are always complainers. Even seeing the miracle of the Exodus and the Manna, they complained. God did not let that complaining generation into the promised land.
2 Miracle Food
John 6:5 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?” 6 But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. 7 Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”
Jesus asks a significant question. Where would they buy bread to feed all these people? He knew the answer, but as a master teacher He was testing his student Philip, preparing for the lesson. Jesus often referred to where He, or the miracle wine, or the Spirit, or the living water, or His other miracles came from. Where does our ultimate help come from? Is Jesus prompting us with the same question today? Philip, the adult, says it would take months of income to pay for enough food.
John 6:8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, 9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”
But, a young boy offers five loaves of bread made from barley and two fish. Can we also learn from the naive faith of our children? Do we say, we can’t afford it and do nothing, or do we say, we have scarce resources, let’s pray and ask what God has in mind? Wheat bread was common. Barley was a poor man’s bread and the fish may have been dried or preserved. The boy’s food may have been mum’s generous lunch for one.
John 6:10 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. 11 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.
Jesus gave thanks. Eucharist means to give thanks. Jesus’ miracle of turning water into wine ties into Holy Communion, the greatest meal of all, the meal that represents His sacrifice for us. Breaking bread is another term for the Eucharist. Like the Manna in the wilderness, God had again provided.
John 6:12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” 13 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. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.