I always thought that the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand in John 6 was about Jesus doing a miracle to show the people who He was, as a means to provide a witness to who He was and why He was there. And it is that, but I believe it’s much more than that…. It’s more than creating ‘fast food’ for the multitudes!
In v. 5 Jesus asks Philip the following question in order to test him: “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”. Hmmmm. Did you see it? Do you get it? Jesus asks Philip an ‘impossible question’ in order to test him! I used to think, “what a crazy question!” How else could Philip have answered?!?!? But now I see that Jesus orchestrates almost everything in our lives to test us! He designs opportunities for us to practice trusting in Him! The question to Philip is designed to help Philip learn an invaluable lesson: a lesson of trust.
The core premise of the disciple journey is that we are not our own: we’ve been created by God and bought back by Him (through the price of His Son, Jesus)! Because of this, I no longer can (or need to) rely on my own self for any provisions, I need to fully and wholly trust in Him to provide as He is the source of our life. And so, in order for us to practice this truth, God orchestrates events in our lives to help us trust Him!
Ok, back to the food thing…. How did Philip respond to Jesus’ test? v. 7 tells us that Philip fails the test. He couldn’t see Jesus as the all-sufficient provider that He truly was. Philip was still seeing with natural eyes, not spiritual eyes. Philip was still thinking in the natural instead of the supernatural. Apparently, Philip had a faith problem – a problem of belief (see “Got Faith?“). He was still trusting in himself, in the natural, the normal: the ‘pattern of this world (Rom. 12:2).
Philip was counting on natural resources – note how his answer is based on having enough money to buy food! Instead, he should have been counting on the supernatural resources of the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills! Had Philip not been with Jesus at the wedding in Cana? Had he not seen Jesus heal and deliver? Had he not witnessed the supernatural in action in the life of Christ? Philip is learning to trust Christ in all things…. So are we!
What about you? Are you ready to pass the test Jesus has for you? In what area of our life is He testing you? Do you see His questions as testing/preparing us, or as mistrust or some other reason? Do you have a faith problem?
The question for us today is this: HOW do we see the supernatural? How do we count on supernatural resources instead of our own? By keeping our focus on our relationship with God! By “not conforming to the patterns of this world, but being transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Rom. 12:2a)! By denying ourselves, taking up our cross daily and following Jesus (Luke 9:23). By making each and every choice by first asking God what He wants in this thing – not what we want. Remember that ownership thing I mentioned earlier?
Only then will we learn to see things as God sees them, to understand His heart and Will (Rom.12:2b), to see that if God needs something to be provided to make ‘it’ happen, He will be the provider! God is our Jehovah-Jireh, our Provider! We can trust Him in all things. He is a trustworthy God!
I believe there’s a Godly principle at work here: If a physical need arises in the midst of doing God’s service, then He will see to it that it’s taken care of! (I’ll have a future blog post here about this topic from John 11)
So, the feeding of the multitude in John 6 isn’t only about Jesus showing what He can do. It’s about His great love for us – love that wants us to be all that He died for us to be! It’s about us learning to trust God. It’s about us learning to see with ‘spiritual eyes’ instead of physical. It’s about us learning to rely solely on our Jehovah-Jireh, our Provider. It’s about us practicing to trust God in all situations and circumstances. It’s about faith and belief and our relationship with God. The next time you hear a question from God, be very careful how you answer….
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