Jesus had had a pretty trying day - he had cured a grossly paralysed man at the sheep gate in Jerusalem where this man had been lying around for 38 years for some kind person to help him into the a pool which was called Bethesda in the hope that he would be cured.
Jesus saw the man, had huge pity for him and healed him there and then - pretty awesome, incredible and astounding really, but the thing was it was on a Sabbath - the day of rest and the Pharisees those hierarchical hound dogs for the law were waiting for Him knowing that he would trip up and do something they could 'get him' for.
They 'pounced on Jesus when they saw that He had dared to heal on the Sabbath and interrogated him - Among other things Jesus 'laid it straight to them and told them how it really was, saying:-
"I'm not interested in crowd approval. And do you know why? because I know you and your crowds. I know that love, especially God's love, is not on your working agenda. I came with the Authority of my Father, and you either dismiss me or avoid me. If another came, acting self-important, you would welcome him with open arms. How do you expect to get anywhere with God when you spend all your time jockeying for position with each other, ranking your rival and ignoring God?
Well that must have thrown them a curved ball because they sort of didn't know what to say, so Jesus climbed into a boat - more than likely one of the disciples boats, and sailed away across the sea of Galilee.
Exhausted He sat down on a grassy hillside surrounded by His disciples and looked out to see a huge crowd who had followed Him - 5000 men, women and children. He immediately said to Philip "Where can we buy enough bread to feed these people"?
Now, Jesus knew before hand exactly what he was going to do - He said this to Philip to test him - Has Jesus ever done the same to you? - If so how did you react? has a seemingly insurmountable problem floored you to the extent that you want to give up? I know I have and I know Jesus has surprised me over and over again.
What we see as insurmountable to Jesus is really nothing - Can you just imagine what was going through Philip's mind right then? Now that was a huge insurmountable problem - "Jesus expects me to feed all of these people? He must be joking? - His answer to Jesus sort of says it all. "Two hundred silver pieces wouldn't be enough to buy bread for each person to get a piece!"
Just then Andrew, Peter's bother came up - obviously hearing the conversation between Jesus and Philip and announces he has found a lad with 5 loaves and 2 fish. Good old Mum must have packed her boy's lunch - Don't you just love caring Mums and dads?
Andrew was sort of aware that Jesus was the saviour - the true God - the Messiah and he sought of knew that Jesus could have worked a miracle and yet he too erred on the side of caution saying to Jesus "But that's just a drop in the bucket compared to all these people!"
Are you a Philip or Andrew when it comes to trusting in Jesus?
Philip, gobsmacked at the enormity of the problem at hand - Andrew sort of trusting that Jesus could do something but not quite sure if He really really can or not. Remember that these two had just witnessed an amazing miracle and heard Jesus rebuking the Pharisees and telling them that He indeed was the Messiah.
Jesus told the disciples to organise the people to sit down on the grass - and be sort of crowd control managers because He knew what was about to happen. He knew that the people needed feeding and he knew that it could quickly get out of hand if not organised.
Jesus knows what we are about too! He knows what makes us tick, our motives, our heartaches, our panic-stricken moments, those times when our fears overcome our faith, when we falter in our trust to him and rush out to do our 'own thing' often only to fall on our faces.
Jesus took the lad's loaves and fishes and broke them up and fed the people orderly and quickly - fed them until they had had enough - they were filled each and every one.
You know our God is an unlimited God - He knows what and when we need it - It's always, always in His time not ours.
After they had all eaten He told His disciples to gather up the left overs - I guess you could call it the very first doggy-bag incident - 12 baskets of food left over - 12 baskets!!
God doesn't do anything half hearted - nothing is wasted with our God.
The people looked at Jesus and said "surely this is the promised Messiah - right here with us in Galilee"
Can people look at our lives today and know who Jesus is? That after all is the very purpose of our lives - to reflect Jesus - to make others aware of His amazing love to us and his miraculous saving power.
Love this chapter so much because it is just jammed full of amazing miracles and true signs of Jesus redemptive power to save.
After the bread and fishes incident, the disciples climbed in a boat and headed for the distant shore but Jesus was left behind because he had slipped off on his own to be by himself for a while. A huge storm blew up and in the middle of the night in a fierce gale He came walking to them on the water and once inside the boat they immediately reached land in the exact spot where they intended to go.
The next day, when the crowds, realised hat Jesus had gone followed Him across the lake. I must admit I love this next bit and the Message Bible puts it so, so well. When Jesus saw right through the crowds He said:-
"You've come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you, filled your stomachs - and for free."
Jesus knows why we do things why we say things, nothing is hidden from Him. He told the crowds not to waste their time striving for perishable foods but work hard for food that sticks with you and nourishes your lasting life.
Jesus said "I am the Bread of Life" whoever eats of this bread will never hunger again.
Jesus is our bread of life - yours and mine - if we truly partake of Jesus as the TRUE bread who came down to earth to save us then we feed on Him and we have eternal life.
My prayer for all of us this week is that we all feed on the Bread of Life - Jesus. And through this amazing transformation of our lives we will catch a glimpse of the overflowing feast of love that He has in store for us - we can even take the doggy bags home to share with all we meet.
Amazing and awesome is our God - God bless you all this week.