Summary: Jesus did many miracles but only 2 are told about in all four Gospels. One is the miracle of Jesus' resurrection... and the other is the miracle of the feeding of the 5000. The question is "Why are these 2 the only miracles listed that in all 4?"
(Note: I put a large piece of Matzah bread on the communion table for a physical illustration later in the sermon)
OPEN: (We put a “McDonald’s sign” – without the word McDonalds – up on the screen)
Does anybody recognize this? That’s right, it’s the symbol for McDonalds. The first McDonalds opened in 1940. But, in 1961a different restaurant opened up here in Logansport, IN and it was such a popular eating place that, when McDonald’s tried to open their restaurant on the East side of town, it almost did NOT survive. Do you know the name of that local Restaurant? It’s called “Happy Burger”. One of Happy Burger’s ads once said their “cows weren’t mad… they were happy” (get it? "Happy Burger" had "Happy cows"). They opened in 1961 and ever since McDonalds opened up years later, they have been going toe to toe. Bob Shanks (the founder of the restaurant) has four restaurants in a 15 mile circle, and McDonald’s only has two.
But, I’m pretty sure McDonalds doesn’t have anything to worry about. I did some research online and I discovered that McDonalds is the largest owner of retail property in the world with a little over 14,000 restaurants in the US and over 36,000 in the entire world. McDonald’s is also the nation’s largest purchaser of beef, pork, and potatoes and it is the 2nd largest purchaser of chicken (I think churches buy more than they do).
One site I visited asked: “Is there anything more universal than McDonald's?" Their answer: "No. The golden arches are the most recognized symbol in the world. The restaurant provides food for people in 119 countries.” (http://www.businessinsider.com/amazing-facts-mcdonalds-2010-12)
Everywhere you go the Golden Arches are unmistakable. The moment you see them - you know what they stand for. One of their advertising schemes from the past was to put up a sign that said over 1 million served… Now it’s more like 100 billion served.
APPLY: But one of the most famous eating places in the world actually served only one meal. It’s said that they served 5000 men (not counting the women and children) in one setting. It took place on an isolated hillside just off the shores of the Sea of Galilee and it didn’t cost those families one penny to eat in the presence of Jesus.
As I researched the story we read this morning - I was kind of surprised by one statistic: There are only 2 miracles recorded in ALL FOUR GOSPELS. This one - where Jesus fed the 5000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish. And the other one – the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
My first thought when I read this statistic was… this miracle must have made a deep impression on the disciples for them to have included it in all 4 Gospels. And that’s true.
But there’s something even MORE true…
You see, the Gospels were written down by mortal men (Matt, Mark, Luke, John) but they were authored by the Holy Spirit. That means that God felt these 2 miracles were the most important miracles Jesus did while on earth. If these were the ONLY TWO miracles in ALL 4 Gospels … there’s got be a reason.
So, let’s start by examining what’s taking place here in our story.
Matthew tells us that “the crowds followed (Jesus) on foot from the towns. When Jesus … saw (the) crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”
Mark tells us “(Jesus) had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.”
So Jesus spends the day teaching and healing… and before long it began to get late. And so Jesus asks Philip “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?”
One preacher I read had an interesting take on the conversation that followed:
Philip was a bean counter, a numbers man. According to Phil's calculator there wasn’t enough money to buy ll the food these folks could eat (400 denarii – more than a year’s wages). And while Phil is doing the math, Andy was out hunting down a solution. But Andy’s contribution was fairly pathetic (a child’s lunch of 5 loaves of bread – 2 fish).
But as I read this take on that discussion I noticed something: Jesus didn’t laugh or make fun of either of these disciples. These were practical men who came up with “practical” solutions. They lived in small worlds hemmed in by their limited imaginations.
Do you think Jesus realized that? Of course He did. Jesus fully understood the kind of men that He was teaching, and that’s precisely why He asks Philip: “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” John 6:5
And He asks it so all the others can hear, because everyone knows Philip’s got a solid head on his shoulders. They all know his answer is sensible. So Jesus DELIBERATELY asks Philip… because He wants all of them to THINK! He wants them to understand the impossibility of what He’s about to do.