“On Your Mark”
Get to Know Him (Chapter 6 Verses 30-44)
At this juncture Jesus actually questioned Philip as to the feeding of the people (John 6.5-7). In order to test his disciples. Alas they had no answer to the need (vv35-36), except to release the people in order for them to buy food before it was too late. However Jesus throws the ball back into their own court, you give them something to eat (v37). Now they have no food, and if Jesus insists they must give the people some food, they must have a supply of some sort? I mean would Jesus instruct them to feed the folk if that were impossible? But from what resource? They have been taught so much, accomplished so much, yet they are still so unspiritual, dull-witted. By what power did they heal? By what power did they cast out demons? By what power did they preach the gospel of repentance and faith (Mark 6.8-13)? By the power of Jesus Christ, who stood there before them and commanded them to feed the people. And they go on to speak hopelessly about wages and bread (v37b). Jesus presents them with an impossibility in order to make them think about the one able to perform the impossible, himself (Luke 1.37; Matthew 17.20).
The fact is there are two miracles here (vv38ff), the way Jesus orders and controls such a vast number of people so easily, and of course the feeding itself. A handful of food and hundreds and hundreds of people. The Lord gives thanks for the food, should we do less with ours (Acts 27.35; 1Timothy 4.4-5)? The meal was blessed and the people were fed satisfactorily, with food to spare. Even when food is provided miraculously there is to be no waste (v43). Without counting women and children there were five thousand there (v44), making this a miracle of outstanding proportions. What did the disciples think as they watched the people eat their meal in that early evening situation? A need to elevate their sights? To recognize and rest their faith in the true character of God in Christ in their midst. A Church’s or believer’s faith will never rise higher than their conception of God. Not to trust him after all they had heard and seen was pure libel against the Lord of heaven (1John 5.10). The cure? To trust and know even more of him (Job 22.21). How? Through the Spirit and word of God (Romans 10.17). That is the way faith comes and is increased. With humility, with sincerity, with minds and hearts open to the Spirit of God, prayerfully digesting and meditating on his every precious word.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)