Summary: Christ Jesus thought some leftover fish and bread was important enough to be gathered up. How much more important are the fragments of your life?
John 6: 1 – 21 So That Nothing May Be Lost
I. The story of the miraculous feeding occupied a central place in the oral tradition about Jesus. It is the only miracle story that occurs in all four gospels. In fact, Matthew and Mark even tell the story twice. There are basically three ways to understand this miracle of Jesus:
A. We may believe it is simply a miracle in which Jesus literally multiplied loaves and fishes even though he refused to do the same thing when the devil tempted him to turn stones into bread.
B. We can believe it was really a sacramental meal because in the rest of the chapter the language of Jesus is exactly the language of the Last Supper.
C. It may be that the people had their own provisions but were unwilling to share them because the little they had wouldn’t feed everyone. But when the food of a small boy was offered, it changed selfish men and women into a fellowship of sharers. In that case, the miracle was changed men and women, not loaves and fishes.
II. Believe what you will of the three theories. When I read this familiar story, my eyes were drawn to a phrase in verse 12 I did not remember reading previously: “So that nothing may be lost.”
A. When there was a large celebration of meal it was the custom at the time of Jesus to leave something for the servants and the poor. Just as we use the word “leftovers” for those fragments left after meals, there is a Greek word used in the same context. It is the word Peah and that is the word used here. Jesus was concerned about leftovers!
B. I have preached many times on this passage. Usually, my emphasis has been to use the passage to remind us to be good stewards of what God gives us. All that we have will not fill us like the blessings that come from God.
C. Anyone who has ever had a garage sale knows about “peah” or “leftovers.” But why was Jesus so concerned about all those fragments, those leftovers, those things that no one in the crowd wanted any more?
III. As I’ve struggled this week over this phrase, I’ve finally come to a realization. Whatever has happened in your life or in the life of the church, God wants to gather up the fragments that remain “so that nothing may be lost.” You may even feel like YOU are a “peah,” “leftover.”
A. In the story about David and Bathsheba that was read today, when David realized what he had done, how he had dishonored God, he did not throw in the towel and resign as king. He went on to do great things and be loved and respected by his people. Why? Because God uses fragments “so that nothing may be lost.”
B. Maybe you feel you’ve really messed up your life and you are not where you planned or hoped you would be when you were older. I have discovered there are very few people who feel they are EXACTLY where they planned to be when they were 21. SO?
C. There is nothing you can do about the past. You can do something about the future. Though you feel it is too late and you have so little time left, God can use even the fragment that remains.
Conclu: My mother, God and Christ Jesus could all use leftovers. Christ Jesus thought some leftover fish and bread was important enough to be gathered up. How much more important are the fragments of your life? Let Him gather them and use them to do great miracles “so that nothing may be lost.”