The Feeding Of the 5000 or of the Disciples?
good morning and welcome again to our study of john And this morning we return again to John, Chapter six, having last week looked at a far reaching uh introduction of this chapter. This chapter is pregnant with, it is absolutely filled with theology and, and theology that marks out the difference between the new covenant and the old cover. Now, each one of the gospel writers um had a different perspective, a different view, a different um purpose in their riding because the life of christ is so vast that is needed. And if you remember that john’s purpose is to reveal who jesus is, that he is God, that he is God become man without relinquishing his divinity. And he has come as God and man to produce worshippers. And then now he is training his disciples to do the same thing. God is seeking worshippers and christ has come to provide them and then his mission is an exodus right? You have the the the the shadow of the true exodus in the old testament under moses. And you have the true exodus in christ where there is true freedom and true communion and true worship because the spirit has been made alive through the sacrificial death of christ, his substitution ery atonement on our behalf. And then the spirit being brought back to life in us as we are with him in his resurrection, we are now as God intended us to be body soul and spirit. And so here we see the idea of worship, John tells us the purpose of his writing and John 2031. Whenever he says these things are written, so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the son of God And that by believing you may have life in his name, John 2031, John 21 20 for this is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things and who has written these things and we know that his testimony is true, so Jesus has come to reveal himself to make worshippers and then to to to um bring to himself disciples and to train them in doing the same, producing worshipers of God, verse one after these things, Jesus went away to the other side of the sea of galilee, which is the sea of Tiberius and a large crowd was following him because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick, jesus went up the mountain and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the passover of the feast of the jews was at hand. Now if we are first to be disciples of christ, if we are to be christian and then we are to to carry out discipleship, being like him and and and fulfilling his ongoing mission. The most important thing is to know the word, we often want to chase after so many other things, temporary satisfaction or or what we think of as spectacular things rather than the word of knowing who God is and do we understand that is the most important thing in the world is knowing God. It is often accused of the church, that we are not relevant that we should be preaching this or preaching that or preaching how to messages or or what if messages and all of that. Listen, the most relevant thing in the world is to know God, and if we know God, there is, there is no trouble that is insurmountable, and there is no opportunity that is unobtainable. Knowing God is the most important thing. Number five, lifting up his eyes. Then in seeing a large crowd was coming to him, jesus said to Philip, where are we to buy bread so that these people may eat. Now Jesus said this to test him for he himself knew what he was going to do, And Philip answered him. 200 Denarii worth of bread would be enough for each of them just to have a little and one of his disciples Andrew Simon Peter’s brother said to him, there is a boy Who has five Barley loaves and two fish, but what are they among so many? And jesus said, have the people sit down now, there was much grass in that place and he set them down About 5000 in number. Then jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks he distributed them so that those who were seated to those who were seated, so also the fish as much as they wanted. Search the scriptures for in them you think that you find the christ and these are they which testify of me. Jesus has just said that in Chapter five and now the scriptures to them were the law and the prophets. And if you’re a good old testament student, you’ll remember the time when Elisha Fed an army with 20 Barley loaves. If you’re not a bible student, that’s in two Kings chapter four, but 5000 men takes up a Roman legion. And I always wondered why Jesus didn’t count the women and Children. I mean Jesus is not a chauvinist, right? The Bible had no problem promoting women. In fact, you see women in a greater light than you do men in the new testament. So I always wondered why does he, why does he restrict it to 5000 men. And I think we we find out why as we go forward in this story. And it is, and it is something that is needful for us to see, especially about the mission of christ verse number 12. And when they had eaten their field, remember verse 11? All that they wanted. Now when they had eaten their field, he told his disciples gather up the fragments that nothing may be lost. So they gathered them up 12 baskets of fragments from the five Barley loaves left by those who had eaten and when the people saw the sign that he had done, they said this indeed a prophet who has come into the world they perceived or perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force and make him King Jesus withdraws again into the mountain by himself. Think why the men are numbered here is because 5000 is a Roman legion. And when the people see what Jesus can do with one lunch, they want to by force make him king, he would be the greatest ruler, the greatest general the world had ever known because every army travels on its stomach and all they would have to do is carry one lunch for the whole army. They would in effect be undefeated in battle because their supply chain would never run out. And and the people now are thinking with their stomachs, they’re thinking only physically, they saw the signs Jesus is sitting down wanting to teach his disciples and when they come to take him by force, Jesus removes himself from the situation. When evening came his disciples went down to the sea and got into a boat and started across the sea to calpurnia it was dark and jesus had not yet come to them and the sea became rough because of a strong wind blowing. When they had rowed about three or 4 miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea coming near the boat and they were frightened, but he said to them, it is, I be not afraid and they were glad to take him into the boat and immediately the boat was on the land to which they were going. Now, this is a pared down story that you find in Mark and that you find in Matthew here we we don’t see that the wind was contrary to them. You don’t see jesus standing in the boat and saying peace, be still no peter walking on the water and then sinking and crying out to christ no misinterpretation of the, of the apostles. That that jesus was a ghost. Why? Because of the focus of john, that that that that that part of it is that he is a greater moses producing a greater exodus moses walked on the dry ground between the waters, Jesus walks on the water and where moses never got the people to their destination, jesus It says that that that they were immediately at the land to which they were going. It is, I be not afraid of anything that is around you. I am with you and and and if you follow me, if you are with me, we will be successful, we will accomplish the ends that God has for your life for my life. This story is commonly called the feeding of the 5000 and I know that you may be thinking, Bill man, you you went through this quicker than you’ve gone through any story ever. Normally you’d spend weeks on this. I know I did it on purpose. This is, this is commonly called the feeding of the 5000. and while that’s true and while there are incredibly important points in it that we will come back and look at, I think the primary lesson in this chapter is not defeating of the 5000 men and the uncounted women and Children. I think that this chapter should best be described as the feeding of the disciples. In both, jesuses teachings, his explanations, his encouragements and his warnings and that’s what I want us to look at for just a moment, go back up and look at verse number three, Jesus sat down to teach the disciples, he had just said, you search the scriptures for in them, you think you have eternal life and these are they which testify of me and and I have to assume here, but I don’t think it’s much of an assumption that he was going to sit down and walk them through the old testament, revealing himself like he did those disciples on the Emmaus road, Jesus is revealing how he is the fulfillment of all the old testament shadow. But then right, You have verse number four, john tells us that the Passover was at hand that this took place during the time of Passover. The large crowd is gathered and Jesus has incredibly important things to teach his disciples, but the people show up now a large crowd was following him and they were following him because they had saw the signs that he was doing on the sick, the motive of the people was not necessarily to know God or who or to know who jesus is or what his mission is, or even to worship God, even though this is the time of, of of of of their greatest worship. Their motivation is to see a show that their motivation is to be entertained or to be wild. Jesus wants his disciples to see the heart of God, both in the old testament. And now with this opportunity amongst the people where moses brought, brought freedom through trouble and disease, Jesus is going to bring trouble at first through its removal, right? You remember all the seven plagues? Well, Jesus has come and he is doing the opposite of what moses did. Where under moses. People had boils what Jesus takes away leprosy, you know, under moses. There, there were, there were plagues, under jesus. There are, there are healings, there are miracles, there are signs, there are wonders and yet the people don’t get it. They don’t see what is going on, that he is a greater moses, that he has a greater task at hand and he’s sitting down to tell the teeth to tell the disciples that, but he sees these people, he sees this crowd without no leader without any direction and with no purpose and he has compassion on look at verse number five, lifting up his eyes then and seeing a large crowd coming toward him, He looks at, he he looks at Phillip and says Philip, how are we going to feed? They might Now, of course we know verse six, he said this to test him because Jesus knew what he was going to do. But Philip makes a fatal mistake, He says 200 Denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them. Just to have a little Philip makes a fatal mistake of of looking at what he does not have, looking for, what he does not have. If we had 200 and Ari we couldn’t feed these people any more than just a nibble, great problem, what a great obstacle to discipleship, looking for what we do not have rather than looking at what we have right at hand, search the scriptures, he had said, this is one of the many accounts where the disciples are led astray by their own instincts rather than turning to the word of God or the words of christ, which of course is the word of God. The disciples need jesus to instruct them because their instincts will mislead them and lead them astray when asked to provide. They cannot because they don’t know where to ask. They sing, jesus do incredible things, but oftentimes fresh circumstances, eclipse past victories of faith, don’t they? How easy it is to become guilty of that very thing. A ludicrously inadequate. Their resources are right or so. They thought one of his disciples Andrew Simon peter’s brother said to him, we have a boy who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they amongst so many? They think that their resources are are are ludicrously inadequate. And so here’s the mistake of the disciples, They long for what they do not have 200 and there I. And did they bemoan what they do have? Listen sometimes God calls us to hard tasks just so we’ll find out how inadequate we are. That was the test to Philip. It was gonna let Phillip know that Phillip couldn’t fulfill the purpose that God had called Philip for he he is wanting Andrew to know that Andrew cannot do what God has called Andrew to do. We need to know that that that that we are inadequate for the task that God has called us to to find our stores are small, is a great spiritual lesson. G Campbell morgan said, Jesus said, have the people sit down, I love this about the disciples, they set the people down there was much grass in that area And so the men sat down about five 100 About 5000 of And people would sit in that day, they would sit by 50s and 100 and it would be easy to count them and I think Jesus wanted them counted so that they would know how little their stores were and how great a spiritual lesson that is to know when we see what jesus does. And then jesus took the loaves and he was thankful for them rather than bemoaning what he doesn’t have and deriding what he does have, he gives thanks for what has been provided him. And when he had given thanks, he distributed them so to those who were seated and also the fish as much as they wanted. The disciples claim or complain about what they lack. Jesus, jesus, jesus focus is on what they have and despite the pitiful reef sources, people asked jesus asked the people to sit down in the groups, the disciples think there’s only two options to share what they have, which is not enough or two go to town and buy food with money that they don’t have, you see. But the one option that that they don’t consider is to ask Jesus to provide the food Alecia had in the Old Testament in two Kings. You see the same thing uh from moses in exodus chapter number 16, but the disciples didn’t think about that greatest resource that they had. God is with them, Jesus sees possibility where the disciples only see impossibility and when they had their field, verse 12, amazing statement, when you look at the circumstances surrounding this story, when they had eaten their field told his disciples gather up the fragments that nothing may be lost in the shadow highways and hedges, any person And they gathered them up and filled 12 baskets with fragments of five Barley loaves left by those who would eat and when the people saw the sign that he had done, they said this indeed is a prophet, this indeed is a prophet who is coming to the world, people feast at the feet, the one who needs to be proclaimed and professed as messiah and the one who will be proclaimed and professed as messiah and as he trains his disciples to rely on his ability to meet their needs, the disciples don’t yet get it. You see this is what is going on in this story, he’s trying to train his disciples, he’s trying to reveal to the people who he is, that they are seated at the feet of the one that they are longing for the long coming the long expected messiah, but they’re more worried about their bellies, their entertainment than they are about their spirit coming alive and knowing God and the disciples forget it as well maybe for a moment, but it but but in that, but in that moment of angst, in that moment of of of of of a need that needs to be met, they forget who they are with. You see this story is a major lesson for the disciples and disciples in general, jesus is the one who can meet needs, we are merely the waiters who take the food from him to the people, we we are the ministers that take the healing words of christ to take the the knowledge of God to the people, the disciples minister through the power and provision christ. You see this is the lesson that he’s wanting taught here, Not that he can, not that he can feed you know, 16,000 people with with a little bit of bread, what the truest lesson of this story, is we who are the disciples of Christ. we must minister through the power and the provision of christ because we don’t have what is needed to do it on our own and our provision is far too small, but we have God with us, they are to look at what jesus has done and realize that he is their source for life and for ministry and he will be the abundance that is needed. The life of a disciple is not merely mission for christ or being on mission for christ, it is being on mission with christ. Now very quickly let’s jump to the end of this gospel, jesus or peter has failed and he has failed and he has failed and he has failed again and now he’s trying to go back to fishing and he’s failed at that jesus comes to him on the beach and that great story of restoration when they got to land Chapter 21: verse nine, they saw the charcoal in place, the fish had been laid out and on it bread Verse 12, Jesus said come and have breakfast now none of the disciples dared to ask him who are you, If they knew it was the Lord and jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them. And so also the fish. This was the third time that jesus had revealed himself to the disciples after he was raised the dead takes bread fish and gives it to his disciples. And when they had finished breakfast, jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of john, do you love more than these? And he said unto him, Yes Lord, you know that I love you And he said to him, feet sheep. And he said to him a second time Simon, son of john do you love me? Yes Lord, you know that I love you the machine. And he said to him a third time Simon, son of john do you love me, Peter was greed because he had said to him a third time, do you love me? And he said to him Lord, you know everything you see, he finally turns to christ for the provision for the answer for the truth. You know everything, you know that I love you and jesus said, feed my sheep. You see he’s taking them all the way back to this to this day on the side of the sea of Tiberius. He’s taking them all the way back there when their hands were empty and he filled and the whole lesson of this story is when we find when we find our hands empty we find his full, I guess it would be better to say that this way we find his hands full, one hours are empty and God is not jealous with his provision, he shares them with us that we might feed sheet that we might tend his lambs that we make the you see all disciples are preachers, not just me as your pastor. All disciples are preachers and it’s a simple job. It but it’s so important that we will burn out in it if we think it depends upon us. Peter and Andrew were in distress, Philip and Andrew were in distress. One wondering what to do. Read the synoptics, we find that all the disciples were in distress, what to do. God was right there. We will burn out in our christian discipleship. We will, we will burn out as proclaim ear’s of who he is, we will burn out as worshipers if if we think that it depends upon us. But wasn’t I said a minute ago, we find his hands full when hours are empty, he is the greater moses. He doesn’t walk on the dry ground, he walks on top of the storm, coming to his disciples and he doesn’t just take us out of Egypt, he takes us all the way to our destination and then he doesn’t send us on a mission for him. He asked us to go on mission with, never forget is here is here and he is wherever we go, our resource is him. Our ministry is obtainable, our difficulties are surmountable, and our opportunities are reachable in jesus father, I think preach I love you, Help us teach us to know.