Summary: Jesus asked the apostles to do the impossible when He told them to feed the 5000 with five small loaves and two fishes. What did they have to do to accomplish this task? What should you do when Jesus asks you to do the "impossible?"
WHEN JESUS ASKS YOU TO DO THE IMPOSSIBLE
Text: Mark 6:30 – 44
Have you ever been asked to do the impossible by someone? Maybe you’ve been asked to complete a project in just a fraction of the time that would actually take. Or maybe you’ve needed to make $50 stretch over a week and a half. The Bible is filled with examples of people that were asked to do the impossible…people who were asked to challenge an Egyptian ruler and lead God’s people out of bondage, or people who were asked to build an ark to save mankind and the animal kingdom from world destruction. In today’s scripture, Jesus asks the apostles to feed 5000 men and several thousand women and children with the equivalent of five rolls and two sardines. What do you do when Jesus asks you to do the impossible?
There were several problems presented in this situation. First of all, verses 30 and 31 tell us that the apostles were tired and hungry. They had just returned from preaching and healing in the nearby villages. The crowd that had come to hear Jesus was there mostly because of the work of the apostles. So many people were coming for healing and to hear Jesus that they didn’t even have time to eat and to rest.
Secondly, they were not able to get away from the crowds. Verses 32 and 33 tell us that they got in a boat to go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, but the people on shore saw them leaving and literally ran around the edge of Sea and made it to the other side before Jesus and the apostles were able to row across. They were waiting there when they came ashore.
Not only were they tired and hungry, and unable to escape the crowds, but Jesus would not send the crowds away. Verses 34 through 36 tell us that Jesus was moved with compassion for the crowds because they were as sheep not having a shepherd; no one to lead them, no one to take care of them, no one to feed them.
The apostles saw nothing but problems, but Jesus saw nothing but opportunities. The apostles were focused on their physical needs, but Jesus was focused on everyone’s spiritual needs.
So what was the solution to all these problems? First of all, the apostles had to put their own needs aside in order to do the impossible. Verse 37 records Jesus’ command to feed the multitude. Their response was that it would take the better part of a year’s salary to have enough to buy bread for that many people. Jesus knew that they were tired and hungry themselves, but He wanted them to put their own needs on hold for a moment so that they could address the needs of the crowd. Maybe Jesus has asked you to do the “impossible.” Maybe He has asked you to go across the street and talk to your neighbor about a relationship with Him. You say, “I just don’t have the time,” but maybe you need to put your schedule on the back burner for a couple of minutes so that you can do what Jesus asks you to do. Or maybe Jesus is leading you to give your last $50 to someone in need that you see standing on a street corner holding a sign. You say, “I need that money for myself,” but maybe you need to put aside your own needs so that you can be obedient to Jesus.
Secondly, they had to use what they had to available. Verse 38 records that they had only five small loaves of bread, more like what we consider rolls, and two small fish about the size of sardines. What could they do with such a small amount of food? Nevertheless, they brought it to Jesus. Jesus didn’t tell them to go out into the crowd and take up a collection. He didn’t tell them to go out to local businesses and ask for donations. He didn’t ask them to have a rummage sale to get enough money to buy food. He simply told them to use what they had available. You may think that you don’t have enough to accomplish what Jesus is asking you to do. “I don’t have enough money to do that Lord.” “I am not smart enough to do something like that.” “I don’t have the ability or the talent needed to accomplish that.” Jesus says that you don’t need all that…just use what you already have.
But using what they already had wasn’t enough. They also had to do what Jesus said to do. In verses 39 and 40 He told them to make the people sit down in groups and to bring what little food they had to Him. What was the use of making them sit in groups? There wasn’t even enough food for one of the groups. And what was the use of bringing the food to Jesus? There was barely enough for one person. But they did what Jesus told them, having no idea about what He was going to do. Don’t feel like you have to understand what Jesus is going to do with what you bring Him to work with. Just obey Him and do what He says. Just bring what you have, and let Him tell you what to do with it.