Pray Like Jesus
The Prayer For Food
The feeding of the 5,000 is a significant miracle in Jesus’ ministry. We know this because all four Gospel accounts recall this miracle. In fact, this is the only miracles that is mentioned in all 4 Gospel accounts. Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9, and John 6 all discuss this miracle. Why is this miracle so important that all 4 Gospel writers choose to include it? We don’t have a complete answer to this question. We can operate under theories regarding why this is important, but really these are all speculative. The reality is there are a few things we know for sure about the human body. You will be born, you will die, and you must have food and water to survive. These things we know without question. That the human body must have food to get the nutrients it needs to survive. But while Jesus meets the physical needs of the crowd in this miracle he has something much bigger in mind. Let’s read together John 6:1-14…
Who are you sitting down with?
Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples.
Yes, I know this question ends with a preposition which is a no no, but just roll with it ok. Jesus is known for taking his disciples away in order to teach them about past experiences and future encounters. I imagine in this particular situation Jesus is teaching them, but also preparing them for the feeding of the 5,000.
One thing we can say without question about Jesus is that it was his intention from the very beginning of his ministry to invest and pour into people so that they could replicate it with other people. After all, the main criteria for books getting put into the New Testament canon was apostolicity. That is, as the early church was deciding what books to include and what books to avoid they always went back to does this book reflect the teachings of Jesus through his apostles. Thus, outside of Hebrews which we don’t know who the author is every single book in the New Testament is affiliated with Jesus’ circle somehow. Matthew a disciple, Mark a friend of Peter, Luke friend of Paul, Paul an apostle, John a disciple, and we could go on and on.
You see the church grew because one person Jesus took the teachings and passed them on to the next generation, and the next generation passed it on, and the next generation passed it on, and my grandparents taught my parents, and my parents taught me, and I am teaching my children. The church as an institution is most effective if individuals are sitting down with people. A couple of hours on Sunday morning is not adequate.
So I ask you again this morning who are you sitting down with? And as I ask you that question I ask myself the question as well. The church word for sitting down with people is discipleship.
I want to challenge you this morning ask the Lord to reveal to you a person in your life that you know you need to sit down with and study the Scriptures. And as I say this I realize that many of us in this room did not have someone in our lives that did this with us, but just because no one did it with you is not a reason to avoid doing it with someone else.
We disciple in motion here at First Baptist New Orleans. In other words, you can study the teachings of Jesus while you are moving. No one is telling you to have another sit down meeting. As you feed the homeless, as you go to the juvenile detention center, as you teach ESL use these opportunities to discuss the word of God. Ask yourself how is what I am doing align with the teachings of Jesus. You can do this while you play golf, while you run, while you transport kids to and from their activities. There are all sorts of avenues in which you can study the Scriptures. Don’t make it more complicated than it has to be.
- Now you might have seen this before, but let’s do the math. You lead one person to Christ, and disciple him and ask him to lead one person to Christ and disciple that person. By year 4 you would still only have 16 believers, but if you continued the process for 33 years you would have 8.5 billion Christians, which by the way the world population is only 7.4 billion people. Now I realize logistically it is difficult at some point we would have to move overseas, but let’s just take America. Around 322 million people so for America alone would take somewhere in the 27th year to reach everyone for Christ. With the Spirit of God living inside of us, don’t tell me that is impossible.
Be ready for the tests:
Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.
Does anyone else in the room feel bad for Philip here? Philip really didn’t stand a chance. Jesus knew exactly how he was going to respond. Nevertheless, Philip was being tested. You know Jesus was thinking in his mind, “Philip, I am right in front of you, you have seen me do miracles and yet you are gonna try to figure out how much money it will cost to make this happen.
- Just this past week I had a meeting with an organization that we are looking to partner with. I really believe that this organization can help some of the people that we work with through the ministries of FBNO succeed in life. The leader of the organization was impressive and he believed that he could help the people we are seeking to help, BUT then he gave me a dollar amount of what it would cost, and immediately in my mind I was thinking, “well there goes that, all of this hard work only to be told that it will cost X amount of money, and there is just no way we can find that kind of money.” And as I was preparing for this message, I realized Jesus was probably waving his hands in front of my face saying, “I am right here in front of you.” We can make this happen.
Philip was still learning at this point. Most likely still a babe in his faith. He had much to learn from Jesus, but Jesus has bigger plans for Philip. And I want to show you that right now.
Now I hate to make you turn passages here, but in order for us to really see Philip’s progression we have to do it. Turn with me to Acts 8:26-31 and it will be on the screen as well if you don’t want to turn. Look how God uses Philip.
Philip who in John 6 is confused, and misses the point is now the one called by God to explain the Scriptures to an Ethiopian eunuch. The eunuch says how can I understand unless someone guides me, so the eunuch invited Philip to sit with him. Bam! This is discipleship. Jesus disciples Philip, and now Philip will communicate the truths of Scripture to someone else.
Jesus tested Philip in John 6 to prepare him for the moment in Acts 8 where he could now succeed in explaining the Scriptures to someone else. Church embrace the tests that come your way from God. Do not crouch in fear, or run away, but rather, view each and every test from the Lord as an opportunity for you to be ready when he calls upon you to minster to someone who needs the truth that you can share with them.
Watch God Work:
Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.
Once again, we see the significance of sitting down. Look how John phrases the sentence here. He says that Jesus distributed to those who were sitting. So now we have the disciples sitting in the first v.3, we have the Ethiopian eunuch asking Philip to sit with him in Acts 8, and now in v.11the food is being distributed to those who are sitting. I can’t believe that John’s emphasis on sitting here is by accident.
The number of men is 5,000 but in Matthew’s Gospel in his perspective of the miracle he points out that they fed 5,000 in addition to women and children. So we are looking at a lot more than 5,000 bodies being fed. This is a miracle of magnificent proportion. Many skeptics will dismiss this miracle away by saying this is just a matter the people sharing the food rather than a supernatural miracle. With all due respect, can I just say how incredibly silly that is. You can’t share 5 loaves and two fish with that many people unless people are satisfied eating crumbs, not to mention the fact that the text tells us that there was an enormous amount of leftovers, and that the people were filled. This is not a miracle that you can explain away.
It’s important to point out that even Jesus himself thanked his father for the food. He prayed for God to bless the food. Jesus the king of kings still knew that his power came from his Heavenly Father. He submitted to the leadership of his Father. Every believer in Jesus Christ has proclaimed that they give up the right to live according to their own plan. All of us in this room who are believers in Jesus Christ have said we forfeit the right to be in charge of our life. We submit to the teachings found in Scripture and that is how we go about living our lives. Jesus himself modeled this for us as he submitted to his heavenly Father.
Notice how many baskets of food were leftover. Now, I have no proof that the number 12 is significant in terms of the amount of leftovers, but last time I checked there were 12 disciples. Not only are their 12 baskets full of leftovers, but he tells the disciples to go and collect the fragments. This is discipleship in motion! He taught his disciples about his power by allowing them to participate in what he was doing. This is what we mean by disciple in motion. Each disciple got a basket of food to take with them not to fill their bellies, but as a reminder that God is working.
Talk about God at work:
When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”
John’s Gospel is the signs Gospel. The first 12 chapters is considered the book of signs. John’s purpose is to stress the divinity of Jesus Christ. He is not just another prophet, but he is divine sent from Heaven by his Heavenly Father.
What do the people do with the miracle they have just seen? They proclaim that Jesus is the prophet who is to come into the world. Believer in Jesus Christ, we need to be telling people of the ways that Jesus is working in our lives. Jesus is performing signs and miracles in your life. Are you seeing them?
Maybe that 3 car pile up on I-10 that you avoided was not just luck of the draw. Maybe that spot that the doctor found on the MRI that proved to be a glitch is not just a glitch. Did you ever think that God could be God at work? Our human nature tells us that we should be dismiss the supernatural and chalk it up to luck or coincidence. But we serve a supernatural God that raised Jesus from the dead, and if he can raise a man from the dead he can heal your disease, he can bring that friend or spouse that you have prayed for what seems like 20 years to salvation. He can do it. Church we have to quit selling the God of the universe short! His spirit lives inside of you, and the same power that crushed the enemy is the same power that lives in you and me. You have the spirit of Jesus himself living inside of you. Quit walking around powerless.
Jesus continues the theme of food later on in this chapter. He writes in 6:35 that he is the bread of life and that whoever comes to him will not hunger and whoever believes in him will never thirst. He is the food that never leaves us hungry. He always satisfies and leaves you full. Some of you this morning you are searching for something to give you satisfaction in life. You will not find in your job, your relationships, your possessions. Sure they might give you glimpses of satisfaction, but I am telling you they will not give you complete fullness and purpose. The bread of life is Jesus himself. The miracle in this story is not food, the miracle is that Jesus is the bread of life who offers you salvation freely with no strings attached.