Read John 6:1-15. This well-known story in Scripture is recorded only in the book of John. Jesus’ ministry was becoming quite popular and people followed Him for the wrong reason(s). Reread verses 14-15. They saw Jesus do miraculous signs and heal the sick and they wanted a piece of Him for themselves. People were living under Roman bondage and Jesus was their ticket “out of Dodge”. They needed a king and Jesus fit the bill.
Now jump back to the beginning of the passage. After talking to the Jewish leaders from chapter 5, Jesus crosses over to the far side of the Sea of Galilee. Many people followed Him. He made His way up a hill with His disciples and sat down with them. Even though Jesus was God, living inside a human body meant He needed to rest. One would think a reprieve too.
Not long after, a huge crowd of people came looking for Him. Look at His response in verse 5. He never tires from caring for people. Now look at verse 6. Jesus is all-knowing yet He tested Philip. He understood that Philip will respond using his human reasoning and He was going to use this feeding of the multitude as a lesson in how big God is. Andrew piped in with how a young boy had a few food items but reasoned, “what good is that with this huge crowd?”
INSIGHT: Human reasoning is a barrier to understanding truth. When we allow ourselves to view life horizontally by sight, we miss out. We miss what God is trying to teach us.
QUESTION: Realizing that Jesus is fully aware of our sinful ways yet continues to love and provide for us, what does this tell you about God? How are we to respond?
Jesus is going to teach His disciples a lesson on how big God is and how much He cares for people. He is going to show them that the needs that a man has cannot be met within himself. No matter ones wiring, gifts, talents, achievements or traits, man is limited to his surroundings. Jesus is going to show them what is possible when God gets involved.
INSIGHT: In ourselves, the problems before us appear so big and daunting. We think our offerings are so small and we respond, “Why help? It won’t make a difference.” and we don’t bother.
Our little offerings can be used by God. When Jesus is allowed to take what we have to offer, no matter how small it may seem, He transforms it into something much bigger and it goes beyond ourselves. Five small barley loaves and two fish flourished into a picnic that fed 5,000+ people! I used the word flourished to help you to see that when Jesus is in control of your life, you flourish in all areas. You become complete. You are always in the right place at the right time with Jesus.
QUESTION: If you were one of the disciples at the picnic, what would your thoughts be? Would you believe today that Jesus is wanting to take you and transform your life into a flourishing and blooming garden for Him?
QUESTION: Reread verses 12-13. What was left? Do you find it coincidental that there were 12 disciples and 12 baskets of leftovers? Why did God do this? What does this tell you about God?
God is simply amazing! He tends to our every need. Stop and ponder that. He tends to our every need. Like I’ve mentioned before, Jesus went all the way in His love for us. He took away people’s hunger. He fed them with physical food but He also fed them spiritually. We tend to forget that our souls need healthy doses of truth. It is so easy to live by sight but Jesus says, “that we can’t live on bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)
QUESTION: What needs to change in your life so Matthew 4:4 is a reality?
Have a very blessed Christmas and a joyous New Year! United In Love will be taking a hiatus the next couple weeks. It’s time to enjoy this beautiful season of our Lord Jesus’ birthday! See you in 2020 where we will continue on living united in love.