Summary: Jesus didn’t need the 5 loaves and 2 fish to feed the multitude. So, why did He tell His disciples to feed the 5000 with food they didn’t have?
OPEN: An English teacher and her class were studying well known Proverbs. One day she gave them a test to see well they were understanding what she taught. She would state the first half of a proverb and then asked the students to come up with the rest of what it said. These were some of the answers that the teacher got from her students on that quiz:
It’s always darkest before... Daylight Savings Time.
Never underestimate the power of… termites.
Don’t bite the hand that … looks dirty.
If you lie down with dogs, you’ll… stink in the morning.
An idle mind is… the best way to relax.
A penny saved is… not much.
Two’s company, three’s… the Musketeers.
Children should be seen and not… spanked or grounded.
If at first you don’t succeed… get new batteries.
When the blind leadeth the blind… get out of the way.
Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and… you have to blow your nose.
APPLY: Even though the students in that class had studied those parables for several days they still had trouble with the right answers.
And even when Jesus’ disciples had been with Him for several months they still had trouble with getting their answer right.
During the time they’d been with Jesus, His disciples had watched Him as He had…
• healed a Leper – Mat 8:1
• healed the servant of a Roman centurion– Mat 8:5
• healed Peter’s mother in law – Mat 8:14
• and He’d also healed numerous people who’d evil spirits and various diseases – Mt 8:16
and they had even seen him
• raise a girl from the dead – Mat 9:25
They’d seen all of this.
They’d seen His power up close and personal.
But now it’s late in the day – they’re on a hill out in the middle of no-place - and they’ve got a bunch of hungry people on their hands. The disciples are practical men, and they suggest to Jesus that He send the people home so they can get something to eat.
It’s then that Jesus says the most unusual thing to them:
He says: "They do not need to go away. YOU give them something to eat." Matthew 14:16
Well, that would seem like a practical solution… except for two things
1. There are 5000 MEN (besides and women and children) in this crowd
2. And they don’t have anywhere near enough food on hand to feed that many people
The Gospel of Mark tells us another part of the conversation. When Jesus says that they should feed the crowd, “they said to him, ‘That would take eight months of a man’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?" Mark 6:37
Now, the Gospel of John gives us another insight into this story. It says that Jesus had been speaking to Philip when he was telling them that they should feed the crowds. And John 6:6 says “He asked this only to TEST him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.”
This was a test!!!
When I got to looking at all the miracles Jesus had done to that point I suddenly realized what was going on. Up until this point in time… Jesus had been doing all the work.
He taught the people
He healed people
He raised people from the dead
And the disciples pretty much were along for the ride.
But now… it’s test time.
It was like that teacher who set the stage, by citing the first part of the parables to her class, and then expected them to fill in the blanks.
In the same way, Jesus has set the stage for His disciples.
He’s given them an impossible situation
He has confronted them with nearly 15,000 hungry people (5000 men, plus women and children) and He tells His disciples to feed them.
TEST QUESTION: How are YOU going to feed them?
And… how do they answer?
We don’t have enough money - "ehhhh! wrong answer"
We ONLY have 2 fish & 5 loaves - "ehhhh! wrong answer"
Well, if those are the wrong answers… what’s the right answer?
The right answer: give Jesus what you have and let Him deal with the solution
ILLUS: One man once observed that
If God wants 7 - and you can give him 3 - He’ll add 4.
If you give Him 4, He’ll add 3.
No matter what you give Him, He is capable of adding or subtracting whatever He needs to, to get whatever He desires.
Hebrews 11:6 says – “… without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that HE REWARDS THOSE WHO EARNESTLY SEEK HIM.