A BOY, FAITH AND A MULTITUDE

Bible Reading: John 6:1-14

Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee and because of the signs He performed and the healings that took place great crowds followed Him. Even when He went up on a mountain, to be alone with His disciples, the crowds followed.

Jesus had an outrageous and extravagant idea to feed the crowd. There were 5,000 men, and Matthew adds in his Gospel women and children. Including the children there might have been 15,000-20,000 people, and Jesus wants to feed them! Although Jesus already knew what He was going to do, He tested Philip, who came from the nearby city of Bethsaida, and asked him, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” [Verse 5].

Can you imagine a more impossible situation? Wanting to feed up to 20,000 people and not having any food! Now that is impossible but Jesus is going to do the impossible. It is interesting to see the reactions of three different people to this situation.

Philip decided to try and work it all out logistically and from a human angle. One denarii was about a day’s wage of a labourer. He estimates that to feed the crowd would cost two hundred denarii, which would be nearly seven months wages! You cannot solve impossible situations with human logic!

Andrew tries to come to Philip’s rescue and makes the most ridiculous suggestion. A young boy has with him his packed lunch! Why did Andrew and the other disciples not offer what they had? I suspect that they thought they had not got enough so why even bother to offer! They had never learned the secret that a little with God is enough to perform a miracle! Ask the widow woman with the jar of oil how much God needs [see 2 Kings 4:1-7]. “The need is not great faith in God but a little faith in a great God” [Corrie ten Boom].

A young boy sacrificially gives away his lunch believing that he can help to feed a multitude! He didn’t come from a wealthy home. His barley loaves were cheap food, eaten by the poor, and not the wheat loaves eaten by the rich! It seems incredible that while Philip was trying to work it out, and Andrew was not offering anything, that a child believed that Jesus could feed a crowd with his packed lunch. That was all that Jesus needed to perform the only miracle that is recorded in all four Gospels.

I have learned over the years to hate the word impossible! Many times I have heard Christians say it is impossible, but God’s Word says, “With God nothing will be impossible” [Luke 1:37; Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27].

Questions:

What is the impossible situation that you are facing? What lessons can you learn from this story in facing your impossible situations?

What does the phrase, “Outrageous and Extravagant service for Jesus” mean to you? What do you think was Jesus’ motive in wanting to feed the multitude?