Dave spoke tonight from John 6:1-13 TNIV. All four gospels record the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand, which happened in spring, just before Passover. Prior to this, Jesus had been involved in healing a paralysed man and He took His disciples away from Jerusalem across the Sea of Galilee. There was no escape from the crowds, however! Jesus could see the crowd gathering and He resolved to feed them, reflecting His previous words that He only ever did what He saw the Father doing.
This moment became a mid-term examination for the disciples! Jesus asked Philip, ‘Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?’, and Philip could see no solution; this was a predicament which had no human solution. We are often like Philip in our responses – looking at things from a logistical point of view or only seeing the lack of money, rather than seeing God’s resources. Then Andrew appeared with a solution that did not seem to be very feasible – he’d found a boy with 5 loaves and 2 fishes, but could not imagine how that would solve the problem. Andrew brought what he found, not thinking it was enough, but actually, all Jesus wanted was what was available. We have to begin with what we do have, rather than worrying about what we don’t have.
When we considered moving to St Mark’s, it seemed an impossible dream, for we only had just over £7,000. We were challenged by God to give all we had (to the last penny) and we did… and found that His provision was sufficient not only to purchase the building but to run it! Jesus was able not only to feed the thousands present but to feed the disciples afterwards! The miracle of multiplication was such that there was a continual supply from Jesus until all were full. In all honesty, we can testify that this is still the case today. This year, we have refurbished the kitchen and toilets, had rewiring work done and have had a new boiler installed – building work totalling about £11,000. Yet as we approach the end of the financial year, we have £1,000 more than when we started the year, despite that expenditure! God is truly lavish in His provision!
Some people rationalise this miracle, arguing that the people simply all shared their food or that they were so inspired by Jesus’s teaching that they did not feel hungry. God is able to do far more than we can imagine, however. When we reach the end of ourselves, God is able to do so much more than we realise. He provides and keeps on providing. We just have to start with what we’ve got and let God do the rest.
We also had a birthday to celebrate: