Summary: By looking at Jesus feeding the 5000, we realize Jesus already knows what he wants to do in your situation. Don’t limit the possibilities to only what you can imagine. And, remember what Jesus has done in the past and trust him for something big.
For those of us who want Jesus to be predictable, I have bad news and good news. The bad news is. Jesus is not predictable. Never has been, never will be. The good news is, he knows what he is doing and its all for the best.
The disciples experienced the same kind of hopes and expectations. It wasn’t during Thanksgiving and Christmas but it was soon after they had been with him when he talked to the woman at the well and her whole town came to see him. It was after Jesus saw a lame man lying by a pool and said to him, take up your bed and walk and he did! Jesus was becoming popular. His schedule was busy. But, things were complicated because religious leaders were harassing him. Times for the disciples were crazy good but also crazy bad. And then, Jesus starts teaching and people keep coming and coming. 5000 men and probably as many women and children are listening to him. 10,000 people. It's our Christmas Eve services times ten.
How Jesus handles the crowd and how his disciples respond can help us have a better Christmas season and maybe a life-changing experience.
Let’s read John 6:5-11
5 Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” 6 He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. 7 Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!” 8 Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. 9 “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?” 10 “Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.) 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward, he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted.
As you go through the next few weeks between now and Christmas, things are going to happen around you and maybe to you, maybe even through you. The first thing you can think about when something happens is this:
Jesus already knows what he wants to do in your situation.
Verse 6 says, Jesus already had in mind what he was going to do. We don’t think our challenges have caught him off-guard do we? He knew what he was going to do with those 5000 people but he didn’t tell his disciples. Instead, he assigned them an impossible task, already knowing they couldn’t do it. Why did he do that? It says he did it to test them. But, it could just as easily have said to prepare them. Jesus was building and teaching followers then and now. He knows what is going to happen and he has a plan for you in the middle of it all.
When our oldest daughter, Annie was about three, she loved Chucky Cheese, the pizza and game place. Because I love her, I wanted to take her there. And, I wanted to surprise her and I also wanted her to be a part of the decision. So, I told her we were going for a surprise ride. She kept asking me where we were going and I kept telling her it was a surprise.
She got so excited. Far more excited than if I had told her where we were going. But, not knowing also made her anxious. About five minutes into the drive she said, I think we are going the wrong way. Now, think about that for a minute. She didn’t know where we were going and, at three, she really didn’t even know where we were but she was afraid we were lost! Isn’t that how we often respond to situations in our lives? God, this must not be right. We must be going the wrong way? I think God wants to say to us sometimes, you don’t even know where I am leading you. How can you think we are going the wrong way?
About a mile from Chucky Cheese, I got her involved with the decision. I told her I would take her anywhere she wanted to go. She was now in charge and she would make the final decision about where we should go. Whenever she saw something she thought looked exciting, let me know and that’s where I would go. She started looking around. Oh, she got so excited. She was going to decide and she needed to make it a good decision. I figured I was safe giving her the decision because the only thing between us and Chucky Cheese was a housing tract on the right and a large vacant lot on the left. I didn’t anticipate a carnival having been set up overnight in the empty lot. A block from Chucky Cheese, with that big Chucky face in full color just around the corner on the right, Annie looked to the left and saw carnival lights off in the distance. She said that’s where I want to go. Let’s go to the bright lights, they look like fun.