Jesus Cares For All Your Needs (John 6:1-15)
by Sandy Simpson, 1998

Song: Savior Like A Shepherd Lead Us

Read Passage: John 6:1-15

The story of the feeding of the 5000 is found in all the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John. When something is repeated in the Bible it means that it is important and is something we must try to understand. There is often a deeper meaning in sentences or stories that are repeated.

In this same story repeated in Mark 6:34 it says:

"When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things."
One of the main things that Jesus is... is compassionate. He cares for His people. He was compassionate then and He is still compassionate today. Jesus came and saw the needs of the people. So He did two things. He met their physical need of hunger for bread, and He also met their spiritual hunger for the bread of life. As Jesus told us in John ... He is the bread of life. The Bible, the Word of God, being the word of the Father and the Son, is also the bread of life.  Jesus is the living example of the Word as it also says in John "The Word was made flesh and lived among us".

On the occasion of the feeding of the 5000, Jesus asked His disciples what we call in English a "leading question". This is because Jesus was trying to lead His disciples into a situation where He could test what kind of faith they really had. The basic question that Jesus was asking was "Do you believe that I can care for all your needs?" Jesus often asks each of us this same question each day. "Do you believe that I can help you get the food you need to feed your family? Do you believe that I can provide for your financial needs? Do you believe that I can teach you and lead you in the way that you should go? Do you believe that I love you?" This is the question that Jesus asked His followers over and over again in different ways.

The first response to Jesus' questions is from Phillip and Phillip responds much like many of us would. What does he worry about? He immediately worries about money, just like we do. "Eight months wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have even one bite." Now, Jesus and His followers didn't have lots of money. They had very little. They were supported by a number of women and others who gave them what they needed.  They were just as poor as the people they were trying to help. Where would they get enough money to buy enough food for 5000 men. There were probably around 10,000 people there, including women and children. What do you think this shows about Phillip? Is Phillip putting more faith in money to buy food than in Jesus to provide food? Hadn't Phillip seen all the other miracles Jesus had already done? But Phillip does not yet have the faith to believe that Jesus can feed this crowd. Jesus said in Mt 17:20 "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

The next person who answered Jesus was Andrew. He brings a small boy to Jesus and shows Him that this is the only person in the crowd he could find who has food. Andrew tells Jesus that the boy has only 5 small barley loaves and two fishes. Today when we think of a loaf of bread we think of one about a foot long and four inches in width and depth. But these "loaves" were really just small biscuits, just enough for a boy's lunch. The fishes were also not the size you can get when you troll in the Palau Rock Islands like katsuo (tuna) or ai (barracuda). They were small fish, perhaps no larger than mechabud (sardines). Andrew was showing his lack of faith by trying to tell Jesus that it would be impossible to feed everyone with this boy's lunch.

So what does Jesus do? He tells them to sit. To relax. To stop. This is a message for us. Sometimes we simply need to stop our activity, sit down, and wait upon the Lord to work. When times are hard, when things are out of control, when life is rough, when we are in true need, this is a good time to sit down ... pray ... study the Word and keep our eyes on Jesus. He will provide. Why, because He loves us very much. He cares for us. He has compassion on His children, on the people He has created. If He provides for the birds, if He provides for the flowers, if He holds every atom of this world together, don't you believe that He cares enough for you to meet your needs?

Jesus then took those little biscuits and fish, broke them, gave thanks to God, and gave the pieces to the disciples to pass out. I'm sure the disciples were wondering if they would look silly carrying these little pieces of food to give to the people. The people probably thought they were crazy too.

Jesus actually was accomplishing as dual purpose.  He was feeding them and doing a miracle to prove that he is the Messiah, but He was also showing them a picture of His death and ressurection. They didn't know it then but would think back on this event later and realize what Jesus showed them. He was showing them that He would soon give His body, His flesh, on the cross for you and me just like the breacing of the bread (1 Cor. 11:24).  He would die aand shed his blood on the cross just like the breaking of the fish (1 Cor. 11:25). But then a miracle would happen. Through His being broken in death on a lonely cross He would provide a way to salvation for every man! That one death would increase to feed countless believers with eternal life.

The small pieces of food were passed out but a miracle happened. As the food was passed around it multiplied and never ran out. People found they were eating as much as they wanted. In fact, there was so much left over that they collected 12 baskets full. The lesson for us in this picture is that Jesus not only was broken for us on the cross, but He promises us "full, abundant life". It says in the Word in John 10:10:

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
Jesus came so that we might have life to the fullest. The people who were there for the miracle of the feeding of the 5000 went away full. When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, He promises that we will have life to its fullest, more than we had ever dreamed before. Any person alive today cannot have a really full life without Jesus Christ.

The sad part of this story is that after the people who were at the feeding of the 5000 experienced this great miracle, they still didn't know who Jesus was. It says that they thought he was a "prophet". Jesus had to leave quickly because they wanted to make him a king. They did not understand why the Messiah had come. He came to save. He came to feed. He came to die. But they closed their eyes to the truth.

Jesus died for you and me. Jesus wants to take care of you and me today. He wants you to hand everything in your life over to Him. He is the one who created you and me. He can also recreate in you a new creation and bring you the presence of His Holy Spirit within your spirit through His death on the cross. You can have a new nature. Your debt of sin is paid for if you confess your sins and believe and accept the flesh and blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Those of us who have already believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and have trusted Him for our salvation must also realize that in Him we have full life. He wants to provide for us, if we will just let Him. We are not able to do everything. We need His guiding hand in our lives through His Holy Spirit. We can do a little, but Jesus can do a lot if we will just give up to Him the little we have. He wants to put His loving arms around us and show us how much He loves us. In turn, He wants us to follow His example.  We must take up our cross daily and follow Him in His death.  Then we will experience new life in Him.  We ten need to see this dying world as He sees it.  We need to reach out to those who need our help, in our families, in our islands, in the world.

There is a story of a great world famous piano player. He was to give a concert one evening. A large crowd had come to hear him play and was waiting for him to come out. While they were waiting a little girl walked up on the stage. She sat down at the piano and began to play the piano with two little fingers. The crowd was embarrased as she played. Some in the crowd began to mumble and one man got up to go get her and bring her back to her seat. Just then the great pianist came out on the stage. He motioned for the people to be quiet and for the man to go back to his seat. As the girl continued to play with two little fingers, the pianist came over to the piano and stood behind her. He then reached his arms around her and began to play with his ten fingers on either side of her. As he played the most beautiful music began to come out of the piano. The little girl playing a melody with her two fingers found the loving arms of the pianist wrapped around her adding beautiful music to her little melody.

We cannot provide for our needs alone. The melody we play in this life needs the Savior to bring it to its full harmony. We need Jesus! We often think we can provide for our needs, but we just as often find that our attempts to do so are just a pitiful as the melody that little girl was playing with two little fingers. Jesus waits to wrap His loving arms around us, increasing, adding, multiplying the melody with His harmony; until we sound more and more like Jesus every day.

If we claim to be followers of Christ, we also need to wrap our arms around those who are hurting, sick, lonely, depresed, drug addicted, rejected by society, waek.  They need Jesus and they may only find Him through the Gospel preached and lived out in your life!

Song: In His Time