Summary: This is Chapter 4 of John On the Run: A Survey of the Bible New Testament Book of John. Pick up a copy of this book at https://www.amazon.com/John-Run-Survey-Bible-Testament-ebook/dp/B01MXR29PB/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 .
At the time of this writing, I serve God at what would be considered a small church in a small town. The members have heard me say a time or two, “I do not serve at a mega church but I do serve a mega God!” I have seen God do many, many, tremendous things for me and my family right here from this small church in a small town.
I have been blessed to serve on the National, State and the District level; although I serve at a small church in a small town. My wife also serves at all levels as well. God told me to feed his sheep and I took what I had and began to feed His sheep. Maybe God gives us these opportunities because He knows how to take our little and He makes much of it for His glory. In today’s lesson, we will be reminded as to how God can make much out of little!
The Test of Faith (John 6:1-6)
The test of faith in this text begins with a crowd being formed in a desolate place. Jesus’ ministry is becoming more and more popular and the people are following Him wherever He goes. Jesus is what we would call today a rock star. The people witness Jesus preforming miracles by healing the sick. Even though food was not available, the people still came. Men, women, and children were coming to their own MegaFest. You have to remember most of these people traveled by foot. You also have to remember there were not any fast food restaurants or grocery stores. Most of these people did not pack a lunch. The people just followed Jesus without regard to eating along the way. The people that met Jesus in the wilderness was completely spontaneous. Jesus then ask a peculiar question to test the disciples faith. This reminds me of the peculiar miracle of turning water into wine. How were they supposed to know that Jesus can feed the five-thousand people? It is possible that they should have known as they were witness to the miracle of the wine. In John 6:5-6 it states, “ When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”
He asked this only to test them, because he already had in mind what he was going to do. This was a pop quiz for the disciples. Did they have faith in Jesus? Would the disciples pass the test? Or, would the disciples flunk the test? Let’s see.
The Trinket of Faith (John 6:7-9)
Here is the question, “Where shall we buy bread for the people to eat?” This was a two- fold answer. The first answer to the question was really not a answer, but an observation. The observation came from Philip who answered the pop quiz of faith. He said, “It would take a half a year’s wage to fed all these people.” In modern economics, it would have taken about $7,540.00 to fed the people at this spontaneous luncheon. This calculation includes the $7.25 minimum wage in America times a forty hour work week times six months of wages.
The MacArthur Study Bible says, “ The silver denarius was first issued around 211 BC and originally weighed about 4.5 grams, but lost some weight through the ages.” It is difficult to determine the value of a denarius today, but it's value with respect to bread is estimated to be around $20.00 in US currency. Also, in the early empire this would have been equal to the daily wage of a common laborer. So withstanding this estimate, 200 denarii would have been equal to 8 months of pay and had would have an approximate value of about $4000 US dollars.
The second answer to the spiritual pop quiz came from Andrew which was not an answer, but an observation. Andrew’s observation was in the trinket of a little boy’s lunch box.
In John 6:8-9, it states, “Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” All of the disciples flunked the test. However, Andrew was the closest of the disciples with the right answer. An observation without faith is just an examination that will not produce the fruit of faith.
The Taste of Faith (John 6:10-15)
Jesus took the observation of Andrew and mix some faith into the situation and with the wisdom of God, it produced a miracle. Without the faith of Jesus, this crowed would have never tasted the miracle of God on this day. It states in John 6:10-11, “Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in the area where the people were sitting. There were about five thousand men, not counting the women and children. Jesus then took the loaves and gave thanks to the Lord. The disciples were given the authority to distributed to the loaves and people ate as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. Jesus told them to get into the formation for a miracle. The formation of a miracle was to sit them down to get ready to eat. Jesus than start the motion of the miracle when He started to break the bread. The people started to taste the miracle of faith. On this day the people and the disciples could eat as much as they could eat!