What is your favourite miracles of Jesus? For me it is the feeding of the 5,000. Many people think and agree that if you assume that each man may have brought their wives and at least two children with them, the number of people may have been like 15,000. The people witnessed how Jesus performed miracles and people are excited to follow him everywhere he goes. Jesus wanted to get away from the crowd cross the river by boat with his disciples hoping that the people would stop following him and he would have time alone with the disciples. But the people would not give up, seeing that Jesus and his disciples rode the boat, the people started running along the shore through a rough woods and headed where the boat was going.
So when Jesus saw arrived some of the people were already there and had looked for a place to settle down. Instead of getting angry with the crowd, the Lord Jesus had compassion to the people and do something to take care of their needs. In this story, we will learn how the Lord Jesus did a miracle and we will learn what did the people do to experience that miracle in their lives.
Jesus wants our participation (5-6)
5.When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" 6. He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.These verses clearly say that Jesus did not have to ask this question because “he already know what he was going to do.” He asked the question to test the faith of Philip and in effect the other disciples too. The Lord Jesus Christ does need anybody to tell him what to do. The only reason he asked this question is to know what the disciples are thinking and he wants them to share their thoughts and ideas. Jesus want his disciples to participate in helping to resolve the problem at the moment.
Apparently, Philip is very smart because after looking at the crowd he knows right away how much money they need to feed all the people. He comes up with 200 denarii. In present times it is roughly equivalent to 4,000 US dollars or roughly 124,000 baht. And would not be enough to buy a bread enough that each person to get a little piece. Andrew, on the other hand, share his idea by getting Jesus’ attention that there is a little boy who is willing to share his food—five small loaf of bread and two small fish. He thinks it is impossible to feed all the people with this amount of food. I believe the important truth here is not only Jesus tests the disciples but also he wanted them to share ideas, do something to help with the problem. Jesus wants everyone to participate.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. We all know the saying, but we often fail to apply this lesson in our lives. If you view the elephant as one big goal that your whole life depends on, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Why not enjoy the bites along the way? If you ask somebody what goal they’re working on, what kind of answer do you think you’ll get? Assuming they even have goals, they’ll probably say they’re working on something really big, maybe even something that will make them feel like they’ve achieved their life purpose.1 Our church have big vision and big goal. We want to share Jesus Christ to many people as possible. We envision that our church will grow big and have many people come to worship our God. This goal is big. It is like an elephant. We can not eat it. It seems impossible. But if everyone of us will cooperate and will take a little bite one at a time.
We will eventually accomplished the goal that God has set before us. The problem is only very few in the church like to cooperate. This is God’s challenge for us this morning. All of us should cooperate to accomplish our goal as a church.
Jesus Wants Our Contribution (6-9)
Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"In verse 6, it says that Andrew speaks up and says, "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?" Some Bible teachers think that this little boy is employed by the disciple to carry their food. But I believe, this little boy has committed himself to following Jesus wherever he goes that he make sure that he is totally prepared.
The other people who follow Jesus and even the disciples never bother to bring their own food. I want you to take note the way John describes the situation. Here is a “little” boy with five “small” barley loaves and two “small” fish. I believe John is trying to show the greatness of our God that a miracle has come out using these small things. But, of course, these small things from little boy are what all Jesus need. He never asks us to have more education, more talent and more money in order to serve him and minister to others. All he wants is what we have right now. And as soon as he found out what is available in the crowd, Jesus performs a wonderful miracle.
There was a story of a little girl who stood outside the church crying. She could not get into the church to attend the Sunday School because the church was too small and there was no space for her. So the Pastor saw him and took her hand and found a place for her in the Sunday School class. The girl was so touched that night she went to bed praying and thinking of the children who have no place to worship. The Pastor told her that someday they would have a building big enough so that all the children can worship and attend Sunday School. Later the girl got sick and died. They found out that the little girl has a purse that contain 57 cents with a note saying that she was saving the money to help build a bigger church building. The 57 cents became the seed money that inspired many people to contribute to the fund that eventually built a 3,300 seating capacity of Temple Baptist Church in Philadelphia, USA. This story is being told to show what God can do with 57 cents. This is what God wants us to do, everyone can bring something to God. He teaches us that it is not the gift that is so important, it is the heart of the giver.
In our church, people contribute different things. We need people who will be prayer warriors. We need musicians and singers to lead in worship. We need workers to clean and set up our church. Some contribute money, some contribute things that we can use in the church. If everyone of us will contribute to the ministry of the church, the Lord will do miracles in our church.
Jesus Wants Our Cooperation (10-13)
Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. (John 6:10-13)When Jesus learns that little food is available, he asked the disciples to make the people sit down. Just imagine 15,000 hungry people want to eat and food was so little, it is surprising that everyone including the children are cooperating with Jesus. We read how orderly and organise was the event in Mark 6: 39-44:
39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.In this passage we learn how every one including the children cooperate with the process. John MacArthur: "Godly, Biblical church growth results from every member of the body fully using his spiritual gift, in submission to the Holy Spirit and in cooperation with other believers.” When each one of us is willing to cooperate with the church’s ministry and activities, cooperate with our leaders and with each other, the Lord Jesus will perform a miracle though us and through our church.