Summary: Jesus shows us thanks in all things
Apprenticing under the Master Thanksgiving Sunday 2007
The Feeding of the Five Thousand
I have to admit that I have preached from this story before at Thanksgiving, and I’ve mentioned this story in the last 2 out of three sermons! But the reason I return to it is that I can’t get away from it.
In the beginning of the chapter, Jesus goes back to his hometown, and the people he grew up with rejected him and his ministry – it says he was amazed at their lack of faith. After they leave town, Jesus sends his 12 disciples out to minister – they teach, and drive out demons and heal the sick. Can you imagine the risk that Jesus is taking – he is sending out Peter, “say anything Peter:” the guy who said “I didn’t know what to say, so I said this…” He is sending out James and John who just asked him if they should call fire down from Heaven to burn up the people that rejected Jesus. He is sending out Simon, the revolutionary, Matthew the Tax Collector, Judas the thief and betrayer. The only one I might be comfortable sending out is Andrew – he’s such a good guy. I have trouble letting my kids walk home from School, never mind letting these guys out to minister in my name! But do you remember what Rob Bell said last week? You and I might not believe in them, they might not believe in themselves, but Jesus Believes in them. He believes that, in God’s power they can do what he does.
As they are out and Jesus is alone and without his friends, his cousin, and friend John the Baptist is murdered by King Herod. It is a dirty murder – Herod had stole his brother’s wife and married her, John was teaching that this was wrong. The queen wasn’t to pleased about being told how to run her life & she got their daughter to manipulate the King into killing John.
John was Jesus’ cousin. They knew each other in utero! John gave a prophetic leap inside his mother, Elizabeth’s womb when she greeted Mary who was pregnant with Jesus. It was John that baptized Jesus, it was John how proclaimed “Look, here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Jesus finds out about his holy friend’s death when his disciples are away. The death of John and the evil in the leadership must have grieved him greatly.
When the disciples come back, They have done it – they did what Jesus did, they healed people, cast out demons & called people to repentance! But, they have little time to debrief with Jesus – people are still coming for healing and deliverance; so much so that Jesus and the disciples can’t even eat.
Do you ever have days like that – the kids are talking to you all at once about different things, the phone won’t stop ringing, the computer is moaning about all the email you haven’t responded to, the project list at work goes into 2009 and you’re still working on 2005, everywhere you look at home there is another job that you have to get to, and your starting to recognize that funny feeling in your belly as hunger since you haven’t had a thing to eat since when?
Jesus says to the disciples, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."
“lets get away, we can talk about your experiences, John’s death, we can eat and sleep.”
So they get into a boat and start sailing to a quiet place on the other side of the lake.
Have you ever gone somewhere to get away from everyone, and found that everyone has got their first? That is what happens to Jesus and the boys. Some track star saw them getting in the boat, guessed where they were going and ran through all the towns all the way encouraging people to come run to catch them.
When they arrive onshore, there is a crowd of people – just the men number 5,000 (it could be that there were only men, since no one packed a lunch)
If that was me, I’d be back in the boat looking for a quiet place, but Jesus had compassion on them.
Jesus sees the crowd and has compassion on them. That blows me away – he and the disciples are exhausted, he is grieving, they just want some rest, and the people will not leave me alone. For most of us, our predominant emotion would not be compassion. If that was me, I’d be back in the boat looking for a quiet place, but Jesus had compassion on them.
If this tells us anything about God, it teaches is that we are never a bother to him. I know people that do not pray because they do not want to bother God with their troubles. Jesus is exhausted, grieving and hungry, and he has compassion on the crowd that ruins his holiday! You cannot “bother” God with your troubles – he will always have compassion on you.