In the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus is on the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee. He’s been teaching all day.
(This is in Mark chapter six. You can read it later.)
He’s been teaching all day and, as a result of that, the people are very hungry and very, very tired.
At the end of that day of teaching, the disciples see a problem.
- How many of you see a problem in your university?
- How many of you have seen a problem in the lives of those you know at the university or college?
- Maybe there’s a friend back home and you know they’re going through a terrible time, but you think, “Boy, there’s nothing really that I can do.”
Well, the disciples see a problem and the problem is the people are hungry and the people are tired. They come to Jesus and they said,
“Lord, the people are hungry and they are tired.”
What’s Their Solution?
I’ll pause there for a second.
Doesn’t that reflect our culture today? Hungry, they are hungry and distracted by consumerism, materialism, YouTube 10 hours a day.
They are distracted. They’re hungry and they’re looking for more.
The people here are hungry and they’re tired.
The disciples came to him and said, “Lord the people are hungry and tired.”
Here’s their solution. Watch this. Send them away so they can get something to eat at Wendy’s. Now, that’s not in the story. Don’t look it up. I put the Wendy’s part in there, but you know what I’m saying.
They said to Jesus,
“The people are hungry. They’re tired. Send them away so they can get something to eat.”
What is their solution?
Their solution is send the problem away.
Send it away. That’s the solution that they came up with.
How many times in our lives God gives us an opportunity and we push that opportunity away thinking, “I don’t have what it takes to even put a dent in this problem.”
I know I’ve done that before in my life. I see a problem and I push it away.
- It’s an inconvenience.
- I’m not talented enough.
- I don’t have enough money.
- I don’t have enough knowledge.
- I don’t have enough experience.
- Lord, send them away to get something to eat.
“The Miracles of the Loaves and Fishes,” Jacopo Tintoretto, 16th Century
Put Yourself in the Story
Notice what Jesus says in Mark 6 to the disciples. He said, “You give them something to eat.”
Now, put yourself in the story for a minute here and you’ll see how it becomes all too real. Put yourself in the story as one of the disciples.
Jesus looks at you, the disciple, and there’s five thousand plus people out there and He said,
“You give them something to eat.”
Now, right away, if you’re in this story, you think to yourself, “Wait a minute. Me give them something to eat? You’ve gotta be kidding.”
I imagine the disciples talking to themselves as they talk, “Are you … Is He serious? He’s serious?” “I guess He’s serious, yeah.”
I said, “Well, Lord, what do you want us to do? Do you want us to go deplete our bank accounts and feed all of these people here with the little that we have?”
Jesus asks an important question, a question that He’s asking every single one of us here,
“Go and see what you have. Take inventory. Go and see what you have.”
Most of the time we interpret this as Jesus saying, “Go and see what you don’t have,” because we’ll always come back to the Lord with, “Lord, I don’t have this and I don’t have that and I haven’t finished my degree,” and this and this and that.
The Lord never asks, “What don’t you have?” He said, “What do you have?” He asks that question knowing full well what you have.
“What do you have?”
There’s the disciples getting together saying, “Is this for real? I mean, look at all those people out there. I graduated from high school with some of them. Is He serious? Is He serious?” “I think He is. I think He is.” “Well, what do you have?” “I don’t have anything.” “I don’t have anything. This must be an illustration. He’s doing an illustration thing or something.”
“Hey, there’s a kid with some food. Hey, come over here. What is that? Five loaves and … Give me the five loaves and two fish. Give it to me. I’ll give it to you back ’cause you’re gonna be … This is part of a prop. Jesus is doing this teaching thing. Okay. Go, have a seat.”
They come up to Jesus, twelve disciples, five thousand plus people hungry and tired.
Jesus said, “Go and see what you have.” They have it and they come to the Lord. The Lord says, “Well,” and they says, “Well, Lord, we have five loaves and two fish.”
What does Jesus say?
“Ah. No, no, no, that’s not what I’m talking about. Look at the crowd. Come on. Come up with something better than that.” That’s not what He says, does He? What does He do? He takes it.
They brought him five loaves and two fish and He takes it. He takes it. What does He do? He says, “Get the people in groups of 50 and 100.”
Now, put yourself in the disciples position.
There are five thousand plus people out there and you’re standing there at the end of the day and Jesus wants to feed these people and He says, “Now you’ve given me five loaves and two fish.”
He didn’t reject that and now He’s telling you to go organize them in groups of 50 and 100. Be honest, wouldn’t you feel a little funny, just a little funny, a little nervous?
Like, “Ah, come on. The teaching was good. Isn’t it good enough? That’s a great tape series, Lord. You’re gonna sell a lot of it. That’s really, really good. You outdo Scott Hahn on tapes. All right?”
Well, no. That’s not what the Lord says. “Get in groups of 50 and 100.”
Here you are, now, placed in that role where you’ve got to go out to the people you graduated from high school with and you’re saying, “Okay, folks, get into groups of 50. Okay? Susan, I don’t know why. Really, I don’t know exactly what we’re doing here. Do I look like I know what I’m doing? Okay. Just get into a group of 50, will you. 49, 50, thank you. 98, 99, 100 … Please, Susan, just stay right there. The teaching will be over with in a minute. Just stay there. I don’t know.”
You’re getting out there, doing things that you would normally not do, feeling a little foolish like, “Meh. I’m gonna be made a fool of.”
You’re getting the people in groups of 50 and 100 and then you come back to Jesus.
You got everything organized and Jesus takes the bread. He breaks it and He says,
“Blessed are you, Lord, our God, king of the universe who causes bread to come forth from the earth.”
Then He gives you back the little bit that you had, just a little bit of what you had. He gives it to you. There you are, standing with your back to the audience with that little bit and He says, “Feed them.”
You’re standing there with that bread thinking, “Right. This is good. This is a good teaching, Lord. This is good. This is very, very good. I’m learning a lot. I’m … There’s a lot of life lessons here that I will be able to teach my children. Can we go?”
Now’s the point of decision. Are you gonna feed them, or are you just going to keep looking at the Lord and learning more and more and more, or are you gonna turn around with the little bit that you have and are you going to face the problem with the little bit that you have?
It’s the moment of truth. You can sit in your boat the rest of your life, but you’re never gonna walk on water unless you go overboard.
You’re never going to walk on water unless you go overboard, unless you get out of the boat.
You have that moment where you’ve got to make your decision.
If I’m going to set the world on fire for Christ, I’m gonna have to get out of the boat. I’m going to have to do something.
You turn around with that little bit that you have and you walk out to that first row with that little bit.
You say, “Here,” and, “here.” Maybe two people.
What do you do when you’re out? You turn around and you go back to Jesus.
You go back to Jesus and He’s standing there with more bread and fish.
You’re saying, “How’d you do that? No, I mean, that’s good. How did you do that. That is really good.”
We don’t know exactly, but He has more and He gives it to you.
He says, “Go back.” You go back to the second row and back to Jesus and then to the third row and back to Jesus and the fourth row and back to Jesus.
Before you know it, I imagine the disciples are running the aisles with excitement. Why?
Because they have entered the supernatural.
They have entered the kingdom where they have learned that a little in the hands of Jesus is a lot.
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