Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Feeding the Five Thousand (Jn. 6:1-10)

This is my personal summary of the preaching of Rev Dr Stephen Tong on 4 July 2010 in True Way Presbyterian Church. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

John 6:1-10

Jesus returned to Galilee his hometown. Jesus said the prophet is not welcome in his hometown but in this chapter, Jesus was welcome. But did they really love Jesus? Did they really follow Him? They actually had other motives. There was great crowd because they saw and heard the miraculous signs performed by Jesus in Jerusalem.

As Jesus went up the mountain, the crowd followed Him. There were at least 5,000 men, so with women and children there would be around 12,000 people. Jesus looked at them and thought for their needs after walking with him for a day. The Bible mentions many times that Jesus had compassion on the crowd. This time He saw that they had no food and as the leader He knew what to do. Leadership is not focused on own needs but others. Jesus Christ teaches that if you want to be the greatest you have to be the servant of all.

The Old Testament writes about David’s strong leadership. When he was thirsty, he said he wished to quench his tongue from the water in the enemy’s land. His soldiers risked their lives to bring the water to him. They loved David so much that they were willing to die for him. David was moved by their loyalty and instead of drinking the water, he poured it to the ground as he felt that he could not drink the water which the men had risked their lives to get for him. He was not willing that the soldiers should die for him. This is the heard of a leader. As for Jesus, when He was crucified, except John all his disciples ran away.

In this instance, how did His disciples understand His thoughts and how would they solve the problem of the food? He summoned Phillip, “Where do we buy food for these people?” He knew what to do but he wanted to test his disciples and train them to be leaders. Phillip’s replied, “Eight months wages would not be enough to buy bread for each to have a bite.” (Jn. 6:7)

This is the sort of response that most churches have. The first question is to ask if the church has money. Financial difficulty is an excuse not to do anything. Some churches have money and still do not do anything. They find security in money. However Christ taught differently. He asked the disciples to feed the 5000 people without giving them a single dollar. He commanded the disciples to preach the gospel to the whole world but never gave any financial resources.

Jesus asked Phillip not because He did not know. But when Phillip had no answer on how to feed these people, it reveals the condition of his heart. It reveals his method. Phillip’s method is bounded by financial constraint. There is no way to feed this people unless there is money. Phillip’s answer was secular and logical.

The second method was from Andrew. He brought a child who had five loaves of small bread and two small fish and commented that it is not enough to share among so many (Jn. 6:8-9). Jesus honoured this method. A miracle was done because of the heart of this child. The first method was based on human reasoning and resources. The second was based on the faith of a child who wanted to sacrifice what he has for others as he believed in the power of God.

Jesus asked to have the people sit down (Jn. 6:10). They must have faith in God that after they sat down, providence will arrive. The Word of God is the faithful testimony. Jesus is the Great Shepherd. But the disciples have no faith.

The governance and businesses of the world is sustained by money, but the house of God is sustained by the heart of a child and in the Old Testament, on one instance, by the faith of the widow.

God asked Moses to take two million Israelites out of Egypt. How would Moses feed them in the desert? God rained manna from heaven. There are three principles we need to remember: First, do the work of God with your heart. Secondly, give God what you have. Thirdly, do not look to the rich and do not despise the lowly and humble.

“For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.” (2 Cor. 8:12). Jesus does not want what you do not have, He only wants what you have. If Christians understand this principle, the church can accomplish great tasks.


Post a Comment

<< Home