I am thinking that one description of “life” could be a never-ending parade of situations. It could be issues with ourselves, other or just life itself. Life is a never-ending line of concerns. The opportunity is to see these not at obstacles but as an opportunity to a fuller life. I was recently reminded, in reading the account of Jesus feeding the 5000, that the Lord wants to work in us through our situations!
If we keep our eyes open, you will notice the Bible repeatedly reminding us of the value these regular interruptions. Jesus feeding the 5000 is one of those accounts. It happens be only one of two accounts that are included each gospel record. The other account is of Jesus’ resurrection. We read, “Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?”” (John 6:5) The account reveals later the scope of the challenge, when we learn of the need to feed 5000 men. Matthew’s account reminds us that the situation was even more significant by revealing that there were also women and children needing to be fed. My wife and I have hosted many larger gatherings that included a meal. Our largest events numbered close to 300 people. I cannot imagine the challenge of feeding 5000 people. Remember Jesus question was for a purpose.
I have also found myself wondering, “Why did Jesus call out Philip?” We know there were at least eleven other disciples there. The account does not say specifically. But we know that there was a life lesson for Philipp and the other disciples. It would be a lesson to trust God!
What was Jesus attempting to teach Philip and the disciples with this challenge of feeding so many. If you have been part of a large event, you know that there are actually a number of challenges to this “situation!” Jesus presented one challenge to which Philip identified a second. Where would they buy enough bread for such a large group and probably more important, how would the pay for it? “Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.”” (John 6:7) A calculation was done in 2013 to determine the current value of a denari based on the cost a loaf of bread in Jesus day and now. It was determined that a denari, the value of a day wage for a laborer, would be the equivalent of the $20 in 2013. The $4000 in 2013 dollars would not go very far to solving the problem. They were in over their heads!
The verse that stood out to me is John’s commentary on the predicament. “He [Jesus] said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.” (John 6:6) I need you to stop that ponder this for a moment. The Lord was working through this dilemma, and I would argue every life situation, to draw Philip, the others disciples and us to trust Him.
The last observation reminds us that the Lord wants to multiply what we bring to the table. Many of you know the source of the Lord’s provision here. “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish,” (John 6:9a) What we often value as insignificant, becomes significant with the Master’s touch.
What is the situation you are facing now? The Bible reminds us that the Lord is desiring to work through it. The question is, will we let Him. Let us never be surprised what the Lord is able to do, when we trust Him.
-Pastor Joe Parkinson