THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE CAN ABUNDANTLY SATISFY ANY PHYSICAL NEED DESPITE THE APPARENT LACK OF PHYSICAL RESOURCES
(:1-4) INTRODUCTION: SIGN MIRACLES FEED ON ONE ANOTHER
A. (:1-2) Curiousity Without Commitment — No Escaping the Curious Crowds
“After these things, Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias). And a great multitude was following Him, because they were seeing the signs which he was performing on those who were sick.”
Only miracle recorded in all 4 gospels.
This miracle would meet the needs of the vast multitude of healthy people instead of the isolated sick.
B. (:3) Isolation Without Privacy — Quality Time with the Disciples Still a Priority
“And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples.”
C. (:4) Symbolism Without Understanding
“Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.”
Stedman: The multitudes were following Jesus everywhere despite the fact that it was the Passover season, when they ought to have been on their way to Jerusalem. The Law required that every male Jew celebrate the Passover there if they could possibly get away. So ordinarily these great multitudes would not be in Galilee but in Jerusalem.
Westcott: The notice of the feast is probably designed to give a clue to the understanding of the spiritual lessons of the miracle which are set forth in the discourse which followed (1 Cor. v. 7).
I. (:5-9) TEST OF FAITH –CAN YOU SEE BEYOND HUMAN SOLUTIONS (WHICH ALWAYS DEPEND ON AVAILABLE PHYSICAL RESOURCES)
A. (:5-6) Presenting the Test
1. Object Lesson Right at Hand
“Jesus therefore lifting up His eyes, and seeing that a great multitude was coming to Him”
this was one hungry crowd out in the middle of nowhere; dependent on Jesus to meet their needs
2. Star Pupil Put on the Spot
“said to Philip”
Remember what it was like in school to be called on and put on the spot?
3. Trick Question
“Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat?”
Stedman: “a predicament with no human solution”
B. (:7) Doing the Math = It just doesn’t add up (Philip) – Calculated Reasoning
“Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little.”
C. (:8-9) Thinking Outside of the Box – Let’s at least start with what we have (Andrew) – Easily Frustrated
“There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?’
II. (:10-13) SEED OF FAITH — GOD HAS NO PROBLEM CREATING AN ABUNDANCE OUT OF WHAT LOOKS LIKE NOTHING (BUT WHAT ACTUALLY CONTAINS THE MUSTARD SEED OF FAITH)
A. (:10) Simple Obedience Can Compensate for Limited Faith
(or Limited Understanding)
“Have the people sit down.”
Important to Follow the Directions Even When We Don’t Understand the Outcome / Christ has the situation under control and organized; not performing wild miracles in some out of control, crazed frenzy
Pink: It is indeed blessed to note the response of the disciples to this command of their Master. Their faith had failed, but their obedience did not. Where both fail, there is grave reason to doubt if there is spiritual life dwelling in such a soul. Their obedience evidenced the genuineness of their Christianity. “If faith is weak, obedience is the best way in which it may be strengthened. “Then shall ye know,’ says the prophet, ‘if ye follow on to know the Lord.’ If you have not much light, walk up to the standard of what you have, and you are sure to have more. This will prove that you are a genuine servant of God. Well, this is what the disciples seemed to do here. The light of their faith was low, but they heard the word of Jesus, ‘Make the men sit down.’ They can act if they cannot see. They can obey His word if they cannot see that all fullness dwells in Him to meet every difficulty. So they obey His command. The men sit down, and Jesus begins to dispense His blessings. And thus by their act of obedience, their faith becomes enlightened, and every want is supplied. This is always the result of walking up to the light we have got. ‘To him that hath shall more be given.’ That light may be feeble, it may be only a single ray irradiating the darkness of the mind; nevertheless, it is what God has given you. Despise it not. Hide it not. Walk up to it, and more shall be added.
B. (:11) Simple Resources Can Multiply Into Abundant Blessing
“Jesus therefore took the loaves; and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted.”
Important to Give Thanks in Anticipation of Blessing
C. (:12-13) Simple Math Can’t Explain the Results —
Ended Up with More Than They Started With
“filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves”
(:14-15) CONCLUSION: SIGN MIRACLES MOTIVATE A POSITIVE RESPONSE … BUT NOT NECESSARILY A RESPONSE OF FAITH
A. (:14) Right Concept of a Prophet
“When therefore the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, ‘This is of a truth the Prophet who is to come into the world.’”
B. (:15) Wrong Concept of a King
“Jesus therefore perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force, to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone.”
Stedman: What a strange reaction! They were not ready to follow him as the Messiah; they wanted to use him; they wanted God to work for them according to their program and their schedule.