Summary: Being available to God - The Loaves & Fish
What can God do with your fish? – Luke 9:10-17
Gladstone Baptist Church – 4/12/05 pm
I’ve got a question for you tonight? Who likes Anchovies? Those little fish that people put on pizzas. You either love them or hate them.
Okay, who like sardines? When I was a kid, a typical Sunday lunch consisted of sardines or herrings with salad. But not too many people eat sardines now a days.
I ask you these questions, because there was once a little boy who was going out for a walk around a lake and he took for his lunch 2 little pickled fish like sardines and 5 little bits of bread – they were flat little pita bread, but were hard and brittle. They were made of barley. A simple lunch – actually it was a very basic lunch – the barley bread wasn’t the nicest bread – it was the cheapest bread you could buy and was considered the food of poor people. But this little lunch became famous because God did something miraculous with it.
Turn with me to Luke 9 :10 and read this account with me …
10 When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, 11 but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.
12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”
13 He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” 14 (About five thousand men were there.)
But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 The disciples did so, and everybody sat down. 16 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to set before the people. 17 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
Last week we talked about the training regime that Jesus was putting the disciples through. He sent them on a preaching mission and they went out and went through all the villages teaching about the Kingdom of God. After they had had returned, Jesus gathered them up and listened to their stories of how God had blessed them and then they withdrew for some well earned R&R – well that’s what they thought.
John’s account of this miracle tells us that they jumped into a boat and headed across the lake of Galilee. He was heading to a town called Bethsaida. He knew the disciples needed some time away from people, but the crowds that were still gathering around him in Capernaum, saw them leave and the crowds walked the bank of the lake following the disciples. They were hungry for more of Jesus. Such that when they arrived in Bethsaida, they were welcomed by the crowd and so Jesus sat down and began to teach them again and heal many. Remember last week we said that preaching and healing were Jesus’ primary ministries – here they are again (vs 11).
By late afternoon (3pm) the disciples were starting to get a bit tired. They knew many of these people had a 7km walk home and so they suggested that Jesus send them away so they could find some food and somewhere to stay as it was unlikely that many would walk home at night. But Jesus turned and said “You give them something to eat”.
It is fascinating that Jesus turns the question back on them. He is wanting to start giving his apprentices more responsibility and more accountability. They’ve just survived I don’t know how long – probably weeks, if not months on a preaching trip. If you were here last week, you would have remembered that they were told to take nothing at all – no food, no money, no spare clothes. They had to learn that God would provide and would supply all their needs. And he did – He was faithful to them. But had they taken to heart the lesson that God would provide? Jesus wasn’t sure, so he tests them …. He tells them “You give them something to eat.”
This took them by surprise. It was one thing to trust God for their own needs – the needs of one person, but Jesus, haven’t you looked around you – there must be 5000 men here and that is not even counting women or children. How did the disciple respond?