Sermon – March 31, 2019
If we were to summarize John 5, we might say that it presents Jesus as our rest; Jesus gives us healing and life. Like any beautiful jewel, though, Jesus is best viewed in multiple lights. In John 6, John switches perspectives on Jesus, and instead views his glory through the lens of provision. In Jesus, God has given us what we all lack, and our lack is great indeed! Beginning John 6, we have the great miracle of the feeding of the 5,000. Here, Jesus gives us just a taste of the great provision he gives to mankind, miraculously multiplying a small supply of bread and fish to feel multitudes. To see this miracle in the right light, let us see:
1. The deficiency of humans
The needs of the crowd are great, so Jesus asks a question meant to show that the efforts of the disciples would never be enough to meet it. The 200 denarii, which they don’t have, would not have been enough. One wonders why Andrew even thinks to bring the boy forward: the small loaves and the fish wouldn’t have even fed the disciples, let alone 5,000 men alongside the women and children. Our efforts are not so much different than these: our giving, our efforts, are paltry and deficient to take on the task set before us. We are wholly unable to accomplish any good on our own. The problems of the world are simply too big and they run too deep.
2. The sufficiency of Jesus
While our efforts will fall woefully short, Jesus is always able to make up for our shortfall in his sufficiency. Here, he takes the meager offering of the boy and multiplies it to feed the thousands there. Now, we may look at such a miracle and conclude that Jesus is SO sufficient that he doesn’t need us. True, he doesn’t. But we would be wrong to conclude that he doesn’t desire our meager offerings, work, and efforts. Jesus doesn’t multiply until the boy comes forward. He has deemed to spread his kingdom, grow us as Christians, and demonstrate his glory and sufficiency through our deficiencies. Far from implying that we should bring, pray, and do less – let us give all the more in the confidence that Jesus can do more than we ever hope of think.
3. The treachery of sinners
The response to the miracle is exactly what it seems John has set us up to want: they realize that Jesus is the one that Moses himself pointed toward. Indeed, this is precisely what Jesus chastised the folks in Jerusalem for not realizing! Yet, they don’t quite get it. They would take Jesus and make him king by force. It is wickedness disguised as faith that calls Jesus Lord simply to make him give you what you want. Jesus is not, and will never be, your puppet. This is a danger that all of us run – so be careful and watch your heart for this deception and treachery in your heart.