Summary: Why did Jesus send his disciples around after everyone was full to gather up the fragments that remained? It is interesting that we are not told what Jesus had done with the leftover fragments.
SCRIPTURE: ST. JOHN 6:5-14
What an exciting passage of Scripture that should stir us every time we read it. It has always interest me that this particular Miracle is one of a select few recorded in all four Gospel Narratives. It therefore has significance in its teaching to us about Jesus and His work of Salvation. This miracle works on many levels to offer a positive teaching experience. The portion of the lesson where I will place my focus this morning is not from the obvious detail of the text. The Spotlight will shine on a less observed unfolding of the text that many have overlooked in there preparation.
Can I talk to you for just a few minutes from the subject of Leftovers? I am sure we would all admit, we are very blessed as Americans. We are a nation accustomed to the idea of consuming and acquiring more than enough. We are a nation of plenty. This is much of what is wrong with our Country as a whole. We have so much that we are able to enjoy, that we have become a wasteful nation. This is especially true when it comes to our personal consumption. It is part of the norm to Prepare Too Much, More Than Enough. At meal preparation we believe it is always better to have too much rather than not enough.
• We take what is left in the bowls or pots and put it in smaller containers
• We store it in the Fridge
• The next day or two we have what we call Leftovers
• We enjoy the leftovers within the next day or two
• Sometimes in a restaurant we ask for a doggie-bag
• I believe now we ask for a Carry-out
• We take home a portion of a sandwich or a piece of steak to eat later because we are too full to finish it all
• We package our Leftovers to go because we are already thinking about being hungry later in the day or on tomorrow
Here is what I love about Jesus and the Word of God. Jesus used this opportunity as a “testing” or “TEACHING MOMENT.” He gathers the disciples together for a teaching opportunity. The text clearly indicates that Jesus was testing Philip. I don’t know about you, but I am glad that every now and then Jesus does not mind ‘Testing’ us. Not Tempting, there is a big difference between the two. JAMES 1:13 “LET NO MAN SAY WHEN HE IS TEMPTED, I AM TEMPTED OF GOD: FOR GOD CANNOT BE TEMPTED WITH EVIL, NEITHER TEMPTETH HE ANY MAN” The Lord does test us to determine if He can trust us. We will never be moved to the next level in our Christian walk until God knows He can trust us at the next level.
In the other Gospel accounts of the feeding of five thousand, the disciples come to Jesus with the question of how were they going to feed so many? But in this text as recorded by John - we are led to believe that Jesus asked the question of Philip. And Philip responds just as anyone would have looking at the impossibility of the situation. “Philip answered him, ‘Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’” On an earthly level there would not be enough resources to provide even a “snack” to all these people.
• But with God nothing is impossible
• This is exactly where Jesus is leading the people
• Aren’t you glad that God deals with Impossibilities
• Aren’t you glad when it is too hard for us, it’s just right for God
• When everyone else gave up on you
• God looked at you and said it is not impossible
• Aren’t you glad there is nothing too hard for God
• When Society says ‘No’ God say ‘Yes’
• If it is too hard and difficult for us, it is just right for God
• ST. LUKE 1:37 “FOR WITH GOD NOTHNG SHALL BE IMPOSSIBLE”
Maybe Andrew feeling sorry for Philip is why he steps up to the plate here in the text. That’s a good friend that will step up and help you out, especially when it appears to be a losing battle. They step up and give you, if nothing else, moral support. For certainly Andrew did not have a solution to offer either. Andrew then steps into the picture with maybe a little more understanding that Jesus was going to do something miraculous. He comes forward with an offering of food and says, “THERE IS A BOY HERE WHO HAS FIVE BARLEY LOAVES AND TWO FISH, BUT WHAT ARE THEY FOR SO MANY?”
• Maybe the crowd was getting restless and they were trying to find a solution