August 7, 2019
I have been pondering the lesson to be gained from the story we know as “Jesus Feeds 5,000 People,” recorded in Matthew 14. It was late in the day and the large crowd was in a desolate place. The human solution offered by the disciples seems obvious: Send the people away to find food. The directive from Jesus sounds impossible: Give them something to eat.
The remedy of these practical men made sense to them. How could one boy’s lunch make any difference to a multitude of hungry people? The remedy of Jesus, Who is God, was obvious to Him – bring what you have and let Me multiply it.
I wonder what those men were thinking as Jesus had the people sit down, gave thanks for the five loaves and two fish, and then told His friends to distribute food to everyone. I think I would have been wondering how people would respond when the food was gone. But that did not happen. Everyone ate their fill, and they picked up 12 baskets of leftovers.
I identify with the disciples – this is a problem bigger than we are, so let us offer a practical solution. But Jesus has no limitations, so His divine abundance simply reflects Who He is. What a lesson for those men – and for me. The disciples would face challenges that were beyond human solution, and Jesus was preparing them for their ministry. The situations that come to His followers today that appear to be beyond our ability to handle are opportunities to realize the grace and provision of God.
To enjoy God’s abundant provision, we must first admit our limited ability and accept God’s gift of faith to trust Him. I wonder if over time the disciples wished they had asked Jesus, “How do You plan to feed this crowd and in what way can we be involved?” That is a reminder I want to take away from the story.
Pastor Bill Ehmann