Knowing You Can't; Believing He Can

( [email protected] ) Mar 01, 2009 02:48 PM EST

John 6:1-15 NIV

Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Feast was near.

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?" He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!"

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"

Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 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.

When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world." Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

There are a lot of lessons to be learned from this story - the story of the five loaves and two fishes. and all of them have to do with faith.

There were a lot of people on that mountainside that day - 5,000 men, and probably twice as many women and children. The writers of scripture weren't into enumerating women and children, so even though the Bible says 5,000, it was probably closer to 15,000 people. Whatever the exact number, Jesus saw a perfect opportunity to teach his disciples - and the rest of the people - about faith. This wasn't just a chance to show off with another miracle; this was a way to illustrate what faith really is to everyone present that day.

So Jesus asked Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" Philip, being just like you and me, immediately began figuring the cost of feeding a crowd that large. Philip knew that there was no way they could come up with enough money for groceries for that crowd! So he immediately tried to shoot down the idea of springing for lunch.

But Philip didn't count on two things.... First of all, he didn't count on Jesus. He forgot who had asked the question. He jumped straight into reality mode, forgetting everything he had learned about faith. The second thing Philip didn't count on was one little boy. One little boy who was willing to give up his lunch, if it would help with the problem. one little boy who willingly gave up everything he had to eat, knowing that Jesus would not allow him to go hungry. one little boy who, with this one act, illustrated perfect faith - knowing he couldn't do a thing about the problem, but fully believing that Jesus could.

You and I face things every day that logic says are impossible - finances, health, relationships, all sorts of situations that arise in our lives that are seemingly insurmountable problems. But rather than wallowing in despair. rather than slipping into the same kind of reality mode that Philip did. we need to exercise the kind of faith this one little boy illustrated so beautifully. We need to exercise true faith - knowing we can't, but believing that He can.

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