After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. 3 Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. 5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” 6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. 14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”
15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
Your resources aren’t enough. Really, you don’t have anything that wasn’t given to you by God. At this time in the year many of my students seem drained and emotionally spent. They come back from summer full of good intentions, but a combination of overwork, poor decisions, and a busy social schedule drain most of them by mid to late September. It’s actually good for them in a way because when life demands more than we have, we either crumble or throw ourselves at the feet of Jesus.
In this passage Philip is tested with a catering issue. He has to feed 5,000 men with very little. The disciples look at what they have but they don’t have enough. Jesus takes the resources surrendered to him and he multiplies them so that there is what seems like a waste at the end. There are 12 baskets more than necessary provided by Jesus. This speaks not only to God’s provision but to his bounty. He gives us more than we need to be able to do what he wants us to do.
Sometimes being stretched is what God wants us to experience. Sometimes God will not provide bounty because we are not doing his will. Some people add so much to the basic calling of God on their life that they do not have any scraps left over. By this I mean that God may have called them to work in Starbucks, but they add part-time work for a clothing store, they go to the movies every night, and they eat at fancy restaurants. God also calls us to simplicity and some of us may have overfilled our lives whilst also expecting God to take care of all our extras.
A relationship with Jesus lived in total surrender helps us to discern where our time, money and strength should be spent. Once we are walking in the Spirit, Jesus provides above and beyond all we can possibly imagine.
I want more, but I have enough. I see the life that you are leading me through and you have provided for me enough to eat and enough to drink in every phase. I have now got more than I need, help me to be grateful. Help me to live simply and take care of my students, my friends, and my family as you wish.
- What is Philip asked to do and why?
- What does Jesus reveal about himself?
- Why would people want to make him king?
- What needs do you have? What do you lack?
- Does Jesus really provide more than you need in order to accomplish what he has called you to do?