August 1, 2021
Pastor Gunnar Ledermann
6:1 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Festival was near.
5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
Interest rates are at historic lows right now and people are taking advantage of them, but you still cannot buy everything that you want. In order to buy everything you want, you would need unlimited access to money. Even with the extra low interest rates right now, what you really need is a limitless credit card. If you had a credit card with no limit, then you would never need to pay it off. Just imagine for a few moments what you would get if you had a limitless credit card. Now, we know that such a card does not exist, so we can only dream about the possibilities. Except that such a thing does exist.
I have here with me enough applications for each of you to apply for a limitless credit card. You just have to fill it out and it is yours. It has the typical lines to fill out like name, date of birth, social security number, but then it has one question that you do not find on other forms. It asks, “Who is able and willing to give you everything you need, whenever you ask for it?”
While you ponder that question, we will transition to a time when even if someone had money, it would have done them no good. It happened when a large crowd followed Jesus and his disciples to a remote area. The crowd followed Jesus because they had seen his miracles and wanted more. Distracted by their desire to see more miraculous signs, the people did not have food with them. Jesus knew what was happening, and he had a plan, but he wanted to give his disciples the chance to show their trust and understanding of who he was. So, Jesus 5 … said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” And, 7 “Philip answered him, ‘It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!’” Philip’s reply basically meant there was no way to feed all these people because no one carried that kind of money on them and even if they had it, they were in a remote place with no one to buy from. Then, 8 “Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 ‘Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?’” Jesus knew exactly how far the five loaves and two small fish would go, so he had the people sit down, took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed it to the people, and did the same with the fish.
Once, everyone had their fill, the disciples collected twelve baskets full of leftovers. 14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” The people thought Jesus was the prophet God spoke of through Moses in Deuteronomy 18, 15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.” The people saw Jesus’ miraculous feeding and thought back to Moses leading Israel through the wilderness where they ate the miraculous manna and quail sent by God to keep them alive. The large crowd made up of five thousand men, not counting all the women and children, concluded that the prophet like Moses had now come. However, 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. The people misunderstood Jesus’ signs and miracles. They saw them as their chance to force Jesus into giving them the ideal government that gives them whatever they ask without question or cost, but Jesus’ kingdom was not of this world and his blessings would go far beyond the borders of any nation, even beyond the grave.
When you hear the account of Jesus’ miraculous giving to feed thousands from five small loaves and two small fish, it confronts you with a question. It is the same question on the limitless credit card form, “Who is able and willing to give you everything you need, whenever you ask for it?” The question has three parts, but one answer. Your answer must be someone who has the resources to get you everything you need, who wants to give you what you need rather than keep it from you, and who is able to hear you at any time and any place. The answer to the question is not the hard part, it is trusting that the answer is true that is the hard part. Jesus is the answer but trusting God to give you what you need is the hard part.
Jesus was the Prophet God spoke of through Moses. Moses was a great prophet that God worked through to deliver his people, speak to them, keep them alive in the desert and bring them close to the promised land of Israel, but he was still not the promised savior. Jesus was the Prophet who fulfilled the promises of Scripture of the one who delivered his people from slavery to sin, death and the devil, who spoke the words of everlasting life by calling people to trust in his forgiveness and resurrection, who stands in heaven now speaking on our behalf to God so that we are seen as perfect, who has the power of life and who opened the door to eternal life in heaven. Jesus provides for your greatest needs giving you identity as a member of his eternal kingdom and purpose to bring more people into his kingdom to give him glory, praise, and thanks.
Your application to have everything you need has been filled out by Jesus. You have everything that you need right now, so the temptation you face is to spend all of God’s grace on yourself. Your contentment to say that you have everything you need from God is a temptation to selfishly keep God’s limitless gifts of forgiveness, life, love and peace. Even keep his gifts of your possessions, time, relationships, etc. for your own good alone. But, if God has given you a limitless supply of what you need, then you have a lot to give others. The Apostle Paul reminded the Corinthians of all of this when they had promised to raise funds to help the struggling Christians in Jerusalem. He wrote in 2 Corinthians 9, 8 “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” The Corinthians had all they needed from God and they had the opportunity to send help to their fellow Christians. And, Paul went on to write, 11 “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” The generosity of the Corinthians meant Paul and his companions would thank God for their gifts, and the Christians in Jerusalem would thank God for providing for them physically, emotionally and spiritually.
You have so much to give others. In our Old Testament reading today from 2 Kings 4, there was a man who brought twenty loaves of bread to the prophet Elisha to feed a hundred men. 42 … “Give it to the people to eat,” Elisha said. 43 “How can I set this before a hundred men?” his servant asked. But Elisha answered, “Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the Lord says: ‘They will eat and have some left over.’” Elisha’s servant doubted. He figured if a hundred guys go to Soulman’s and they were given 20 loaves of Texas toast, they would not be satisfied. He figured he would hear things like, “I thought we were trying to avoid gluten, and this is too many carbs.” Then, Elisha encouraged his servant with God’s promise that he would miraculously give them what they needed. You might look at your personality, your stage in life, your education, your past sins, your finances, your medications, your car, your house, your neighborhood, etc. and feel like you have nothing to give or if you give anything then you will not have what you need. First, you always have all you need through Christ. Second, in the account of the feeding of the five thousand there was someone who brought something that seemed small, some who served what seemed too small and someone who gave thanks. You might be the one with something, the one who can help serve what someone else has or be someone to pray and give thanks. All of those are good things that give to others.
Interest rates are at historic lows right now and people are taking advantage of them, but you still cannot buy everything that you want. Picture Rockwall’s football stadium that is just down the road backed with people, and the snack bar with just five loaves of bread and two fish. Then, picture Jesus taking those loaves and fish, giving thanks, and feeding everyone. They would want him to be the president of the Booster club, but Jesus is not a Booster club president. Jesus is the Prophet. Jesus came to fulfill your needs. He is your endless supply of love, forgiveness, and life. He gives you an endless supply of thankfulness which results in generosity. Give thanks to God for all he has given you. And as you give thanks for all he has given you; your eyes will be open to see all you can give to others physically, emotionally and spiritually. Jesus’ miraculous giving revealed he was the Prophet. Amen.