John 6:5–11, 26–31, 47–51comment (0)
October 17, 2013
By Jay T. Robertson
Related Scripture: John 6:5–11, 26–31, 47–51
Explore the Bible
Assistant Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile
THE POWER TO MEET NEEDS
John 6:5–11, 26–31, 47–51
Perhaps no other story in the Bible, other than the story of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, demonstrates the deity of Jesus as clearly as the feeding of the 5,000. Only God could do what occurred on that day in Israel. This story is popular with children and adults and is so important in the life and ministry of Jesus that it is the only miracle, other than the resurrection, that is recorded in all four Gospels.
See the Need (5–7)
Jesus has taught a large crowd of people for a long time. The hour is late, the people are famished and they need something to eat. Jesus is concerned for the people spiritually as well as physically. He has spent time teaching the people and now He is concerned for their physical need because they’re hungry.
Jesus sets out now to teach Philip and His disciples some very important lessons. Jesus asks Philip, “Where can we get enough food to feed this crowd of people?” Philip quickly calculates and responds that 200 denarii (eight months’ wages) would not be enough to feed such a great crowd of people. We should have compassion for others like Jesus. Christians need to cultivate an awareness of people and their needs, both spiritual and physical needs. Ask the Holy Spirit to enable you to see the need.
Look for Resources (8–11)
Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, introduces a boy with five barley loaves and two fish. Andrew’s point is that the boy’s tiny meal is inadequate to feed the 5,000 hungry men. Add women and children, the number may have been 20,000 total hungry people. Despite the size of the crowd, Jesus proceeds in an orderly fashion, seating the people in preparation for the meal.
It is one thing to recognize a legitimate need. It is an altogether different thing to do something about it. We should seek to meet people’s needs like Jesus. First do what only you can do. You do not work where you work or live where you live by accident. Jesus places His disciples strategically so He can work through them to meet people’s needs. Second trust Jesus to do what only He can do. Jesus loves to demonstrate His power and sufficiency in our lives. Sometimes He allows problems to invade our lives that are far beyond our abilities or resources to handle. Why? He wants us to look to Him. He wants us to come to the end of us and find Him right there.
Jesus takes a little lunch that could hardly feed a young boy and He feeds a crowd of thousands. Jesus uses what’s available and miraculously satisfies the hunger of the entire crowd.
Share the Gospel (26–31)
Jesus says the people are seeking Him for the material benefit that He gave, whereas they should seek Him because they saw miraculous signs that point to His divine nature and identity as Messiah. Jesus capitalizes on this opportunity and teaches them they need to trust Him as Messiah.
After we serve people in Jesus’ name, we should seek to share the gospel with them. Every Christian is commanded to share the gospel with non-Christians; therefore, every Christian needs to be equipped to introduce non-Christians to Jesus. Are you prepared to share the gospel?
Follow Through (47–51)
Some of the people are grumbling about Jesus teaching that He came down from heaven. Some of the people still have questions about eternal life and Jesus patiently answers their questions. He teaches them that eternal life comes through faith in Him. He is the true bread of heaven and He will die to secure the redemption of sinners.
After sharing the gospel, it is important to follow up. Teaching is an essential component of evangelism. We need to keep sharing the gospel and answering their questions so they can have an accurate understanding of the gospel.