Summary: As we watch Jesus lead the disciples through the process of solving the problem of a hungry crowd we learn important truths about how God would lead us into solutions to our own problems.
Fortifying the Foundations # 14
We take our text this morning from John 6:1-15
6:1Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is,the Sea of Tiberias),John refers to the Sea of Galilee as the Sea of Tiberias because many of his readers knew it by that name. It was probably not called that at the time of this event but was known as the Sea of Galilee 2and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick. 3Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4The Jewish Passover Feast was near. 5When 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?" 6He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. 7Philip answered him, "Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!" 8Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9"Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?" 10Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 11Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. 12When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." 13So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. 14After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world." 15Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. NIV
This story begins with something wonderful; something every one of us is familiar with.
I’m not talking about the miracle at this point. I’m talking about the
I. PROBLEM: Over 5000 hungry people and nothing to feed them
When I’m faced with a problem its hard for me to see anything wonderful about it. What I usually see is another demand being placed on me and frankly, I wasn’t looking for another demand. I was looking for a little relief. Has anyone here noticed that life can get a little demanding?
Here is Jesus and his disciples greatly in need of rest. They have been ministering to a lot of people and decide to cross over the Sea of Galilee and find a little, quaint spot for some R & R.
Jesus can’t go to Jerusalem for the Passover Celebration because the Jewish leaders are laying for him there. Jesus loved his Father’s house. He loved Passover Feast because he, more than anyone else, understood its full significance. But we have already seen what has happened when he attends. Here are the four Passovers in the book of John that date Jesus’ public ministry as a little over three years long:
1. John 2:13 few months into public ministry
2. John 5:1 1 yr. + few months
3. John 6:4 2 yr. + few months
4. John 13:1 3 yr.+ few months
In John 2 Jesus drove the moneychangers out of the temple and a terrible confrontation with the religious leaders followed. Last week we talked about the conflict that occurred after the healing of the man at the Pool of Bethesda. We know that next year when he goes to Jerusalem he is crucified.
If he goes to this Passover he will be killed a year early. So in obedience to the Father he avoids that situation. Isn’t that an awesome illustration of Jesus’ humanity and humility?
How would you handle that if you were God manifest in flesh? I would be tempted to go
and dare them to mess with me. I would have the angels waiting with bolts of lightening in
hand. And if they gave me any trouble we would have “fried Pharisees” that year.
But that is not Jesus’ spirit. “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.”  Jesus graciously, patiently just stays away from Jerusalem.
John the Baptist been recently beheaded by Herod It was the best of times and the worst of times—the worst of times because of the persecution and blood thirst in Jerusalem against God’s prophets; the best of times because of the awesome ministry taking place.