“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” they answered. “Bring them here,” he said. Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. Matthew 14:17-18
“How much bread do you have?” he asked. “Go and find out.” They came back and reported, “We have five loaves of bread and two fish.” Then Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of fifty or a hundred. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share. Mark 6:38-41
People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. Acts 2:22
So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak? And God confirmed the message by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever he chose. Hebrews 2:1-4
He replied (different circumstance), “What is impossible for people is possible with God.” Luke 18:27
We are working our way through the story of the feeding of the 5000. The story contains a sequence of interactions between the disciples and Jesus. The disciples realized that they were in the middle of a circumstance that needed to be dealt with. Their "circumstance" was that they had large crowds in a remote place who had been there for a long time and had a significant need for food and it was getting late. The disciples assessed the situation and brought their solution for the circumstance to Jesus in the form of a request: Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves. Jesus responded to their request in this way: “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.”
That's what we have so far in the sequence of interactions between the disciples and Jesus in our story. We will look at the next part shortly, but first let's note the parallel between the sequence we see in the story so far and the sequence that often characterizes our interactions with the Lord. We come up against a circumstance. We assess the situation and come up with our solution. We come to the Lord in prayer (maybe - far too often we just implement our solution without prayer) and make our request that he take care of the circumstance in the way we have assessed that it needs to be taken care of. Then the Lord responds to our request in some particular way (often we don't hang around for a response nor do we keep coming back to Lord in prayer until we hear from him).
Now we are ready for the next part in the sequence of interactions between the disciples and Jesus in the story of the the feeding of the 5000. We pick up with the disciples countering the Lord's answer to their request (remember: “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.”) with these words, “But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” They could not conceive how their limited supply of food could be the means of solving the circumstance they faced. Jesus responded to them with these words, “Bring them here.” Jesus will now show them the difference he can make in this circumstance. He will do it with the resources they had available to them. Read again the Matthew and Luke accounts above for a full picture of the miracle Jesus performs. It is significant that they do exactly what Jesus tells them do do and that throughout the mircacle they are significantly involved in the solution the Lord provides.
The disciples solution to the circumstance did not correspond at all with the Lord's solution, but they did come to him with their request. We must do the same with our requests. Our requests may or may not correspond to the Lord's solution. It is important to be open and transparent with the Lord and have a "your will be done" attitude. We must wait on the Lord for his response and then do what he tells us to do. The solution he gives may or may not involve resources we already have. It may or may not be miraculous. The important thing is the we pray and wait on the Lord because we know our circumstances need "the difference he makes." We do this believing the words of Luke 18:27 above are absolutely true: “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”
Lord, thank you for the lessons from our story. Thank you for the progress I am making as your disciple. Help me to increasingly look to you (requesting, waiting, hearing, obeying, receiving) for the difference you can make in the circumstances of my life. Lord, I love you and worship you. My hope and trust are in you and you alone.
Posted on Thu, April 16, 2015
by Alan Porter