This week’s devotions are based on the message: “Not Enough” Week 4 of Signs (LISTEN HERE)
Happy Monday morning! I pray this week is one you see is blessed and guided by the Lord! Yesterday we looked at a fourth miracle from the Gospel of John, one that is commonly known as “The Feeding of the 5000.” (Click the link above to listen to the message from July 23.)
If I were to ask you what the key part of this miracle was, many of you would be able to relate that Jesus fed over 5000 (when you include women and children) individuals with a boy’s lunch of two small fish and five loaves of bread.
Truly an incredible miracle.
While the “what” of the miracle is well known, why did Jesus perform it?
Perhaps it’s just me, but I was one of those kids that after an answer to one question, I would ask the question “Why?”
Mom: “Michael, you can’t have a cookie before dinner.”
Mom: “Because you will spoil your appetite.”
Mom: Because a cookie will fill your tummy before the good food.”
Me: “Why can’t I have dessert first?”
I want to know why. Why did Jesus do THIS miracle? Why did Jesus do it when he did it? Why is it significant?
Truly asking “Why?” can be a dangerous thing when we seek God’s truth, only in that sometimes the Lord in his infinite wisdom simply tells us “What” happened and not always “Why” it happened. But in many cases, the quest for the answer to the question “Why” is to be found. It actually has served me well and I invite you to use it as a question as you search and study the Scriptures…of course always asking the Spirit of God to answer the question for you.
So this week, let’s ask a few “Why?” questions about the Feeding of the 5000.
So why did Jesus perform this miracle? In John 6, we will see multiple answers to this question and settle on a key one by the end of the week. However, let’s start at the beginning:
John 6 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Festival was near.
5 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?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
Jesus was at the height of his popularity and probably at the beginning of his third year of public ministry. The signs Jesus was doing was gaining not only attention, but a following…a large following. While Jesus was trying to spend some time with his disciples the large crowd found him on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee.
Jesus saw the crowd coming and already knew what he was going to do, however he didn’t want this miracle just to be one on the list without a lasting impact.
So he sets it up with a question to Philip, but evidently a question that the other disciples heard. Philip was just the one who made eye contact with the teacher! 🙂
“Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”
Jesus already knew the answer, but the question was a test. How would Philip answer? How would you answer? (We’ll look at the answers tomorrow…)
The situation that was unfolding was going to be a test for the disciples. They had studied and followed Jesus for two plus years. They had seen many miraculous signs, heard his teaching, and engaged the people who followed him. How would they respond? Would the learning about Jesus and who he was pay off? Or was there still learning to do?
It is not beyond the realm of the Lord to allow situations to come into our lives that give us an opportunity to put our faith into practice. Where will we find enough money to pay the bills? Where will we find medicine to heal my illness? Where will we find a spouse when I’ve been alone so long? WHere will I find a job when I’ve been unemployed for over three months? The list goes on when we face situations where the question is asked, but the answer is uncertain or the solution unclear.
We may ask “Lord, why?”
He may be answering, “I know what I am going to do, but I want to test you.”
How will you answer the test question?
Apply: What situation are you facing that the Lord may be using to allow a test of your faith? What changes about your approach to the situation when you consider it may be a test the Lord is putting before you?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for always having a reason for the things that happen in my life. Allow me to discern the test in front of me and answer the question with the wisdom of your Spirit. AMEN.