[John 6:1-34] Jesus Takes a Little Boy’s Lunch: In John 6 Part 1, there is a crisis at a very large gathering of hungry people. Prior provisions for feeding this large crowd had not been undertaken. Planning perhaps could have been a bit better than it was. In the midst of the chaos, a little boy gives Jesus his lunch. Isn’t that just like children? They are so generous. When you are under pressure and your need is great, are you willing, do you have enough faith to give Jesus your little lunch?
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[Jhn 6:1-71 KJV] 1 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is [the sea] of Tiberias. 2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. 3 And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. 4 And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. 5 When Jesus then lifted up [his] eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? 6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, 9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? 10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. 12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. 13 Therefore they gathered [them] together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. 15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. 16 And when even was [now] come, his disciples went down unto the sea, 17 And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. 18 And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. 19 So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. 20 But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid. 21 Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went. 22 The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one whereinto his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but [that] his disciples were gone away alone; 23 (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:) 24 When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. 25 And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? 26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. 27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. 28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. 30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? 31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
After the healing of the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda, Jesus returns to Galilee and great multitudes follow Him. He is purposefully moving away from the crowds, and is the pattern He seems to follow throughout all 4 gospel narratives. In this case, v. 2 tells us they are following Him because of the miracles they have witnessed and they want to see more of this and be the recipients themselves of His healing powers. Upon crossing the sea of Galilee, also known as the sea of Tiberias, Jesus gathers His disciples in a mountain location. The crowds gather, and being very remote it becomes obvious that access to adequate food to feed the people will be a problem. Jesus singles out Philip and asks the question “where will we buy bread that these may eat?” Remember Philip when he was called received the promise that he would see the angels of heaven ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. Philip estimates the cost of feeding such a crowd as being prohibitive, although he stops short of suggesting that in the treasury kept by Judas this would not have been possible. The real problem is that there isn’t even access to purchase the food in the first place.
Andrew, Peter’s brother steps up and apparently anticipates what Jesus is about to do. Having scouted around, Andrew brings to Jesus a little boy whose mother had the foresight to prepare with a little lunch five loves and two fishes. Jesus takes the lunch and instructs that the men all sit down together. Can you imagine the mother of this little boy and her reaction? What about the little boy? Verse 11 says that Jesus took the lunch. Who did He take it from? What might have been this little boy’s reaction? Would you be willing to give Jesus your little lunch? After a long day walking around the sea of Galilee and climbing a mountain with your mother to follow after Jesus? What tremendous faith they must have had! What about you? When the problem came up, all the disciples are focused on is the enormity of the challenge of feeding so many, and how pitiful their resources were, and what little they had was taken away from a little boy. Can you see the potential for scandal here? What if this was your little boy, possibly going hungry because 13 grown men hadn’t made better preparation for their traveling gospel event? Do you have enough faith to give Jesus your little lunch?
Jesus instructs that the men sit down. They are all hungry. They are standing up, milling around, realizing that there is little and no food and their families are hungry. Can you imagine the tension in the crowd? What about you ladies? Do things get tense around your house when its meal time and you are late getting something on the table? We tend to paint these scenes as sublime moments with cherubs flitting around but it was no doubt much more of a human thing than an artist might depict. Have you ever tried to get a hungry, irritable man to sit down? Sit down? Why, I want to talk to someone in charge! Why were vendors secured to make sure these people could have something to eat. Is this how you run your operation? Sit down! Don’t be telling me what to do! I have a family to feed! Sit down! Notice Jesus says “make” the men sit down. When is the last time you ever let someone MAKE you do anything? And notice that it isn’t Jesus doing it, He is telling His men to do it. Can you imagine? The 12 (including Judas) walking through a crowd of 5000 men, yes but also their wives and children, so we are talking about possibly well over 10,000 people here.
Jesus takes the loves and blesses them. Notice what happens. He takes what He is given and blesses it. We tend to expect the blessings to find us and bless us as things are at the moment. No, Jesus only blesses what we are willing to let Him take. Take your life, your job, your family situation, your finances, etc.. If you want to see the blessing of God on any area of your life, you must be willing to let that area of your life to become broken bread in the hands of Jesus. To the amazement of the crowd everyone eats, and eats to their fill until there are twelve baskets of leftovers over and beyond what everyone had to eat. Notice that Jesus didn’t provide just enough, He provided more than enough. All any of them needed to sustain them would have been about 500 calories, but Jesus made available much more than that. People say “you can ask God for what you need, but it is sinful to ask beyond that… God won’t give you what you want, He will only legitimately give you what you need…” Well, I guess someone didn’t tell Jesus. He must not have gotten the memo because these people got everything they could possibly want and there was plenty left over to take along for others!
After the miracle of the loaves and fishes, the men, with their bellies full decided that Jesus is the cash cow they have been waiting for and decide to take Him by force and make Him a king. I thought He was already a king? What are these men doing? They are desirous to make Jesus a king on THEIR TERMS. They were not satisfied with Him meeting their need that particular day, they want to keep Him around for future demands that might be made upon Him. Isn’t that what many do today? Again, Jesus separates Himself and go away alone. We see Jesus time and again moving away from the crowds, away from the clamor to be alone with His thoughts and away from the demands of the people. Where were the disciples? Where they still preoccupied with the crowd, or the 12 baskets of food? They look around and Jesus is gone, they are not sure where, so they board a ship to go over toward Capernaum, thinking they would find Him there.
As the disciples are rowing across a great wind comes up and things get very difficult moving forward. Have you ever come from a great move of God in your life, only to suddenly find it rough going? This is a very important lesson. When you have experienced something special in God and are basking in the afterglow of a powerful intervention or answer to prayer, be on alert. The enemy lurks and will see to assault you both immediately BEFORE and immediately AFTER a great event or spiritual blessing in your life. My wife and I have learned to get alone and get quiet both in advance of and after big meetings, conferences or when we have seen the hand of God do something spectacular in our lives.
What are the disciples doing to combat this great wind of adversity? They are rowing for all their might. Then Jesus comes walking on the sea. They are afraid. Why? Because Jesus is coming to them in a way that they have not anticipated. It is amazing to me, that Christians instantly fear and pronounce as coming from the devil anything they do not understand or identify as familiar to them in their religious traditions. They see something that is new to them and instantly say “that’s of the devil! That can’t be God!” Learn to trim your words and be silent, rather than offer the sacrifice of fools. In spite of their fear, Jesus simply says “it is I, be not afraid…” You have to give them that. Even though a man walking on the water was an astounding thing, when they heard the voice of the Master, they willingly received Him into the ship. What about you? When you are under pressure and things are very difficult, can you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in those times, or are you so distracted that you cannot hear at all? One gospel says that Jesus made as though to walk on by them. When they responded to His voice however, and Jesus stepped into the boat, they are miraculously transported to the land. This is a suddenly. We hear about this all the time, but we never hear a teaching about how to experience it.
If you want to experience a “suddenly” in the midst of a challenging situation, pay attention to God showing up in ways that you might not be familiar with. Learn to listen for the HERE AM I of Jesus. Be willing to let Him into your process, rather than being so preoccupied with doing things your way that Jesus passes on by without your miracle deliverance ever being experienced!
The day following, the multitude who experienced the loaves and the fishes, hire boats and go across after Jesus. They know that Jesus wasn’t in the boat with the disciples (they had been keeping their eyes on the 12 baskets full left over). They ask Jesus how He had made His way across in the night. Jesus doesn’t answer them, He just simply tells them that they are following Him not out of a pure heart, but just because of the loaves and fishes. In v. 27 He tells them that laboring in His kingdom is not about selfish gains but about esoteric rewards beyond their comprehension. Labor not for meat that perishes, but for life everlasting. In the boat there was no doubt 12 baskets of waterlogged and ruined bread. Perhaps they should have given the surplus away, instead. The people aren’t in the mood for a teaching moment, so they ask “what do we have to do, to perform these miracles so we don’t HAVE to follow you around…” Now their hearts are being revealed. They want what Jesus can do for them, but they really don’t want and aren’t interested in His personal Lordship over their lives. Jesus doesn’t offer them any alternatives. In v. 29 His answer is that the only way to experience the works of God is to first believe in and commit to the one whom God has sent into their lives.
The crowd attempts to manipulate Jesus because they don’t like the direction this conversation is going. They want Him to show them a sign, or do they? Since Jesus isn’t giving them what they want, they start quoting scripture. Have you ever quoted scripture, as if to pressure God to meeting your need on your terms and timetable and not His? They are in effect saying “if you are God – if you are who you say you are – then do what we expect you to do…” This is the law of man. Satisfy my needs or I won’t serve you. Jesus replies that what Moses gave was not the point. What they truly had need of was something they were not interested in at them moment. Their problem was they wanted another miracle. Isn’t that what we all want? Another miracle? Their need was, to partake of the bread that came down from Heaven, even that esoteric substance that Jesus was in His person, the Manna from God to answer not our problem but your need. We have to think beyond our own shortcomings and deficits. We have to come up higher in our thinking about God and spiritual things. We have to have something more in our walk with God than hurrying to the next big conference, or then next spiritual titillation with goose bumps and all. We must partake of the Bread of God that Jesus is in His person, we must partake and be changed.