Levi Lusko - This Is Only A Test
All right, week four. Last Supper on the Moon. We are so glad to have you with us at Fresh Life Church. Every single church joining in with us, church online, come on you're here. We're glad. It's an honor to have you. Now if you have a Bible turn with me to John Chapter 6. And if you take notes the title of this message is This is Only a Test. This is Only a Test. Now imagine sitting in your car in a storm, unable to get out, unable to get home, unable to get to safety, and to sit there for over 20 hours, no food, no water no way to go to the bathroom at a restroom, stranded and stuck and in danger. This is exactly what happened at the beginning of 2022 to thousands of motorists on I-95, a stretch of it 15 miles in length, one of the busiest highways in the United States on the East Coast as a major storm hit that part of the country, causing problems and congestion and canceled flights all up the Eastern seaboard.
On this particular stretch of road just outside of our nation's capital in Virginia people had no way to get off the freeway, no way to get on the surface streets, no way to go anywhere. There was gridlocked, it was snowy, it was icy. Even if trucks could have gotten on tow trucks there was really no way to do anything about the jackknifed semis and the mile after mile after mile after mile of stuck cars. So people just sat there having to choose, do I run the motor and keep myself warm and from freezing to death, or do I stop it and conserve fuel. Not knowing how long this is all going to last and play out, one guy said all I had in my car was an orange and a Dr. Pepper so I was rationing it one slice every three or four hours. Think about this, 20, 24 hours into this thing as people are stranded not having any idea. They said the National Guard would have been deployed, but it would take a whole day to get them even there. So really people had no option.
One couple, though, noticed that just a few cars in front of them was a bread truck owned by a bakery called Schmidt. The Schmidt truck bakery truck was just a couple of cars in front of them. And so this smart girl with her husband in the car Casey and John are their names. She called up the owner of this bakery. She called the corporate customer service line for Schmidt bakery and she said, look, I am sitting here in a snowstorm in a blizzard. I'm staring at your truck. People are hungry for 15 miles. She goes, can you please give permission for this bread truck driver to open up the truck and to share the love. And that is exactly what happened. You see this photo? The owner of that company called this girl back within 20 minutes and said, I'm calling that driver and telling him to open up the truck.
So Casey and John, now here's a photo of them, they walked up and down the highway for the next several hours. Here's a photo of them back in their car as they got to participate in a miracle. They said they passed out bread until they couldn't feel their feet anymore they were so cold. They just went from car to car saying do you have anything to eat? Here's a loaf of bread. They were like Oprah Winfrey and Santa Claus rolled up in one. I love the touching sentiment. The story went viral. Many people were blessed by it but I in particular loved one elderly woman who was interviewed after the fact. She said, this, in my entire lifetime, is one of the kindest moments I have ever witnessed. How it felt to be starving and to see the face of a kind stranger approaching with bread. Now this story, it perfectly positions us to look at the fourth of seven signs in Jesus' gospel of John, John's gospel, that tells who Jesus is, that in his opinion should convince all of us that He is the Son of God and that if we believe in him we can have life in His name.
It is one of the most famous stories in all of the scripture. If you have read the Bible at all I guarantee you you have come across this one, and that is intentionally because it is told four different times in the Bible. It is, outside of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, the only miracle repeated by all four Gospels. Matthew tells it, Mark tells it, Luke tells it, and as we will see today, John tells it. And regardless of how many times you've read it, heard it, or what you think you know about it, I believe the spirit of God wants to speak fresh truth into your heart, into your life, into your situation. So let's read it together starting in verse one. It says,
"After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberius. Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which he performed on those who were diseased. And Jesus went up on the mountain and there he sat with his disciples. Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. Then Jesus lifted up his eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, he said to Philip, 'Where shall we buy bread that these may eat'? But this He said to test him, for He himself. Knew what he would do. Philip answered Him, 'Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little'. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, 'there is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many'? Then Jesus said, 'Make the people sit down'. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves and when he had given thanks he distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down, and likewise of the fish as much as they wanted. So when they were filled, He said to his disciples, 'gather up the fragments that remain so that nothing is lost'. Therefore they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the sign", there's that word, sign, "that Jesus did, said, 'This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world'".
Come on, let's thank God for his word for it is like nothing else you read, nothing else you encounter.
And Father we do pray. We are grateful to have access to your word, that we would get to read that, that we have multiple different translations and versions we can read but, God, I hope and pray we wouldn't miss the power of what is here. Not just for what happened to them then but what can happen to us today, the principles here. Not just some cute story that we can recite, and the details are somewhat familiar, and, wow, that's that sure is nice. And then we would miss out on how we are meant to remember you and who you are and what you can do in the midst of the adversity that we face in this life. Thank you that above all things we see in this text what is clearly communicated is that Jesus is God. That's who he claimed to be. That was the supporting evidence through all of these signs. That was the purpose of these demonstrations. And I pray that everyone listening would be confronted with that truth, with that fact, and not just see, oh this is such a nice kind gesture, but to realize this is God. This is the one who said He is the bread of life who's come down from heaven. And that we would realize that in the hunger we face in this life, not just hunger for food but the hunger we all face for meaning, we would realize there is something to eat that you have given to us. We pray all of this asking your blessing on each listening, especially the hurting parts of our hearts and lives, and we ask this in your name, Jesus, Amen.
This is only a test. When I was a kid you would almost always hear those words after one of those terrible shrill sounds on the radio or TV, right? Beep. And the image on the screen was sort of frightening, like Iron Man III frightening, you know what I'm saying? What's going on here? And this has been a test of the Emergency Broadcasting System. If this were an actual emergency instructions would follow. So you're kind of tuned to hear that tone to know if something real is coming down the road, I'm ready because I'm because of what happened here during the test. That exact word is used here in this text and I believe in here we can learn much of what to do when we face the tests of this life. For, listen to me carefully as it's been well said, a faith that can't be tested is a faith that can't be trusted. And God wants you to be able to trust your faith. God wants you to know your faith can be counted on. So in this life God will never tempt you but you can be sure of this, God will test you. And I believe that you are being tested.
Come on, encourage someone beside you. Tell them, you're being tested. Tell them, this will be on the test. This, at times, is the test. I think that's what we need to remind ourselves. When we feel like freaking out look at the sermon title I gave you just a moment ago. Say that over yourself when you're freaking out. This is only a test. This is only a test. This is only a test. You can comfort yourself when you feel like oh no, no, no. Is this a terrible emergency? No, no, no. In every emergency we truly can say, this is only a test. Where's God in this situation? This is only a test. God is testing us because he trusts us enough to test us. And that is what we see. So what I want to do today is I just want to walk through the phases of this story. I count seven. Of course there's going to be seven. I count seven movements to this story where you see first of all Jesus and his disciples encountering an unsolvable problem. That sound relatable? There are problems we face and we don't know how to solve them.
I was working on this sermon and I came downstairs and as I was coming around the corner, I heard my daughter, Clover, out of the corner of her eye she saw me. She goes, Dad, I hate math. I just can't do this. That's a common thing in my house, right? Just an outburst of anger against random subjects. It could be history, it could be I hate math. I'm like, I'm so sorry. She goes, there's nothing worse than math. And I was like, honey there's tons of things worse than math. She goes, what? I said cholera, dysentery, malaria, AIDS, Herpes, snakes, taxes, lawyers, honey there are so many things in this world. I'm just kidding, if you're a snake. There's so many things worse than math. And she was she was not encouraged by my little diatribe as I popped back upstairs to finish the message. But the problem was she was facing this difficulty on her screen and she didn't know how to solve it. She didn't know how to figure out how to, and at times it doesn't go away when you stop dealing with algebra in the fourth grade.
We all deal with problems and we just go, I don't know how to solve it. That is exactly what was in front of these disciples here on this day. Little context, Jesus had been healing, had been ministering, John is not exhaustive. In fact, he picks and chooses what stories he tells because he custom wrote his letter or gospel, rather, knowing what the other disciples had included. Knowing what Matthew and Mark and Luke. John was the last to be written. So he knew what was already out there so he almost always deviated from the material that was already there, telling the different side of things, telling his perspective on things, knowing at times they left some stuff out because they couldn't cover them all. They couldn't tell it all. John even at the end of his said there's no way anybody could tell everything that cat did. He was doing so much. He said, so I picked this to make the case to you that He is the Son of God. And he almost always would include things that they didn't.
This is one time that all four of them, as I said, told the same thing, which tells us that the weight and the magnitude of this miracle, just by sheer fact alone, that it was by far the most witnessed miracle Jesus ever performed. For in addition to the 5,000 men that we read about there also were, the text tells us, women and children. Matthew 14:21 is the reference. "Besides these men there were women and children". The method of counting in that day was just to give the head count of the heads of households, and it would be, of course, implied there would also be women and children. So you could be talking as much as 20,000 people all coming after Jesus. Why? Two reasons. Number one, He had been doing a lot of awesome stuff lately. I mean, we just read last week about this dude at the pool of Bethesda. That's a big deal. And there was lots of other miracles that Jesus had done.
Some people place this story in the final third year of Jesus' public ministry. So a lot had been done. There was a buzz about him. And so a lot of people were following him. Specifically in this area at this moment there were a lot of people coming and going. Why? The text told us it was just about to be Passover. Passover over was one of the three feasts called Pilgrim feasts that no matter where you lived you would up and go back to Jerusalem to attend. And so there's a lot of people moving about. Jesus is being talked about. Someone says that's Jesus over there and so everybody comes to him where he is at this moment sitting on a mountain with his disciples. The text tells us. They are hanging out. There they're just chilling there and all of a sudden Jesus lifted his eyes.
That's one of the reasons I wrote the book The Last Supper on the Moon, just to encourage us all to do what scripture says so many times, to lift up your eyes to consider the heavens. All four of the Gospels tell us Jesus lifted his eyes. You're doing what we need to do, doing what will cause us to have faith, to take heart, to look at the moon, to look at the stars. Be careful when you look at the sun. In fact, if you want to look at the sun the best thing you can do is look at the moon because when you look at the moon you're looking at the light of another. It's the sunlight that reflects off of it. Pretty good. Jesus is lifting his eyes and when he lifts his eyes he sees all these people. He knows that they're hungry. He knows that they're tired. So what does he do? He turns to Philip and he says to him, hey man, where do you think we could get food for all these people? Dude.
Here's what's funny about the story. Philip is the local in this moment. Philip was from Bethesda and Bethesda would be one of the closest cities to this area. So out of all the disciples that Jesus had, he chose to pick the one who probably was like bragging as they were walking. Hey, this is where I went to high school, this is my spot, that's how I kind of imagined the story. Oh yeah, man, what that place is the best. They make the best burger anywhere bro. right? Bacon cheeseburger? No, too soon. No they can't have bacon yet. This has not gotten to the book of Acts yet, but a great cheeseburger. And so all the stories are being told. I kind of imagine him like, Oh, you went there? That place is the worst. My cousin works there. he probably spit in your food. And all this.
So when all the people are coming and Jesus wants to feed them he's like, hey Philip. What's grocery store would be the best one to get all the food for all these people? And he puts it on Philip. And Philip Phillips is like are you kidding me. Philip said, if I had eight months of wages at the best job there's no way we could even give all of these people a taste. This problem, Jesus, is unsolvable. And the next verse says Jesus didn't ask him about groceries because he actually intended for them to go shopping. Because he already knew what he was going to do. Y'all, this is Jesus just being sneaky. I have for a long time had a suspicion that Jesus was sneaky. He's just mysterious, I'm telling you. He's mischievous. If you don't see Jesus with a twinkle in your eye you are reading the Bible wrong, right? Hey what grocery store should we go to to get everybody some food for some totally awesome delicious dinner that we could buy for them?
And as Philip begins to have a seizure, the text says Jesus had no intention of them going grocery shopping. So what are you bringing this up for? This is only a test. Philip was one of the earliest disciples. You see his calling very beginning in the selection of Jesus's team. That is to say, he was there at the miracle in Cana. He was there to see Jesus solve a problem of no wine by not running out and having every disciple grab two boxes of the cheap stuff, but by filling up some bathtubs and making the good stuff. He knew how Jesus rolled. He saw how Jesus operated. And so Jesus asked Philip, Philip, where can we go? What do you think? What could be done about this? Pretending to be freaking out, what could be done about this. How could we possibly deal with this situation, Philip? What do you think that, I, the Son of Man could do here in this moment with these hungry people?
Philip goes there's not a Costco for miles, Jesus. I wrote this down. The greatest miracles usually follow the most bewildering behavior. It is when God acts the strangest that he's about to do something that's the greatest. It's in those moments that we should lean in. In those moments that we're tempted to get back on our heels. What's God doing? Why would he allow this? Where's God here? In those moments we should be on our toes believing that he's getting ready to do something great.
If in your life today things are weird I just dare you to believe God's preparing to do something good. I just want to encourage you that's how he rolls. That's his MO. I also wrote down that it's easiest to shift into human understanding wherever you're the most familiar. Maybe it was easy for Philip to have faith in Jerusalem or faith even in Cana but near Bethesda he shifted back into the normal mode. I wonder where is the area in your life where it's hardest for God to work? Because you're the most shifting into logical mode, human understanding mode. Maybe it's around your family. Maybe it's in your home. Maybe it's at work. In some area we all have some space that's our Nazareth where we're tempted to put Jesus into the most linear role. We saw the wine, we tasted the wine, we saw the miracle at the pool of Bethesda but here in this moment, it's easy for us just to go, hey I've done the math. It doesn't add up. Even if Peter goes to Walmart and I go to Walgreens and he goes to Piggly Wiggly and I do CVS, there's no way this can get done. Because there's an area in our life where we tend to put Jesus into the box of what's possible for man.
But Jesus has only ever been in one box and he broke out of that one on the third day. I'm telling you something. There's no box you can put him in where He will stay. And so this unsolvable problem is followed by a heart of compassion. Just as Phillips says it's not going to work here's what the other Gospels tell us. The rest of the disciples chimed in and said yeah tell all these people to go away. Tell all these people to go home. Tell them to go on their way, leave us alone on this mountain. Why? Because of the context that I didn't get to tell you yet. Jesus and the disciples have been at it for a second and they are tired. In fact, the disciples all got sent out on a little ministry trip and they were trying to cast out demons. They went good in some cases, bad in some cases. Then just as they were coming back they're like we're beat down because we got rejected in this city so we had to wipe the dust off our feet. It went well in this city so we stayed a little while. They all come back to tell Jesus how it went just as some of the friends of John the Baptist are approaching with big bags under their eyes with the sad news that Jesus' cousin has just been decapitated.
And the grief that Jesus and some of his disciples who had previously been disciples of John the Baptist were feeling. Jesus said, you guys, we need to take a second. We need to get away. We're pausing ministry for a second so we can have some rest. We're going to go up in this mountain. We're going to chill. And how wise is Jesus to know that if you don't at times take those times to come apart and rest you will come apart at the seams and there will be brokenness that will reveal. So we all have to be willing to have margin and fight for it. And I love this picture. I just love it so much. They're sitting on a mountain with Jesus. What a picture of a quiet time. What a picture of a day off. Sitting on a mountain with Jesus. And then 20,000 people start showing up needing a miracle. And the disciples say, hey, remember we're on vacay, bro. This is our day off. This is our day with you. Office hours are closed. You can come back on Tuesday if you want to see the Messiah. Send them away. Because this was now an intrusion.
I also dare you to believe that some of the greatest things God will ever do in your life will come as an interruption in the moment. I'm telling you, I have had times where it's like a grueling ministry moment, hard beat down and looking forward to this airplane ride, 90 minutes of peace airplane mode here, airplane mode there. I'm going to watch Gladiator or Blackhawk down or both. I'll just go between them on split screens, not even have audio on and just huh. Because life's hard and serving Jesus is hard even. I've got one friend who's a pastor who used to always tell me that he would have bread truck Mondays. Bread truck Mondays come after a bad Sunday where you didn't feel like you preached good or you didn't feel like people listen good, or both. And and sometimes both can happen. And he said on Mondays he would fantasize about driving a bread truck. He would say, I just wish sometimes I drove a bread truck because the bread in the back they never have affairs, they never complain. The bread in the back just sits there. It's just bread. Bread never betrays you. Bread never does anything mean. Bread never tweets mean about you. Bread never starts a blog about how dumb you are. Bread is just delicious and every time you eat it it's predictably wonderful.
And he said if you get in an accident they just make more bread. The stakes are very low. So those are bread truck Mondays. I think you could probably relate. And the disciples here were in a bread truck moment. Now Jesus wants to get all compassionate. He understood that some of the greatest things that God ever does in your life will come as an interruption. I have had times when I just wanted to keep my noise canceling headphones on more than anything else in the world but someone next to me wanted to talk about Jesus. I know that because they said what do you do. And I'm like, I'm an author. Right? Like on that day I'm not a pastor, I'm just an author. You know what I'm saying? They're both true technically, OK. What do you write? Oh come on. Books about hope. Hope in what? Hard situations you might face. Well I've had a hard situation. That's too bad for you. Back to William Wallace. You know what I'm saying? And then the Holy Spirit's like, hey. I'm like yes, Lord. Your servant listens. I'm begrudgingly leading someone to faith in Christ. OK, great you're saved. Now shut up.
And I can feel that in the disciples here, because they're human just like all of us are. Jesus shows them what a heart of compassion looks like when in Mark's gospel it says, "He saw them, a great multitude, and was moved with compassion for them". The actual Greek word is his stomach was in knots because he cared about them so much. But his it was his idea to take the vacation, knowing that the interruption was coming. That is to say they're both true. That is to say that you've got to draw in pencil. Yes, it's good to have those things but those interruptions will come and sometimes they will be from the Holy Spirit. So here's what it says. It says "He saw them because they were like sheep not having a shepherd so he began to teach them many things". That is to say, before he ever gave them bread to eat he first gave them the bread of life, which is what he is, the food for the soul.
Now there is some emphasis at times in the church and we should do physical things and we should feed hungry people and we should take care of the poor. There's other times in the church world, no, we need to teach the Bible, and we need to make sure that people have the promise of eternal life. Which is it? Which is it? The answer is both, and. The answer is Jesus cares about hungry stomachs and he cares about hungry souls, and we should care about both of them. We should care about people being hungry in this world and hungry eternally. Jesus gives us that as a template. Which is the priority? Helping people or Sabbath and rest? They're both important. And we should have both of them on our radar but also be open to some divine interruptions.
The next phase, phase number three, is an unlikely solution. Because as our text puts it, Jesus is approached by Andrew now. Andrew shows up in three specific cameos in the Bible and guess what? Every single time he's bringing someone to Jesus. Every single time Andrew's name is mentioned is in connection to him going hey, here's someone, Jesus. Here's someone, Jesus. He brings his brother to Jesus. He brings this guy to Jesus at the end of John's gospel. He brings a bunch of rando random Greeks to Jesus. He's like, hey, these guys were looking for you. What do you think? Hey, come on. Could we be like Andrew and bring people to Jesus? That's our goal. We can't save them but we can bring them to Jesus. We can introduce them to Jesus. We can tell them about Jesus and if they say, how do I know Him? Well come with me, I'd love to show you. I'd love to bring you to church. Let me tell you what he's done in my heart. I'd love to articulate the gospel to you. Let me tell you what has happened. That's Andrew. His unlikely solution is hey, I've got this little boy, a lad, the text tells us, a lad who's got a lunchbox. A lad with a lunchbox, that's the solution. 20,000 hungry people and you're bringing a kid with a lunchable and a Capri Sun.
What are we talking about here? But he's got a fruit by the foot too. Five barley loaves and two, they're not even big fish, two small fish. Five loaves and two fish. The food of the poor was barley. In that day that you knew how much your family made by what sort of ingredients went into your bread, and barley was the cheapest of all breads. How did how did Andrew know this boy had it? Clearly the boy came forward. He could have kept his lunch hidden. By the way, the unsung hero in all this is that boy's dad or mom who packed him his lunch that day and sent him. I want to go and see Jesus, everyone's going out. All right, you're going to need a lunch. And it's not just those who do the work. It's also those who give the assist, who set up those who do that great work. Here's for the unsung heroes. Here's for the moms and the dads packing lunches. Here's for the teachers who influence the young mind who goes on to do great things. Here's to the Sunday school teacher who teaches the child who goes on to become a missionary or a pastor or a stockbroker who shines a light in this world. But the unlikely solution is here we've got 20,000 hungry people.
Here's five loaves and two fishes. Here's a little boy's lunch, the poorest lunch you could have. Here's this meager lunch. And even as he brings them to Him Andrew admits, but what are they among so many? What are they among so many? Well here's what they are. This is a feast for an entire crowd. That's what it is. When you were looking at that tiny little meal what are you looking at? You're looking at food for 20,000 plus leftovers. But a seed seldom looks like the harvest it contains. And so at times we are tempted not to sow the seed that could lead to the harvest. Had this not been sown it would not have been responsible for it. For what came out of the ground is directly correlated to what went into the ground but it almost never looks like it in the moment. That leads me to this takeaway truth, like those apps that you can punch in everything that's in your cabinets and it'll prepare a recipe for you based on everything that's already in your pantry. You feel like I need to go to the store but no, this says based on what we have here's what can happen.
I just dare you to believe that the recipe God wants to use for the miraculous in your life is exactly what's already in your life. He did not intend for them to go to a grocery store. That is to say, the thing that's in your heart you believe God wants to do, you tend to think if I had this, if I knew this person, if I was this famous, if I had that opportunity, if I had that I could do the thing. But God goes, no, give me what's in your hand and I will unlock what's in your heart. Be willing to bring what you already do have to me. What's in your home now? What's in your life now? Who do you know today? That is what God wants to use to bring about what he wants to do in your life. The interesting thing is that the less you've been given, the greater the danger is you won't do anything with it. We tend to think, oh, those people who have a lot, they probably won't do anything for good, but at times it's those who have the least who at least when we look at our lives we go, I don't have the greatest gift. I don't have the greatest ability.
That's the greatest danger. The greatest danger is that when you've been given little you won't let God use it to do what he wants to do through you. Isn't that what Jesus said when he said, a guy was given five talents, a guy was given two, and a guy was given one. And when the master came back the guy with five talents had used it, the guy with two had used it, but the guy with one talent, what did he do? He hid it in the ground because he despised it for looking at the five talent guy. I think at times it is the person who's been given meager abilities, who've been given small opportunities, that God wants to do incredible things through you. It's the little kid. He could have picked anybody. He picked the person who had the least, but you can't despise the smallness of your ability. You can't despise the smallness of your resource. You can't say, when I'm rich I'll start tithing. When I have all this time I'll begin serving God. When I'm retired one day then I'll begin to volunteer. I'm telling you right now give Him your fish. I'm telling you right now give Him those sardines. Give him your barley, don't hide it in the ground. It's an unlikely solution.
What did Jesus say? In another version of the story, Mark's version, Jesus says, how many do we have? What do we have? The grocery store won't work. All right, what do we have? And that's when Andrew brought forward this little boy who must have raised his hand and said, I got something. And I'm just wondering, will you, regardless of how you feel your gift is smaller, perhaps because you're staring at what someone else has been entrusted. Will you say, hey, I got one talent, Jesus, and I'm willing to give it to you. Whatever I have, it may not be much, Jesus, you can use my resource, you can use my time, you can use my ability. I want to make a difference.
That leads to number four, a grateful petition. Jesus prayed over the loaves and fish before they were multiplied. He blessed them. This is a beautiful moment where you see Jesus praying. What kind of prayer was it? The text tells us he gave thanks. He gave thanks. He gave thanks. He gave thanks. Now let's pick at this for a second. He's holding not enough but he's thanking God for it. They don't have enough money. Philip admitted, we don't have enough money, but can we thank God? We're holding not enough. I don't see how. I'm looking at an impossible situation. This is what I felt like God really said. We may not ever be in a unique situation exactly like this, a miraculous multiplication like this, exactly, but that's not the point. The point is can you in an impossible situation, this is only a test.
Can you thank him anyway? Can you hold not enough money and not enough resource for the vision in your heart of compassion that God's given to you, but be thankful in the midst of it. Isn't that what 1 Thessalonians said is God's will, for all of us, to be thankful in everything. In everything. Not for everything. We're not thankful for every bad thing but we can stand in the middle of whatever and say thank you. I'm holding not enough. I don't have enough money. I don't see how this is going to work. This is unsolvable, and be like Clover and say I hate math, but thank you, God, for what you have given me. May not have everything but I'm holding something right now.
Things begin to change in your heart and in your life in the world when you have a grateful spirit standing in the middle of a big, impossible problem. I also see this if you compare the synoptic accounts we're told that he didn't just bless the food he also broke the food. He broke the food. Am I preaching to some people today who have some broken places in your heart? I feel that from this text God wanted me to tell you that Jesus always blesses what he allows to be broken. And if you need proof of that, look at Matthew 5. Blessed are the, blessed are the, blessed are the persecuted, poor in spirit, those who hunger. If there's brokenness in your life God is getting ready to bless you. Brokenness is a precursor to multiplication. If in your brokenness you allow yourself to be put into Jesus's hands and to not get angry at him this brokenness, this hard season, this difficult tribulation, this fiery trial that's come to try you, to test you, to produce the preciousness of gold in the midst of you, to burn away the dross, to burn away the sinful desires, to make you pure of heart, this is a precursor to multiplication.
And then, number five, we see in Jesus a mentality of multiplication because he does not distribute the bread himself. The text says He handed it to the disciples and they distribute it to the others. You should always have a mentality in your mind of, I'm not going to just do things. I'm going to also influence others who can be released into their calling. Now Jesus didn't need anybody's help on this day. He could have sneezed and there could have been an instant chick-fil-a sandwich in everybody's lap. Instantly. He didn't need a little boy, he didn't need Philip, he didn't need anybody. Did Jesus need disciples? No. But he wanted to influence them so that when he was gone they could go on to do greater things even than he had done. That's his heart for you. That you would not just receive and receive and receive and then do and then do and then do, but you would always be saying who can I bring along on the journey? Who can I involve? Hey, come on, I'm on a team. Get on the team with me. Hey I'm in a group, come on, get in this group with me. Come on, I'm doing this thing, involving, bringing in. The question I keep asking is who's going to influence and reach my grandchildren? Can I, God, be used to reach those who would be raised up in the world to reach my great, great, great, great grandchildren.
Jesus could have handed out the bread but he handed it to others. He let them have that one. He let them have that opportunity. He was looking to make opportunity and to make space. He wasn't threatened by those coming behind him. He delighted to see them do. He said even greater things than he had done in scope and that's what he thinks over you and for me today. We must have that big spirited mentality as well. Never guarding tribal knowledge, never tried to keep jobs secure. There's always a mentality about who can I release? Who can I help? In my company, at my job, on my team, who can I give ownership to? Who can I delegate to? Who can I even just give bigger space to? The mentality of multiplication. Then we see this lead to an all you can eat celebration. The text said they all got to eat as how much? As much as they wanted. How much did they walk away with in their bellies? How much they chose to eat. This Bible can feed you as much or as little as you want it to. You can pray as much or as little as you want to.
There are 52 weeks in a year. You can be in God's house on the Sunday as much or as little as you want to. I'm just encouraging you to see how much will you get fed? How much you eat? How much will you get nursed? How much are you willing to pray? How much will you get blessed? How often will you tithe? How much will you get encouraged? How often will you give yourself over to the discipleship and to the small groups? How much will you see God do through you evangelistically? How often will you share your faith? They ate as much or as little as they wanted. It was an all you can eat celebration. That's what God's opened us up to. Charles Spurgeon said, according to your appetite, according to your will, according to your faith, so be it unto you. For this is one of the rules of Christ's feasting, as much as they wanted. And then finally, and we're going to close here. I see in this text an excess of provision. As they were sent out with 12 baskets of fragments. What had come in? The seed that got planted was five loaves and two fishes. 20,000 got fed and then 12 baskets were the leftovers. What's the point of this? Don't miss don't miss the point of this all.
Jesus is saying I'm better than Moses. Because he was ministering to people who thought Moses hung the moon. But under Moses administration, under the Ten Commandments era, under the religious day that these people thought they were saved under, Moses' food could not be kept overnight for it would become wormy and spoil and perish every single day, except for the Sabbath day. Jesus said make sure you keep all of the leftovers. They're going to be good tomorrow. Why? My wine doesn't run out and my food doesn't spoil. He says, I got the bread, I got the wine, come on, I am Jesus. I am who I am. I am what you need. I am the bread of life. So what do you do when you face hard situations? What do you do when you face impossible trials? Number one, you remember that you're in training. And when you remember that, you go, OK, if I'm in training no wonder I'm facing an obstacle course right now. No wonder I'm facing a gauntlet right now. I'm in training. That's what people get put through when they're in training. I'm in training for what? Something great. Something I don't know. Then, secondly, we remember that God is eccentric.
Now I know that feels like, I don't know if I'm going to write that down. I might get struck by lightning. Listen, he is. The definition of eccentric is deviating from the customary. He's eccentric. Not erratic, not like your uncle who collects toy ships, OK. Not erratic like that. Not bizarre like that. God, though, is eccentric, meaning he deviates from the customary. So when you feel like you're facing impossible things like, Oh no, how am I going to this, just remember Philip was asked where are we going to buy all the food when Jesus didn't intend to buy food. He deviates from the customary at times. Thirdly, remember he's sovereign so he saw this trial coming and he knows what he's going to do. That verse six should comfort you so much. He already knew what he was going to do. And then fourthly, he has a really great track record. In other words, this is only a test. This is only a test. In my hard moments I remember this is only a test.
So, Father we thank you that you love us enough to test us. We thank you that you put us through paces at times because you trust us. We think of the Apollo astronauts who flew thousands and thousands of missions to the moon in simulators, in swimming pools. So that when the real thing came they had already been there before. They had been through the paces. They were ready because they had tested. Maybe today in our hard moments know and remember that we're being tested. We don't always know what for, but you do. So we can rest in that. I pray for that release of control.
Come on, where are my people at all across the church and churches and online who would say:
I release control. I'm going to accept that I'm being tested. I'm just going to trust Him, even though I don't know what's going on exactly. God, I release it to you. God, I feel so many hearts and hands and burdens and worries going up. In our impossible situations we're going to trust that you have bread that doesn't spoil and you have wine that doesn't run out. You are what we need.
You can put your hand down, and I want to give an invitation to anybody today who has never said yes to Jesus. You've never made that decision, that all important decision to make him the Lord of your life. He didn't just come to feed. He didn't just come to preach. He came to die on cross. The bread and the wine and these miracles pointed to the reality of his body broke and his blood shed for you and for me. And the power of the Resurrection, that empty grave, a reminder of the power that God wants to live in us to give us power over death. To give us power and forgiveness over sin. To give us hope in a hopeless situation. If you would, today, like to accept that salvation, to open your heart up to him as Lord, to turn from your sin, to turn to him in faith, He will come into your life. So we're going to pray a prayer in a moment. I'm going to ask that if you're ready to give your heart to Jesus, you would pray it out loud after me. Mean it in your heart but say it with your mouth so you can hear yourself giving control of your life over to Jesus. Church pray with us:
Dear God, I know that I'm a sinner. Please come into my life. Forgive me. I turn from my sin. I turn to you in faith. Please be my Savior and my Lord. In Jesus' name.