What are you hungry for?
“Where are we to buy bread so that these may eat?” – Vs 5 NASB
“This He was saying to test him” (Vs 6). Poor Philip. Little did he know that Jesus was giving him a test to see how he would respond. Jesus already knew how He was going to handle the situation, but He wanted to see how Philip and the other disciples would assess their circumstances and respond. And I don’t think Jesus was surprised at their reaction. “It would take a small fortune to feed them!,” was Philip’s shocked response (Vs 7 NLT). As much as eight month’s wages. In other words, Jesus was asking the impossible. There’s no way this could be done. They lacked the necessary resources. In fact, all they could find was five loaves of bread and two fishes. Andrew, having assessed the situation, says, “But what good is that with this huge crowd?” (Vs 9 NLT).
I love this story because it reminds me of my daily life. It is how I tend to view everything that goes on around me. I have limited perspective and a nearsighted view of how things really work. I say I believe in God, but then as soon as I encounter a situation where my resources seem limited, I begin to doubt. My belief becomes limited by my ability to see how things will turn out. If my resources are as meager as five loaves and a couple of measly fish, then I begin to doubt whether I can accomplish the task at hand. My God becomes only as big as my resources. I look around me and ask, “What good is that with this huge crowd?” I limit God. I fail to trust Him. I say I believe in Him, but as soon as the situation gets a little tough, I begin to doubt.
Then He does what only He can do. Jesus steps in and shows that He is not limited by man’s lack. He accomplishes the impossible with the improbable. He turns little into much. He satisfies and fills. He meets the need and beyond. But He is always doing more than just meet the need. He is teaching a lesson. A lesson regarding trust. He can be trusted. He will come through. But more than that, He is teaching that there is more to life than the physical needs that seem to consume us. He was testing His disciples and He was teaching them at the same time. Sure, He fed the five thousand in a miraculous way. The disciples even picked up 12 baskets of leftover bread when it was all said and done. They had seen a miracle. But there was more that Jesus wanted to teach them. The people He fed had had their physical need met. Now they wanted more. They show up the next day asking Jesus to perform another sign for them so that they might believe. They even give Him a not-so-subtle suggestion by reminding Him that Moses gave their ancestors in the wilderness manna to eat. Couldn’t He do something similar? Wouldn’t it be great if Jesus would give them bread right out of heaven so they just had to gather it up every day. No more need to grow grain, harvest it, then bake the bread. Jesus could just cause it to fall from the sky!
But Jesus wasn’t interested in providing them with that kind of bread. He wanted to give them something more. He offered them the bread of life. His own life. His body as a sacrifice for their sins. The bread they wanted would never satisfy. It would always leave them hungry for more. They had all eaten to their fill the day before, but now they were hungry again. Jesus was offering them the “true bread of heaven.” Himself. He was offering them the only thing that could truly satisfy. But they had limited perspective. They had their eyes set on the wrong thing. They hungered for the wrong kind of bread. But so do we so often. We lose sight of what He is really offering and demand that He provide what we want. We want Him to meet our temporal needs. We demand that He satisfy our physical hunger. But He is offering so much more. He is offering eternal life. He is offering that which can truly satisfy. But will we believe Him? Will we trust Him? He is the bread of life.
Father, Your Son is the bread of life. He is all I really need. But I sometimes doubt He is all I need. I sometimes look at my circumstances and think He is not enough. I look at my own resources and panic. I judge based on my circumstances and begin to fear. But He is greater than my circumstances. He offers me more than just a quick fix for my temporal problems. He is the bread of life. Help me to trust Him more. He always satisfies. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men