Lessons From the Flannel Graph 2012 Jesus Feeds 5,000 (or When All You Have Just Isn t Enough) Turn with me to Luke 9 and then to John 6.

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1 Lessons From the Flannel Graph 2012 Jesus Feeds 5,000 (or When All You Have Just Isn t Enough) Turn with me to Luke 9 and then to John 6. Both of these gospel writers give us some details of the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5,000. Both of them tell us it was 5,000 men, indicating that with women and children, the number would have been much higher than 5,000 that were fed that day. I want us to read both accounts and then we will put the story together and make some observations. Read Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15. By reading both accounts we have a pretty good idea of what happened and where it happened. Jesus and the disciples had gone to the area around Bethsaida, on the northeastern side of the Sea of Galilee. Bethsaida was about 9 miles away and was home for Philip, Peter and Andrew. That may explain why Jesus asked Philip where they should buy bread to feed the multitude. Since this area was home, Philip should know the best place to go for food. Luke s account indicates the disciples had just returned from a missions trip and Jesus decided to get away with them for a few days of rest so they headed to the area of Bethsaida but the crowds found out where they were going and followed them. When Jesus saw the multitude of people, he began to teach them about the kingdom of God and he healed the sick and ministered to the people. The King James Version of Luke 9 reads, and when the day began to wear away... Jesus had been preaching and teaching and healing the sick all day long. I heard pastor Robert Morris say that when the day began to wear away in the Greek means, when the day began to wear away. Jesus had been ministering all day and now it is late in the afternoon. The disciples came to Jesus and said, Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging because we are in a remote place here. You have to wonder what was behind that decision, don t you? I can imagine the conversation among the disciples. Any idea what time it is? Beats me, but I know one thing: we ve been here all day long and we haven t had a bite to eat. Somebody needs to tell Jesus to wrap it up and send these people away. I don t care who you are, this all day preaching is just too much. If I don t get some food pretty soon I m going to starve to death right here and now. That s it. Tell Jesus that the people are going to die if they don t get something to eat pretty

2 soon. John you tell him, he likes you. I m not gonna tell him. Have Peter tell him. Why me? Why not, Peter? You re always blurting out some dumb idea. Yeah, Peter, you tell him. I know. Let s all go together and tell him. So the bible says the Twelve approach Jesus with their suggestion that he send the multitude away to find food and lodging for the night but Jesus has something else in mind. He is the teacher after all, and he has a lesson he wants the twelve disciples and all of us to learn. He knew this was coming. Instead of sending the crowd away, Jesus says, You guys feed them. Philip, you re from around here. Where is a good place to buy bread for this many people? Philip says, Are you kidding? Ignoring the question Jesus asked (where can we buy bread) Philip moves to the greater question with what? With what shall we buy food for this crowd? It would take 8 months wages to buy enough bread to feed a crowd like this! In other words, Jesus, this is impossible. It is beyond anyone of us. There is no way you can expect us to feed this crowd. Ask Judas. He keeps the money. We haven t got anywhere near enough money. Andrew, Simon Peter s brother, perhaps hoping to help or maybe just to show how hopeless the whole thing looks, steps up and says, Here is a little boy with a 2 piece meal with extra rolls... I can kind of see him drop his head and lower his voice as he says, of course, what good is that going to do with a crowd like this. Never mind. Good one, Andrew... The meal the little boy had was likely some kind of pickled fish, small fish and the five barley loaves may have been round loaves, more like our pita bread. It sounds like he had a sardine wrap with extra pita that his mom packed for him. This was a poor person s meal. Jesus thanked the little boy, took the loaves and fish and told the disciples to have the crowd sit down in groups of fifty. I love the fact that Jesus saw the need for order in how this was to be done. He then looked up to heaven and gave thanks for the Father s provision of fish and bread, then he broke the bread and the fish and gave it to the disciples to give to the crowd. The bible says 5,000 men plus the women and children ate as much as they wanted and when they had all had enough to eat, Jesus told the disciples to gather up any food that was left over. Let nothing be wasted he said. And they gathered up 12 baskets full of the left over pieces of bread and fish. John tells us one more interesting thing that happened. When the people realized what

3 had just happened, that Jesus had multiplied bread and fish and fed them in this remote place, they remembered what Moses had done for the Israelites in the wilderness. He had fed them with miraculous bread from heaven - manna. And they remembered a Scripture from Deuteronomy 18 when God promised he would send a Prophet like Moses one day to speak his word. The people said, Jesus must be that prophet that was to come. Let s make him our king. and they tried to take him by force but Jesus slipped away from them. Now, that s the story, but what lessons did Jesus want his disciples to learn that day and what can we learn as well? (If you want to go even deeper in this lesson, read the rest of John 6.) What lessons do we learn? 1. We learn what to do when all we have just isn t enough. When was the last time you faced one of those frustrating situations? You know the kind where you ve worked and worried and thought and applied yourself, you ve looked at it from every angle and thrown your last dollar at it and you still don t have an answer or a solution. You re ready to give up because all you have and all you ve tried just isn t enough. You recognize you are facing an impossible situation. This was one of those situations. The gospel accounts show us that Jesus presented this problem to Philip and to the rest of the disciples so they would recognize the limits of their resources. He wanted them to see there are some problems they simply couldn t resolve or fix without his intervention and his care. He wanted them to look beyond themselves to the Lord himself for the solution. We need to learn this lesson as well. We need to admit that sometimes our best efforts aren t enough. We ve tried on our own but we can t seem to make the marriage work or we can t seem to conquer that addiction or we can t deal with the health crisis or our grief over loss or a thousand other things. We realize all we have just isn t enough. So what do you do when you stare down at your two little sardines and your little barley loaf and you compare those meager resources of yours to the giant sized problem before you? You do what the little boy and the disciples learned to do in our story. You take yourself, your whole life and your meager resources and you surrender them all to Jesus. And what happens then? 2. We learn that in His hands, our not enough becomes twelve baskets too much! (John 6:13) We take our weakness, our inadequacy, our failures and we give them all to Jesus. We put

4 all of it in his hands where he can turn it into blessing and abundance. Our inadequacy in his hands is the raw material for a miracle. He turns our lack into more than enough, just as he did with five loaves and two fish. You may be thinking, that s all fine for people that are weak and needy, but I m doing all right. I don t need Jesus or his loaves and fish. I m making it fine with what I ve got. My response is, that s all good for today isn t it. You ve got enough today, but in a moments time your more than enough can turn to not enough. You go from one day having all you need to hearing the doctor say, I m sorry, there is nothing we can do. Or the boss says, I m sorry but we are having to make some cutbacks. You know, it s the economy. And suddenly your more than enough runs out. Those are simple examples. The truth is, it is about so much more than health or our bank account. It goes deeper than that. It goes to the very core of our being. When we stop to look deep within ourselves, at our lives, our thoughts, at who we really are when no one else is looking we realize that our goodness, our truthfulness, our righteousness, it s just not enough. The bible says it like this: All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. All of us fall short. But when we give ourselves to God and put our lives in his hands - he forgives our sins and the not enough of our life becomes complete and more than enough in him. In His hands our not enough becomes twelve baskets too much. Here are a couple of other important lessons we learn from this. The first has to do with obedience. 3. We learn how important it is to obey Jesus commands. The bible tells us in John 6:10, Jesus said, Have the people sit down. John 6:10 (Luke told us it was in groups of about 50 each). Then verse 11 says, 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. John 6:11 It was only the people that were seated that received the bread and fish. These were the folks that listened and responded in obedience to what Jesus said. Why do I point this out? First of all, To trust Jesus means to obey him. We come to him in need, hungry and hurting because we trust he is able to help us. If that s the case, then you have to do what he says. You have to obey. Think of it like going to the doctor for a cure. Take these pills and follow these instructions and you ll be fine. Then we ignore his instructions, throw the pills

5 away and wonder why we still feel sick? Trust and obey. Do what he says to do and he will change your life forever. The second reason I point this out - that he told them to sit down, is because it is not our nature to sit down when we are in a crisis. When we see our resources are not enough, we want to work harder, to worry more, to cry louder, to pace the floor with more intensity. We are determined to do this ourselves. Forget about obeying Jesus, I ll find a solution. I ll find a way through this. We ve already established, all we have isn t enough for something like this. All of your best worrying can t produce one more fish or enough bread. We need Jesus and his help. We need to learn to sit down in obedience to his commands and rest in him. Understand what I m saying. I m not advocating laziness. I m all for working hard and trying harder, but what I mean by this is to learn how important it is to sit down in obedience to Jesus and surrender it all to Him. Stop running around in a panic and instead, listen to Jesus, quiet down, then trust and obey. Those folks who were obeying Jesus, who were ordering their life and their actions according to his instruction, they were the ones who received more than enough that day. If you are running around, refusing to sit down in obedience to Jesus, looking for answers everywhere else, my guess is you will miss God s extraordinary provision. The key is obedience. If you will trust Jesus and obey him, he will make all the difference. The next lesson is about surrender. 4. We learn to put what we have into his hands and let him use it. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish from the little boy. It was such a meager offering. What if the boy had said, It s never going to be enough. Let s not bother giving this to Jesus. This can t possibly make a difference in a crowd like this. The need is so great, and what I have to offer is so small. If he had done that, the whole crowd would have gone hungry. They all would have missed the miracle. The point is, it is time you take what you have, good or bad, and surrender it all to Jesus. Put it all in his hands. Trust him with your whole life - the good and the bad. Your strengths and talent, yes, but also the other stuff your broken dreams and plans, your rebellious teenager, your broken marriage, your fighting parents, your fears, your finances, your illness, your grief, your struggles and addictions and sins and the guilt of your past and surrender it all to him. Put it all into his hands. Even put your doubts about whether this is real into his hands.

6 He is the miracle worker. You can t bless fish and bread and feed thousands but he can. You can t take the rubble left of a broken life and put the pieces back together, but he can. Bring yourself and what you have to Jesus and put it all in his hands and let him do what only He can do. When that boy gave all he had to Jesus, the result was Jesus...distributed to all who were seated as much as they wanted. All they needed and wanted and more besides. That s what happens when we put all we have and all we are into his hands. One last thing we learn from this story: 5. Jesus wastes nothing. Look at verse 12. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted. John 6:12 It s interesting to me that Jesus specifically told them, Let nothing be wasted. Why is that important? Because to me it reminds me that the circumstances we are in right now, the trials you are going through, this time of testing you are experiencing right now, none of this will be wasted in your life. If we let him and if we surrender our life to him, Jesus turns affliction into maturity, trial into triumph, a cross into a crown. He is at work in your life, and what the devil has meant for evil and for your destruction and defeat, God will turn it around for your good and for your growth. Trust him. It s time to surrender yourself to the Lord. Obey him. Sit down and get ready to receive his help and his provision from his hand. Let nothing be wasted Jesus said. That means he isn t going to throw you away or leave you behind. That means what you are going through isn t without meaning or purpose. He will let nothing be wasted - no person, no gift, no talent, no opportunity, no trial. You may feel like you ve been cast off, thrown aside, because of events in your life, but Jesus says, Let nothing be wasted. Jesus isn t casting you aside, he is drawing you to his side. He is gathering you close. You may feel like the circumstances you ve been going through have stretched you to the breaking point. If so, do what Jesus said to do. Don t panic. Instead, obey him. Sit down and rest in him. More than enough is ahead if you will obey him. It s time to come to Jesus. Come to him and surrender your life, your future, your everything to him. Stop trying to manage your life on your own and put it into his hands. Turn your life over to Jesus and start living under new management. When what you have just isn t enough, it s time to turned to Jesus. When all you have

7 just isn t enough, don t be afraid. In Jesus hands, not enough becomes twelve baskets too much. If you are at that point this morning, where it feels like all you have just isn t enough, I want to pray with you. I invite you to surrender your heart and life to Jesus and choose to live in obedience to Him. It will make all the difference in your life. Come to the one who has more than you need - the one who is by his very nature, more than enough!

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