Jesus Feeds the People

Come and See: John 1-12  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Jesus takes the little and makes it much.

This miracle is familiar:
Even if you know little about the Christian faith, it is not unlikely that you know about Jesus feeding the 5000
We all know what it feels like to be hungry
Just to begin, this miracle is unique for a few reasons:
Only miracle recorded in all four gospels (Apart from resurrection).
Very public
Could have been refuted if false.
the witnesses of the miracle also participated / benefitted from the miracle
Could argue that a witness who perceives is not as significant as a witness who participates.
This is why our witness as believers is so significant.
It is important to realize the significance of the miracle because John says this is a sign.
Signs point to something. Miracles are signs that Jesus is Son of God, and John wants us to
believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:31
The truths we will find in this passage are not “feel good nuggets for positive living,” but are truths grounded in the fact that Jesus is the Son of God and that as we believe in Him we will have true life.
Jesus takes the little and makes it much.
John 6:1–15
1 After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick.
They followed Jesus because of the things he did FOR them
If you had a friend who could these things you’d start hanging around them
imperfect tense = continual action
3 Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. 5 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?”
Mark 6:34 (ESV)
34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.

Jesus cares about our physical needs as well as our spiritual needs.

Jesus didn’t simply say. “Figure out your physical needs because I’m only here to help you spiritually.”
We are whole people. Physical needs can be a whisper to deeper spiritual needs. If we are unwilling to help with the former, people will not look for the latter.
To have the eyes of Jesus is to have eyes open with compassion for physical needs.
“You need Jesus!” “You need a sandwich, and you need Jesus!”
With little food storage and long preparation times, food was linked to life
What physical needs do you need to bring to Jesus?
What physical needs do you have that, if taken care of, would result in the praise and glory of Jesus?
You may feel like you only have a little, but Jesus takes the little and makes it much.
(Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” )
Philip is from the town of Bethsaida which is nearby
6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.”
“Pop Quiz!’
What was the “Test?” Was he testing Philip’s:
bartering skills
ability to make a meal stretch
It was clearly not a test of skill but a test of faith.
Why did Jesus test Philip?
Option 1 - Jesus himself didn’t know what to do (false)
Option 2 - Jesus was being cruel — Putting Philip on the spot knowing he couldn’t pass the test.
We tend to respond differently to ‘tests.’
IILUST — Daughter passed her knowledge test for her driving permit. See if she had the knowledge to figure out what was right. If she failed — she would not gain a privilege.
Not the idea of “test” here. He wasn’t trying to fail Philip

Jesus sometimes uses our needs to increase our faith.

Could it be that sometimes we need to be made aware of where our source of everything is and the only way to do that is for God to allow a need to arise that we might shift our focus back to what should be the true Source of all things?
Where is there a need in your life right now? Give a minute. What’s you plan? What’s on your spreadsheet? List? Dartboard?
Have you brought it to Jesus or are you trying to ‘stretch the fish?’
Doesn’t mean that God will always miraculously give you an overabundance, but are we not called to
Matthew 6:33 (ESV)
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
ILLUST - Caleigh and the gummi bears - She took it to Jesus and he answered in abundance. (see if you can get daddy a new car).
You may have only a little bit of faith, but Jesus takes the little and makes it much.
Good news is, there is no minimum level of faith needed in order for it to be effectual — as long as your faith is truly on Jesus
George Muller during mid 19th C raised £110,000 to build five orphan houses that accommodated 2,050 orphans. In his lifetime he cared for 10,024 orphans.
He did so on what he called a ‘faith principle’ - never directly asking anyone for money, never borrowing any money; instead, he prayed.
But Muller admits that contrary to what one may think, he did not have a great gift of faith:
Think not, dear reader, that I have the gift of faith, that is, that gift of which we read in 1 Corinthians 12:9, and which is mentioned along with “the gifts of healing,” “the working of miracles,” “prophecy,” and that on that account I am able to trust in the Lord.
It is true that the faith, which I am enabled to exercise, is altogether God’s own gift; it is true that He alone supports it, and that He alone can increase it; it is true that, moment by moment, I depend upon Him for it, and that, if I were only one moment left to myself, my faith would utterly fail; but it is not true that my faith is that gift of faith which is spoken of in 1 Corinthians 12:9. (Narrative, Vol. 1, 302)
All believers are called upon, in the simple confidence of faith, to cast all their burdens upon him, to trust in him for everything, and not only to make everything a subject of prayer, but to expect answers to their petitions which they have asked according to his will, and in the name of the Lord Jesus. (302)
You may have only a little bit of faith, but Jesus takes the little and makes it much.
8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”
The need is immense but the resources are so few.
10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number.
How do we know that number? In ______ gospel we are told that Jesus had the men sit down in groups of fifty.
11 Jesus then took the loaves,

Jesus has the right to ask for our stuff.

How did Jesus take the loaves? Holy shakedown? Religious bullying?
somehow the loaves and fish were given to Jesus by this young man
You may feel like you are little (spiritually) compared to others , but Jesus takes the little and makes it much.
If people knew your struggles - how you are not that far along on the path of following Jesus
Boy becomes the hero - I wonder if anyone else was hiding food too unwilling to allow Jesus to use it?
and when he had given thanks,
Notice Jesus gave thanks BEFORE the miracle - there was no quid pro quo with God (Do it and then I’ll be grateful)
Not the same as a prayer before our meals.
Probably used typical Jewish prayer, “Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.”
he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.
He distributed — So much in that one word.
This is the word for the miracle
other accounts say he broke and gave to his disciples
Where did the miracle occur? In the breaking? In the delivering? In their hands?
Why only ONE WORD to explain how such an incredible miracle took place?
Because the HOW was not the focus. The focus is the WHO.

Jesus uses what little we have to accomplish his work.

Jesus, so that God would be glorified, is the focus of the miracle.
Boys food fed 20000 and the disciples who founded the church and JESUS
You may have only a little to offer, but Jesus takes the little and makes it much
ILLUST - Money for mortgage at seminary came from a small word from one of our own pastors, was a small amount from each but eventually led to our family moving by faith (because we had seen how God provides) to Indiana to serve alongside the one who gave.
Jesus isn’t asking you to bring what is needed to fix a situation, he is asking you to bring your fish.
What you have may look too little compared to the size of the need
Don’t have enough to make this relationship work
Don’t have enough emotional strength to make it through this next season in life.
The issue of racism is too large for one predominantly white church in Granger, IN to affect any meaningful change across our nation
Stop staring at the loaves and bring it to Jesus!
12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten.

Jesus graciously allows us to partner with him in his work.

surely the One who made everything out of nothing could make food from nothing. Why did he choose to use preexisting snacks? In order to involve others.
some find significance in 12 — YES! Jesus used all of them.
Jesus sent the disciples out to gather so none would perish
in keeping with Jewish custom about wasting food
(Size of the ministry does not matter - it is what you do with it)
You may feel as though you have only a little ministry, but Jesus takes the little and makes it much.
You USED to have an ‘effective’ ministry
But now too old
too tired
too far from God
too untrained
14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”

Jesus provided in the past to point to His provision in the future.

This story reminds the Jews of Moses leading the nation of Israel through the wilderness and how, through him, God provided food (bread) even in the wilderness and for such a large group of people:
John 6:5 (ESV)
5 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?”
Numbers 11:13 (ESV)
13 Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me and say, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.’
The greater faith was not for those who held on to more, but for those who returned daily expecting God’s provision.

Parallels between John 6 and Numbers 11

Where are we to get meat/bread?

John 6:5; Num. 11:13

The striking disproportion between the existing need and the available resources

John 6:7–9 ; Num. 11:22

The description of the manna

John 6:31; Num. 11:7–9

The people’s grumbling

John 6:41, 43; Num. 11:1

The reference to the eating of meat/Jesus’ “flesh”

John 6:51; Num. 11:13

Deuteronomy 18:15 (ESV)
15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—
If Jesus provided for Moses and the many Israelites with manna for 40 yrs in the wilderness, and Jesus provided for 2000 with five loaves and two sardines, toward what does this sign point towards?
Jesus is just as faithful and capable.
You may feel as though this is only a little story, but Jesus takes the little and makes it much.
15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
Who wouldn’t want a king who could provide for the entire kingdom all the time?
If Jesus was only about making a name for himself — starting a religion to become famous — this would have been his shining moment.
They only saw the multiplication portion of the miracle (expressed in one word) and Jesus was focused on the gathering so that non would perish.
Jesus wanted them to see it was not about what he could DO for them but what he should BE to them. They wanted a lowercase ‘k’ king to fill their bellies but Jesus came to begin the process of setting up his kingdom as a capital ‘K’ king who would save their souls.
What is the need you have today?
What is the little you need to bring?
The little boy stood before thousands to give Jesus his little.
I wonder if some laughed.
“Look, it’s only barley loaves.”
“What does he think Jesus will do with those?”
“That’s not enough for Jesus to use (Ha!)”
“He should just leave the Master alone so he can figure out a solution”
Don’t be afraid to tell someone about what Jesus is saying to you about he wants to use the little you have
Give life to Christ
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