The Feeding of the 5000

June 10, 2012 Speaker: John Hansen Series: The Gospel of John

Topic: The Gospel Passage: John 6:1–6:15

1. The crowd (1-4)

1 After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick.
• because they saw the signs
o John 4:48: Jesus rebuked them for this saying: “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”
o The miracles were intended to catch our attention.
o Jesus intention was not to just entertain with tricks, but to get people to believe on him and follow him.
3 Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.
• Emotional time for Jesus
o John the Baptist had just been beheaded
o Passover: I wondered which one this was. Jesus ministry was only 3 years and Passover only occurred once a year. Was this 3 years before the cross? 2 years? No. It was only 1 year before the cross.
o 1 year before Jesus final Passover, after which he would die on the cross.
• Team Time
o Maybe to process John the Baptist’s death with his disciples.
o Maybe to discuss how he would die for the sins of the world.
Transition: But he gets interrupted by a crowd of people approaching. [VERSE 5]
5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?”
• seeing that a large crowd was coming: Jesus has compassion on them. He doesn’t want to send them away hungry.
• Jesus takes time for people! It’s so easy for us as Americans to pack our schedules in with so many activities that we don’t have time for anyone to interrupt our schedule. Jesus was planning on some time with just his disciples, but the crowd comes and he has compassion on them.


2. The test (5-9)

6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.”
• test him
• Jesus tests Philip: He asks him, “Where are we going to get bread for these people?” Why ask Philip? Possibly, he may be asking Philip because Philip was from this area. Verse 6 says the main reason, Jesus wanted to test him.
o Just how many people were there? Verse 10 says there were 5,000 men. Add women and children to that mix and it’s likely that Philip was looking up at a massive crowd of around 15,000 people.
o 200 Denarii: He says 200 denarii wouldn’t feed all these people. 200 denarii was a lot of money. In today’s economy, that would be about $30,000. Philip is basically saying, “Jesus, you could write a check for 30 grand, and that wouldn’t be enough to buy food for these people.”
o Philip had seen Jesus do Miracles: So I’m sure he had some measure of faith. He knew Jesus could make wine for a party, heal a sick boy, make a crippled man walk, but this was a lot of people. Jesus was testing Philip’s faith and as Jesus expected, Philip fails the test.
o Why would Jesus set Philip up for failure like this? I think he did it to teach him a lesson, and to challenge him to greater faith. I’m sure Philip looked back on this event and thought to himself. I should have trusted him. I should have believed that he could have fed those people. Next, time I’ll be ready. Next time, I’ll believe Jesus for greater things.
o Taught Elementary School: I would test my students in a similar way. I would set them up to fail. First week of school, I would put a book in a student’s hand that was at his level. I’d have him read it and then I’d send him to the computer to take a test on that book knowing that he was going to fail the test. Why would I do that? Isn’t that mean Mr. Hansen? --- I did this for a very specific reason: I wanted to teach that child about reading comprehension. How to read a book in such a way that he would remember what he read. But he wasn’t interested in my lesson on reading comprehension. At least he wasn’t until he failed a test. After that, he wanted to pass that test so badly, that he was all ears. He was ready to learn. I tested my students to help them become better readers.
o God tests us: He puts challenging circumstances in our lives, not trials that are going to just blow us away and totally destroy us, but challenging tests that are just a little beyond us, so he can push us forward in our faith.
o Illustration: I think back on some times in our business where money was really tight. We had been losing money for 5 months straight. It was November and I wasn’t sure if we’d make through to March. I stressed and worried. I didn’t trust God like I should have and my employees knew it. They saw that I was agitated and definitely not at peace. After God got me through that trial, I remember having mixed feelings: joy that he rescued me and sorrow that I didn’t trust him more through that trial. A year or two later, we went through a similar difficult time in the business, and I noticed that I didn’t stress as much. I didn’t fear as much. God had grown my faith…and He keeps working on it…by challenging me just a little beyond what I’m comfortable with.
o Is he challenging you? Maybe you’re not looking at 15,000 hungry mouths to feed. Maybe you’re looking at a stressful job or a sick baby. Maybe you’re looking at a bill that you can’t afford to pay. Whatever your challenge is, God wants you to trust him.
o Word of advice: If you’re in a predicament like that, I’d like to encourage you… Use the little bit of faith you’ve got to tell God you trust him. Do what you can with what you have … and trust Him to take care of the rest!
Transition: Andrew jumps in at this point. He tells Jesus what he has. [VERSE 8]
8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him,9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish… [STOP READING] …but what are they for so many?”
• There is a boy: I can’t give you enough to feed all these people, but I’ll give you what I have. This boy has a lunch, and he’s willing to give it.
• You do what you can with what you have!
• If Andrew had only stopped right there:
o Then we would have thought that Andrew got it. That he passed the test that Philip had failed. That basically Andrew was saying, “Jesus, here’s what we’ve got. Let’s see what you can do with that!”
o But unfortunately Andrew doesn’t stop there. He says, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”
o Andrew is not full of faith here either, but he offers the boy’s lunch.
• Jesus is basically: “Ok, I can work with that.”
• Illustration 1: The man with the withered hand. His hand is all crumpled up with palsey. Jesus is about to do a miracle. He gives the man 2 things to do that he can do.
o 3 And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” … 5 And he … said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.
• Illustration 2: Corrie Ten Boom forgives the Nazi Guard
• Jesus gives the disciples something they can do: He says, “Have the people sit down.” I know you can’t feed 15,000 people. But you’re going to! Just follow my directions. [VERSE 10]


3. The miracle (10-13)

10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten.
• Everyone had their fill: We serve a God who satisfies! He is a God of abundance. He takes a little boy’s lunch and feeds 15,000 people. He doesn’t just give them a snack. He gives them 2nds and 3rds and 4ths … until everyone is fully satisfied. Come to Jesus! Eat of the bread of life. You will be fully satisfied!
• That nothing may be lost: He says, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.”
o Jesus doesn’t leave the fragments to go to waste. There are others who need to eat. Let’s save the extra for them!
o Gather them up: This reminds me of how God gathers his children to himself. He will not be satisfied until everyone of chosen people has come to him and been saved.
o Later in VERSE 39, Jesus says, “39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.”


4. The crowd’s reaction (14-15)

14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”
• Saw the sign: They came looking for a sign and they got a sign!
• The prophet: About 1500 years before Christ was born, Moses made this declaration in Deuteronomy 18:15: “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen.”
o Like Me: How was Jesus a Prophet like Moses?
1. Both were Jews.
2. Both were baby boys during a time of genocide.
3. Both of them came out of Egypt.
o Matthew 2:15, God says, “Out of Egypt I called my son!”
4. Both lead God’s people out of bondage.
5. Both made covenants with God’s people.
o Jeremiah 31:31-32 “Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; my covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them, says the LORD.”
6. Both performed miracles.
o Moses: 10 plagues on Egypt, turned the staff into a snake, leprous hand
o Jesus: healed the sick, raised the dead, made the blind see, made the crippled walk
7. Both fed the people.
o Moses asked God and He gave them bread from heaven in the wilderness
o Jesus: Here by the sea of Galilee feeds the 5000 with a little boy’s lunch
8. Both were willing to die for God’s people.
o When God threatens to wipe out Israel, Moses pleads with God to punish him instead.
o Jesus dies on the cross to save His people.
• People declare: Jesus is the prophet we’ve been waiting for! He’s the one Moses spoke of. He fed us just like Moses fed us!
Review: Feeding of the 5000
1. The crowd (1-4)
2. The test (5-9)
3. The miracle (10-13)
4. The crowd’s reaction (14-15)
15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
• John Piper has a sermon where he talks about the King who would not be king.
• Make him King
• Is Jesus a King? And if he’s a king, what’s the problem here.
• John 1:49, Nathaniel says, “Rabbi…you are the King of Israel.” Nathaniel calls him king and Jesus does not deny it.
• Pilot in John 18:33 questions Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” and Jesus answered in verse 36, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
• He is a King, so why does he refuse to make them King? He has to get across to them. I am king, but I’m not the kind of king you think I am. I’m not here to gather an army and fight against Rome. My kingdom is not of this world. I will not establish my kingdom by fighting, but rather by dying.
• You’ve got it all wrong:
o You want an earthly king, but I’m a heavenly king.
o You want someone who will feed you bread, but I am here to be your bread.
o You want a king to free you from Rome, but I am the King who comes to free my people from bondage to sin.
o I didn’t come to reform your government, I came to reform your soul.
o I am the bread of life! Come to me. Believe on me. And you will have life more abundantly. You will have eternal life!
o I didn’t feed you today simply to fill a void in your stomachs. I fed you so that you might understand that I am the bread of life and if you believe on me I will fill your soul!
o Later in John 6 starting in verse 26, Jesus says:

o Later in John 6 starting in verse 26, Jesus says:

26 “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you...This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

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