Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

,

Jesus, more than, satisfies our every need.

John(70) (Part of the Believe(67) series)
by Stuart Johns(118) on September 1, 2019 (Sunday Morning(156))

Faith(10), God's Will(4)

Believe

Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

(John 6:1-15)

 

INTRODUCTION

“You just never know how God might call you to serve him. For instance, in August of 2011 a 12-year-old boy named Gaelen from Vancouver Island, Canada, was hailed as a hero after he helped deliver his new baby brother. It all started when Gaelen's mother woke up in hard labor at 2 A.M. She had planned to deliver the baby in the hospital, but when the time came she couldn't even get out of bed. "I was already in the process of pushing," she said. ‘There was nothing I could do.’

 

Her cries for help woke her son who was sleeping in the next room. When he entered his mother's room, he said he could already see his baby brother's head.

 

Gaelen later reported, ‘I grabbed [the baby] by the shoulders and his head was resting on my wrists. Then I gently pulled him out and laid him on the bed.’ Gaelen then went to the kitchen to find some scissors, so he could cut and clamp the baby's umbilical cord.

 

The family made it to hospital about 45 minutes after the birth. Danielle Edwards and her new baby boy, her fifth child, stayed in the hospital until Sunday morning.

 

When asked how he knew how to do all of this, Gaelen nonchalantly replied, ‘I watch a bunch of medical [TV] shows.’ He also said that after this experience he is considering a career in medicine.”

 

Matt Woodley, managing editor, PreachingToday.com; source: CBC News, "Boy, 12, helps deliver baby brother" (8-22-11).

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2011/november/1112111.html].

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Compound Bow

        • We were living in Ohio and I was serving as State Director for CEF

        • I’ve been hunting with a shotgun or rifle since I was 12 years old, but I was interested in learning how to bow hunt

        • As a faith-based missionary, I knew that I couldn’t buy a compound bow on my own

        • One evening, while meeting with a local CEF board, we were sharing about our lives, just getting to know each other

        • I shared about being a hunter and wanting to learn how to bow hunt

        • One of the board members, whose house we were meeting in, said he had a compound bow with a case and a bunch of other accessories with it

        • He couldn’t use it anymore

        • Long story, short, he gave me his compound bow for free

        • That was beyond my wildest dreams

          • I still use that compound bow today

          • God provided something that I thought I would never have

 

  • WE

    • God’s provision

        • Take a moment to think about a time when God provided for you

        • When we’re struggling financially, God can and will provide just what we need

        • When we’re dealing with relational difficulties, God can and will provide the solution to our problem

        • Have you ever found a time when God’s provision for you has been inadequate?

        • Has there ever been a time when His provision has been late?

    • Faith

        • Many times our faith in God’s provision is weak

        • We may think the problem in front of us is too big for God to handle

        • We may think that what we have to offer Him, to help with the problem, is insufficient or insignificant

 

The feeding of the 5,000 is the only story that is shared in all four Gospels. ​​ It was a significant miracle that each Gospel writer did not forget. ​​ We will see through two disciple’s responses, to the problem, that there was not enough money to take care of the problem, and that what they did have was not sufficient to deal with the problem. ​​ The disciples already knew that Jesus could do the miraculous, but perhaps their faith was continuing to develop. ​​ What John wants us to understand today, through this passage is that . . .

 

BIG IDEA – Jesus, more than, satisfies our every need.

 

Let’s pray

 

  • GOD (John 6:1-15)

    • The Setting (vv. 1-4)

        • Some time after this

          • This is just another way for John to change to the next story about Jesus so that people will believe He is the Son of God and by believing they will have eternal life

          • It doesn’t carry a particular time frame with it (days, months, years, etc.)

        • Crossing the Sea of Galilee

          • Most of the time in Scripture, the far shore of the Sea of Galilee, is referring to the eastern shore (going from the Jewish side of the sea)

          • It is also referring to the fact that those traveling, to the far shore, are going from west to east across the Sea of Galilee

          • John gives us what was probably the modern name for the Sea at the time he was writing this Gospel

            • The Sea got the modern name from the city of Tiberius that was founded by Herod Antipas around 18-20 A.D.

            • The city was named after Antipas’ patron, Emperor Tiberius

            • The name of the city was then transferred to the sea

          • There are two other names for this Sea in Scripture

            • Lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1)

            • Sea of Kinnereth (Numbers 34:11)

              • This name comes from the Hebrew word, kinnôr, which means lyre (as in the musical instrument)

              • Many believed the sea was shaped like a lyre

          • We know then that this story is taking place on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee

          • Jesus had been healing the sick on the western side, which obviously drew a large crowd

        • Following Jesus

          • This crowd that had been with Jesus on the western side of the Sea of Galilee were following Him, because of what they saw Him do with the sick

            • He had been doing miraculous signs on the sick, which most likely refers to healings

            • People were drawn to Jesus because of this

            • We could be really hard and critical of the people following Jesus

              • We could say that they were following Him for the wrong reasons

              • They simply wanted to be around Jesus for the “magic show” that He was doing with the sick

              • But, I want us to be cautious that we don’t do that

              • The miraculous signs that Jesus was doing were to draw people to Him, so He could share about the Kingdom of God with them

              • His intentions were genuine and true

              • John shared just a few of the miracles that Jesus did, so that his readers would believe that Jesus is the Son of God and by believing they would have life (John 20:30-31)

          • Jesus and His disciples had been ministering to crowds of people, non-stop

          • They needed some time to rest and connect

        • Rest and connection

          • Jesus went up on a mountainside

            • A specific mountain is not in view here

            • It is probably referring to the hill country on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee

            • It is identified today as the Golan Heights

          • He sat down with His disciples

            • This was perhaps a time for Jesus and His disciples to take a breather

            • To catch up on all that had been happening

            • We know from Mark (6:6-12) and Luke’s (9:1-6) Gospels that the disciples had just returned from being sent out by Jesus to cure diseases, to heal people, to cast out demons, and to preach the Kingdom of God

            • Jesus knows the emotional and physical demands of ministering to people, so He wants to help His disciples get some rest

        • Jewish Passover Feast

          • John gives us a note about the Jewish Passover Feast being near

          • This helps us know that it was around April 13/14 that this miraculous feeding took place (spring time)

        • John has set the stage for us and now he shares the actual miracle story

    • The Miracle (vv. 5-13)

        • Great crowd coming

          • Jesus and His disciples had traveled by boat to the other side of the Sea of Galilee

          • Perhaps some of the crowd used boats to follow Him, but most of the crowd probably walked

            • Mark 6:32-33, So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. ​​ But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.

            • They would have walked around the northern tip of the sea, which was a several mile walk

          • When Jesus looked up and saw the crowd coming, He asks Philip a question

        • Human solutions – hopelessness (vv. 5-9)

          • Philip – too big to solve

            • Jesus’ question – “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”

              • I know what you’re thinking, “Poor Philip! ​​ Why did Jesus call Him out?”

              • Philip had grown up in nearby Bethsaida with Andrew and Peter

              • He would have been familiar with where the marketplaces were or perhaps the baker’s house

              • This question was simply a test, though

              • Jesus was probably trying to determine where Philip’s faith was and/or to gauge Philip’s understanding of who He was, as Messiah

              • Jesus wasn’t trying to gain just information, because He already knew what He was going to do about the need of the hungry followers

              • PRINCIPLE #1 – Jesus is all-knowing (omniscient)

                • Jesus already knew about the need before the crowd followed them around the Sea of Galilee

                • He already knew He was going to do a miracle to feed the hungry people

                • He already knew about the 5 loaves and 2 fishes

                • Application

                  • It should come as no surprise to you that Jesus already knew about the difficult situations you are going through, right now (finances, relationships, health)

                  • You can take comfort in the fact that Jesus already knows what He is going to do about your difficult situation

                  • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Claim the promise that Jesus knows what He is going to do about my difficult situation.

                  • Guess what? ​​ Jesus already knew about the payroll tax debt and the tight finances of Idaville Church

                  • He already knows what He’s going to do about both of these difficult situations in our church

                  • We can trust Him and claim the same promise, corporately

                • We’ll see this same principle, of Jesus being all-knowing, in verse 15

              • John then provides Philip’s answer to Jesus’ question

            • Philip’s answer

              • Philip had seen Jesus do miracles previously, so He knew Jesus had the power to do something miraculous in this situation

              • Philip’s response shows us that he is only able to think in the human, natural world

                • Philip must have been really good at math, because he looks at the crowd, estimates how many people are gathered, and calculates what it would cost to buy just enough bread for each person to have one bite

                • Then he tells Jesus, that it would take eight months’ wages to accomplish what He is asking

                • One denarius was the wages for a common laborer in the 1st Century, so 200 denarii would have been eight months wages

                • The disciples did have a purse of funds, that we later find out was handled by Judas Iscariot, but it didn’t contain 200 denarii

              • To Philip, the task seemed impossible, because he was looking at it from a human, natural perspective

                • He probably felt hopeless

                • You and I are guilty of doing the same thing – looking at our difficulties from a human, natural perspective and giving up because it seems impossible

                • We feel hopeless, discouraged, depressed, and alone

                • Our faith is probably pretty weak during those times

                • PRINCIPLE #2 – Even when our faith is weak, God wants to work in and through us.

                  • Philip’s faith was weak, because his focus was in the wrong place

                  • Our faith is weak, because our focus is in the wrong place

                  • We have to look to Jesus for His plan, His will, His purpose in the difficult times

                  • The first step in changing our focus is admitting that it’s in the wrong place

                  • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Admit to God that I have not been focusing on Him and seeking His solution to my difficult situation.

                  • God wants to work in and through us as we go through our current financial difficulties here at the church

                  • He wants to do the supernatural through us as we offer to Him the resources that we have, even if they seem insufficient

            • What we see next is another disciple offering a solution, but still struggling with his faith in what Jesus can do

          • Andrew – insufficient resources

            • Bringing people to Jesus

              • Andrew comes to Jesus, but he doesn’t come alone

              • This is Simon Peter’s brother, and if you remember from John 1:41, the first thing Andrew did, after he followed Jesus, was to go get his brother and tell him that they had found the Messiah, then he took him to Jesus

              • Andrew finds a boy with a small lunch and he brings him to Jesus

              • Andrew is known in the Scriptures for bringing people to Jesus – what a great role model for us!

            • The insufficient resources

              • Andrew explains what resources he found to deal with the problem of the hungry crowd

                • John makes it clear that the loaves were small – these were not large, long Italian loaves

                • They were small barley loaves

                  • Barley was the grain of the poor

                  • “Barley was common food for the poor, its ‘lower gluten content, low extraction rate, less desirable taste, and indigestibility’ rendering it ‘the staple of the poor in Roman times.’” ​​ [Köstenberger, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, John, 201]

                  • Wheat was reserved for those who were wealthier

                • The two fish were also small

                  • Again, these were not the large catfish that Alger Melton, CJ Armolt, Jim Toms, and Warren Baum catch in the Susquehanna River

                  • These were probably the size of the shiners that these guys use as bait to catch the catfish

                  • They were probably preserved by drying them

                • So, Andrew brings the boy with his small lunch to Jesus, but he adds his own commentary to the resources he has found

              • His faith is weak

                • “How far will they go among so many?”

                • We see again the weak faith of another disciple, who has seen Jesus do the miraculous in the past

                • That just leads us back to the second principle, PRINCIPLE #2 – Even when our faith is weak, God wants to work in and through us.

                • What happens to us is that we sometimes forget how God has worked miraculously in the past

                • We allow the size of the problem before us to cause us to have temporary amnesia

                • We have to stop starring at the huge problem in front of us and begin to look upon the face of Jesus

                • We need to change our focus and remember the miraculous things that Jesus has accomplished in our lives in the past

                • We have to remember that nothing is too hard for Jesus – no problem or difficulty is beyond His ability to deal with

          • What we see next in verses 10-13 is that Jesus does something beyond the wildest dreams of the disciples and the crowd

          • We’ll see that Jesus, more than, satisfies the needs of the hungry people

        • Supernatural solution (vv. 10-13)

          • Organized

            • We know that God is a God of order and not chaos

            • Jesus has the people sit down on the grass

              • Mark tells us that they sat in groups of hundreds and fifties (Mark 6:40)

              • That would certain make it easier to count how many people were there

              • We know that there were five thousand men in the crowd

              • Most scholars believe that the total count of men, women, and children could have been around ten to twenty thousand

            • The mention of grass, simply lets us know that it was still spring time and the hot summer sun and not yet scorched the grass

          • The miracle

            • Jesus took the “insufficient resources” gave thanks and started to distribute the bread and fish to the people who were sitting down

            • PRINCIPLE #3 – Jesus is all-powerful (omnipotent)

              • He is able to do anything

              • There is nothing that is too hard for Him

              • Nothing is impossible for Him

              • In fact, Jesus is able to take what we offer Him and do more with it than is humanly possible

                • What are you offering Jesus?

                  • Time, talent, resources

                • Are you holding back anything, because you think it’s insufficient?

                  • “I can’t do special music, because I feel like my singing voice is insufficient.” (offer it to Jesus!)

                  • “I can’t teach Sunday school, children’s church, or a discipleship group, because my teaching skills are insufficient.” (offer it to Jesus!)

                  • “I can’t give a tithe or offering, because I have insufficient funds due to being on a fixed income, or because I lost my job, or because I have more bills at the end of the month than I have money in the bank.” (offer what little you have to Jesus!)

                  • “I don’t feel like I have sufficient skills to visit people in their homes, greet worshipers on a Sunday morning, help as an usher, or man the Welcome Center.” ​​ (offer it to Jesus!)

                  • “I don’t have sufficient funds to give to the GROW Capital Campaign or to help with the tax debt or the tight finances at the church.” ​​ (offer what you have to Jesus!)

                • Jesus is able to take what you offer Him and do more with it than is humanly possible

                  • Jesus is looking for those who will step out in faith and trust Him to do the miraculous

                  • He can and will do something that is beyond our wildest dreams

            • Notice what each person received

          • More than enough

            • Philip had calculated what it would cost for each person to have one bite of bread (200 denarii, impossible!)

            • Jesus keeps distributing bread and fish to the hungry crowd until they had as much as they wanted

              • They ate until they were full

              • They ate until they were satisfied

            • Jesus, more than, satisfies our every need.

              • When everyone had had enough to eat, Jesus told the disciples to pick up the leftovers and not to waste anything

                • “It was customary at Jewish meals to collect what was left over. ​​ Pieces of bread were not to be thrown around (b. Ber. 50b), and food the size of an olive or larger must be picked up (b. Ber. 52b).” ​​ [Köstenberger, 202]

                • The reason they were to pick up the leftovers was so nothing would be wasted/perish

                • The only previous use of the verb “to be lost” is part of, probably, the most recognizable verse in the Bible, John 3:16, when it says he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life [Michaels, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, The Gospel of John, 350]

                • Perhaps it is an allusion to what Jesus will be doing through His death, burial, and resurrection

                • It will be a visual reminder, in the disciples’ memory, about their role in evangelism after Jesus ascends to heaven (they’re supposed to gather followers of Jesus, so they won’t perish)

              • More than they started with

                • It’s amazing to me to see that after the disciples pick up the leftover barley bread that they had 12 baskets full

                • Jesus started with five small barley loaves, but His provision for this hungry crowd more than satisfies their needs by twelve-fold!

            • God’s provision for Idaville Church

              • We’re a body of believers that is facing what seems like insurmountable debt and financial struggles

              • But, I’m hopeful!!!

              • I’m trusting Jesus to do the miraculous and I know He will!

              • As we focus on Jesus, He is going to build our faith

              • As we offer Him our “insufficient resources,” He will do more with it than is humanly possible

              • I believe, in the end, He will also provide more than what we need, as we trust Him!

          • You can trust Jesus to do the same for you in whatever difficulty or problem you are facing

        • The crowd was starting to understand who Jesus was, but their understanding was flawed

    • The Withdraw (vv. 14-15)

        • As we’ve seen in John’s Gospel, the miraculous signs were done so that people would believe that Jesus is the Son of God and by believing they would have life

          • They had the beginnings of true belief, but it wasn’t that Jesus was the Messiah

          • The Samaritan woman began this same way, “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.” ​​ (John 4:19)

          • The Jews were waiting for the fulfillment of the prophecy found in Deuteronomy 18:15-19

          • The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. ​​ You must listen to him. ​​ For this is what you asked the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.” ​​ The Lord said to me: ​​ “What they say is good. ​​ I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. ​​ If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.

          • Their understanding of Jesus’ purpose on earth was guided by their own personal desires to be free from Roman rule (natural instead of spiritual)

        • Forcing Jesus into our plans

          • The crowd wanted to force Jesus to be their earthly King

          • They wanted Him to be a political leader instead of a spiritual leader

          • Jesus knew their hearts, because He is all-knowing (omniscient)

            • He knew that their desires were selfish

            • PRINCIPLE #4 – We sometimes try to force Jesus into our plans instead of following His leading.

              • This is human nature, especially in the United States, where we are fiercely independent

              • We are told to make our own way

              • Success means having more than the next guy

              • We want Jesus to do for us what we want, instead of listening to His voice and His leading

              • “On our way back to Georgia from south Texas, my son and his family stopped in New Orleans. ​​ That city has one of the country’s oldest trolleys which carries visitors to the zoo. ​​ It looked like a great idea so the whole family – Mom, Dad, and two children – jumped on. ​​ Jeff assumed the role of sufficient and dependable leader. ​​ He watched his map, looked for landmarks, and told the family when to jump off the trolley. ​​ But as they rose to get off, the driver looked right at him and shook his head. ​​ ‘You’re going to the zoo, right?’ ​​ Jeff nodded and offered a feeble ‘Yes.’ ​​ ‘Next stop,’ said the driver. ​​ Sometimes we lean on our own maps and fail to consult the source of true authority about what we should do with our lives.” ​​ [Gangel, Holman New Testament Commentary, John, 120]

              • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Follow Jesus’ leading in my life and not try to force Him into my plans.

          • Jesus could not allow the crowd to determine and define His plan and purpose on earth, so He left the crowd and perhaps went further up the hillside to be alone

 

  • YOU

    • Claim the promise that Jesus knows what to do about my difficult situation

    • Admit to God that I have not been focusing on Him and seeking His solution to my difficult situation

    • Follow Jesus leading in my life and not try to force Him into my plans

 

  • WE

    • As a church we need to claim the promise that Jesus knows what to do about our financial difficulties

 

CONCLUSION

“Serving God with our little is the way to make it more; and we must never think that wasted with which God is honored or men are blest.”

 

Henrietta Mears in Dream Big: The Henrietta Mears Story. Christianity Today, Vol. 38, no. 13.

 

[https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/1996/april/1709.html].

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