An opportunity that goes far beyond your lifetime!
John 6:14 Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
Large crowd and a desolate place
In a desolate place where there is no food available, Jesus fed five thousand people and they were all satisfied and filled. See, large crowds of people were following Jesus wherever He goes. They followed Him to listen to his teachings and to be with Him. It was very late in the evening and the crowd was tired and hungry. They were in a remote place with no food available. Disciples asked Jesus to send the crowd away so that they can go and buy food from nearby cities. But Jesus said to the disciples, “you give them something to eat.” There was a boy whose mother apparently packed him a lunch of five loaves and two fish.
This was the only food available in that evening in this remote place. Andrew, one of the disciples, said to Jesus ‘there is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish’. Then Andrew said, “what are these for five thousand people? This tells me Andrew still didn’t understand who Jesus is! The moment Jesus heard this, He said, “have the people sit down.” It says there was much grass in the place and they all sat on the grass.
The boy offering his small lunch resulted in a lavish lunch for all five thousand
The boy gave his packed lunch to one of the disciples of Jesus and they gave the lunch pack to Jesus. Jesus blessed and broke five loaves and two fish and then He gave it to the disciples and the disciples gave it to the crowds. They all ate and satisfied. How many eat and satisfied? It says there were five thousand men besides women and children. What is that mean? The total number of crowds must have been much more than five thousand. I don’t know maybe seven thousand or eight thousand. Many scholars believe the number fed on that day could have been 12,000 or 15,000.
This is one of the major miracles Jesus performed and all four Gospel writers – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John-recorded this incident. John records Jesus gave loaves and fish to all thousands of people “as much as they wanted.” Matthew records “all ate and were satisfied”. Not only all ate and fully satisfied. But Marks says in Mark 6:43 and John says in John 6:13 the disciples gathered the leftover loaves and fish per the instruction of Jesus and they gathered twelve baskets full.
This was a luxurious and lavish supply of food to five thousand men besides women and children. Amazing and mind-boggling miracle, right?
The crowd who witnessed and enjoyed this miracle said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Notice the word, “the prophet”. This is a literal fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy regarding Christ. God already promised through Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him shall you hear.” When the crowd said, “this is truly the prophet”, they were hinting with marvel that this could be the fulfillment of that prophecy back in the Old Testament. During the first century, there was a heightened expectation of ‘the prophet’. In other words, this was the fulfillment of one of the Bible prophecies regarding the coming Messiah who will deliver His people from their sins and the penalty of their sins.
Bible also declares Jesus is much more than a prophet and Messiah. He is God in human form so that people could hear, touch and feel God. Take a long look at Jesus. People spent money and visit holy places to get a glimpse of God. You don’t need to go anywhere. Jesus is God wrapped in flesh and read about Him in the pages of the Bible- the Word of God. Jesus life didn’t start in Bethlehem. He was always in existence in heaven. Bible says in John chapter one – He was the eternal Word who was God and who was in the beginning with God. John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
What are the lessons to learn from this incident?
Lesson #1: God turns your impossibilities into possibilities.
God is a God of all impossibilities, period! Andrew discovered there is a lad in the crowd who has five loaves and two fish. But his thought was this – what is these five and two to do with five thousand men. Nothing right? (John 6:9). Philip another disciple quickly calculated the required expense in terms of money. He said we need “Two hundred denarii worth of bread for everyone to receive a little.” Andrew and Phillip really blew up with their thoughts and calculations. Why? They didn’t really grasp who Jesus is.
The LORD asked this question to Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 18:14, “Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
Is anything too hard for the Lord? The expected answer is no, nothing is impossible to the LORD.
Dear one, do you believe this? You see, nothing is impossible to God. He has divine and supernatural ways and resources at His disposal for you. Understand and believe how great God is and how different He is from us.
Bible again declares this truth in Jeremiah 32:27, ” Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?” Of course, nothing is impossible or too difficult for Him. And understanding of who God really is and what He big and amazing things He can do for you makes all the difference in your life.
Lesson #2: God uses human agencies to accomplish His purposes.
Second, Somehow in God’s wisdom and knowledge, He uses people as an agent for Him. See, Jesus could have made loaves and fish by just one word. After all, Bible declares the earth and sky and all creations around us came in to being with His word. But remember Jesus said ‘You give them food’. He knew what He is going to do. At the same time, He wants us to partner with Him in His task. This is amazingly wonderful.
Lesson #3 Only Trust and dependence get God’s job done.
When he engages us as His agents or representatives, then he teaches us the truth of trust and dependence on Him for everything. See, the disciples were getting loaves and fish from the hand of Jesus as He broke them and then they turned around and distributed to the crowd. This is an example of trust and full dependence on Christ for each and every need of our lives. No way the disciples could meet this big need apart from the total trust and dependence on the Lord.
Lesson #4 Nobody and nothing are insignificant in the plan of God.
When you give yourself, your gifts and what you have to Jesus, He is all powerful to multiply what you give to him and use it for the benefit of others and ultimately you will be a channel to bring Glory to the almighty God.
Loved one, let me ask you. Are you boy? Are you a girl? Are you a man or woman? Are you poor or are you wealthy and rich? Are you president, manager or a servant? Jesus needs boys, girls, men, women, poor, rich, manager, president, and servants. Jesus needs white, black, brown, and other colored people. Do you know He wants to use you as His agent and partner to do some great works and miracles in this world? He wants you to be His ambassador to introduce people into His eternal kingdom. When an individual comes out of the power of evil and darkness and steps into the kingdom of God’s Son and His love, that will be the greatest miracle of all that causes rejoicing in heaven.
We don’t know who this boy was. I wonder what he might have said to his mom and Dad that night. Do you know the boy’s mom packed this lunch for him to enjoy but he willingly gave his lunch to Jesus? Imagine the face of the boy after witnessing the opportunity of a lifetime went home to tell the story to his Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad, I gave my lunch to Jesus and then He fed all five thousand people with my lunch. His Mom would feel so proud because she never thought when she was packing the lunch in the morning that it will end up in the hand of Jesus and a historic, once in a lifetime miracle like would happen out of it. How about the disciples? Andrew would say, Man, I was really a fool to say ‘what is five loaves and two fish for this many people, wasn’t I’? Philip would say, what was in my mind to calculate the cost of the loaves when Jesus, was standing in our midst? The crowd had also had a once in a lifetime opportunity to watch Jesus was doing in this world and witness this miraculous event to others. One of them would say like this “yes, I was there on that day. I saw Jesus breaking bread and fish and giving to His disciples and then they brought them to me. The delivery of food never stopped. It continued. The bread and fish kept coming in one after another! I never saw something like this in my lifetime.” They all experienced a very rare opportunity of a lifetime when the Jesus touched their lives with this miracle on that evening.
Lesson #5- An opportunity that goes beyond your lifespan is knocking at your door now as we speak.
But you have a chance or opportunity not only for a lifetime but also for eternity when you partner with Jesus, the Son of God. Do you want to partner with Jesus in His marvelous work on this earth? He wants you to be an agent of Him in this dark and sin-filled world. Jesus is calling you to discover His plan for you and for this world. He asks you to give yourself fully and completely for His cause. Would you do that? Only one small life and it will disappear like a vapor pretty soon. You will die one day and I will die as well and we both will face Him on the other shore. The world offers many once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. What Jesus calling you now is an opportunity for this lifetime plus beyond it, The world’s opportunity ends when you die. Nothing more this world can offer you. The opportunity Christ offers you today doesn’t end when you die. The opportunity and reward continue even after your die – all throughout the eternity. Jesus bids you and offers a chance to partner with Him for an opportunity that goes far beyond your life in this world. Would you respond to Him in prayer?
Bible says in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” The pages of the Bible illustrates more about this opportunity beyond your lifetime on this earth.
The time won’t allow me to touch base with all those details here in this article.