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Lessons from a Picnic - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
February 12, 2023 5:00 am

Lessons from a Picnic - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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February 12, 2023 5:00 am

This story ranks in the "top ten" of the most famous miracles of Jesus Christ. In fact this is the most famous of all His miracles as it alone is recorded by all four gospel accounts. But this is far more than a Sunday school tale. This extraordinary picnic was not just a free meal for five thousand folks; it provided lessons for both ancient and modern disciples. Here are four profound truths that emerge from this lakeside lunch.

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Jesus was asking this to Philip as a test, presenting to him what you and I would consider an impossible situation. This is impossible on a human level.

There's not a place around here that can accommodate these people. Somebody once said, when God is going to do something wonderful, he begins with a difficulty. And when he's going to do something very wonderful, he begins with an impossibility. This is very wonderful, and this is absolutely impossible.

Welcome to Connect with a Skip Weekend Edition. Author Stephen Lawhead wrote a story of a Celtic priest who was taken slave by marauding Norsemen. Now, one of the interesting scenes in that story is when this captive priest starts telling the Norsemen about Jesus. After relating how he turned water into wine and fed the 5,000, one of the Norsemen bellowed, now that would be a God worthy of believing it, if he can provide food and ale.

You know, that character wasn't too far off. One of the great reasons we can trust in God is because of the fact that he lovingly provides for us. We'll take a look at that famous story of the feeding of the 5,000 and what that reveals to us about God's character. But first, here's what we have for you this month at connectwithskip.com. We have an exciting resource to help strengthen your marriage so it can thrive no matter what your circumstances. It's The Marriage Devotional, 52 days to strengthen the soul of your marriage by Levi and Jenny Lusko.

And we'd love to send you a copy as thanks for your gift this month to grow the ministry of Connect with Skip. How do you figure out what's going on underneath your marriage? You ask about it. So when was the last time you've checked in with your spouse? And a little pro tip, Jenny and I, our marriage counselor, for what it's worth, she told us to never, ever, ever do the check-in during date night.

And this has been revolutionary for us. We used to just literally have a fight every single date night because that was our check-in. One of us would be dumb enough over appetizers to go, well, what's going on in your house?

Which is usually code for, please tell me the five things I'm doing wrong this week. You know what I'm saying? And so now, I'm like, I'm pushing the cauliflower away because I'm feeling hot and angry. And then we get in this big fight.

And she goes, oh, gosh, you're doing it wrong. Date night's joy. Date night's fun. Just keep it light.

Put a pin in stuff that's going to give you stress on the date night. But you got to have the check-in too. Great marriages are made, not born. And this devotional journey will be the encouragement your marriage, not just any marriage, needs to flourish. So we cling. We cling to God. We cling to our spouse. We cling to the local church because we're vines. And we want our marriage to be like a fruitful vine in the heart of our house.

In the marriage devotional, 52 Days to Strengthen the Soul of Your Marriage, Levi and Jennie will point you to God's Word and help you experience a depth and beauty you may have never thought possible. We'll send you a copy of this powerful resource, as thanks for your gift to expand Connect with Skip Heitzig to reach more people in major US cities. Yours for a donation of $50 or more. Just call 800-922-1888 or visit connectwithskip.com slash offer.

That's connectwithskip.com slash offer. Well, today we're going to begin chapter six of the Gospel of John. So if you'll turn there in your Bible, Skip Heitzig gets us started. We're about to read the story of a meal that Jesus provided that is the biggest meal found anywhere, certainly in the scripture. It is typically called the feeding of the 5,000.

But that's a little bit of a misnomer because Matthew gives us the notation that they were counting that day the men only besides women and children. So there were at least 10 upwards of perhaps 15,000 people and Jesus gave it to them absolutely free. It was a free lunch for those who were in need at the shores of Galilee.

This week I attended a conference, a senior pastor's conference in California and I decided to ride my motorcycle there and back. And on the way back I stopped and granted this little burger joint and as I was walking in the burger joint I noticed a sign on the door that said we no longer accept 50 or 100 dollar bills. It just sort of struck me that sign because I thought if I had a 100 dollar bill I probably wouldn't be eating in that little burger joint. But 2,000 years ago they didn't care where they were eating because most people were just barely subsisting at a poverty level and to have their needs met in any fashion was seen as a blessing. It's really a rare exception the story we read about. It's rare for this reason number one Jesus never ever gave money to anyone.

Number two he rarely gave food to people and when he did this is the occasion. But it's it's much deeper than just a feeding story, a picnic story. In fact it is the most famous miracle of all of his miracles and it's recorded in all four gospels. Did you know it's the only miracle Jesus performed that is covered by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?

All four of them include this miracle. But I don't know how many people really get it or understand the real significance of the feeding of the five or the 15,000. I think it's greatly misunderstood like the little boy who said my favorite story in the bible is of the multitude that loaves and fishes.

Well they're not loafing and fishing they were fed loaves of bread and fish for lunch. But what I want to do this morning is comb through verses 1 through 14 as we look at this story and and there are four principles based upon the four people groups that are here. There's the crowd, there's Philip, there's Andrew and there's a little boy. But I want to give it to you in terms not of personalities but principles. There's four big picture principles that all have to do with God's care, God's provision and God's work and they are found also in your outline and they are these. Problems don't escape God's view. Second perplexities test faith in God's power. Third principle is people are part of God's plan and finally provision is abundant in God's time.

Those are the four principles that emerge from this picnic. Now before we jump right into the story I want to sort of let you know that I take it as it is written. I see it as a bona fide miracle. That is John's point because he's highlighting who Jesus is unique from everyone else that he is God in a human body.

But some people amaze me when they write commentaries on this stuff. They feel like they got to help God out a little bit and rationalize the miracle and say well it probably didn't really happen that way. The way it really happened one commentary says is that everybody really brought their lunch that day but they were selfish. Nobody wanted to bring it out and eat it and have to share it with anybody and so Jesus saw a little boy with a few loaves and fish and with that wonderful warm Jesus smile he persuaded the little boy to take his lunch out and share it and that brought conviction to everybody and so they took their lunch out and they shared it and everybody ate.

Seriously that's how one person explains it. Another says that well Jesus and his disciples had already stored the food in advance in a cave upon this hillside where he brought them and at just the right time they sort of moved backwards toward the mouth of the cave and there's a couple disciples in there slipping loaves of bread out to Jesus under his arm and just kept coming and kept coming. Yeah okay okay if you want to believe that but it doesn't say that number one and I think it's much easier to just believe and say Jesus worked a miracle and for him it's like not a big deal right a miracle it's just simply enacting a whole higher set of laws that you than you and I know. I mean if I look on a tarmac at a 747 airplane I look at that big heavy beast and I say gravity says that thing ain't going anywhere but if you enact a couple of laws that can supersede the law of gravity like aerodynamics and propulsion thrust it'll supersede even the law of gravity and that heavy beast will fly across the world and so here is Jesus enacting a set of laws that might be not familiar to us but certainly he can traffic in them and he imposes that in human time and space so we begin in verse one and we go down to verse 14 and we'll take it principle by principle and here's the first one problems don't escape God's view verse one after these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee which is the sea of Tiberius Tiberius is the capital city of the region it was also called that by the Romans and then a great multitude followed him because they saw the signs which he performed on those who were diseased and Jesus went up on the mountain and there he sat with his disciples the Passover feast of the Jews was near 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 now one of the things John is sort of famous for writing in all of his writings is that beginning phrase of chapter six verse one after these things meta tauta in Greek after this the problem is he doesn't tell us after what or how long after what it's just after this now we notice that it's Passover a feast of the Jews in chapter five it also says that there was a feast of the Jews and either it was the feast of Passover which places this a year after chapter five or it's the feast of tabernacles which would place this six months after chapter five either way you have at least six months up to a year time difference between chapter five and chapter six which helps explain why there's so many people gathered around Jesus because by this time his popularity is soaring because of the signs the miracles the teaching which he had already performed in his earthly ministry so there's a great crowd but John gives us the notation as to why so many people were following Jesus now was this crowd following Jesus because they they wanted to hear what bible study he was teaching or some great truth would fall from his lips or because they just loved him so much no verse two tells us because they saw the signs that he performed on those who were diseased this is the reason Jesus was never all that excited about crowds at least he didn't gauge his ministry success by how many people were following that was never an issue with him because way back in chapter two when there were also crowds starting to form and it even says many believed in him when they saw the miracles that he did remember what John writes but Jesus did not commit himself to them he said did not commit himself to them did not commit himself to them because he knew what was in their heart so likewise this very crowd is following Jesus for selfish reasons they don't care about his words they simply care about his miracles they want more miracles in fact we don't have time to look at it today but toward the end of this chapter that this very crowd after Jesus begins to speak to them the bible tells us that many of them departed and followed Jesus no longer when they heard what he had to say so here is the crowd all excited about the miracles within one year from this passover by the next passover many people in that crowd will be the very one will be the very one shouting crucify him that's a fickle crowd William Barkley writes these words when we want comfort in sorrow when we want strength and difficulty when we want peace and turmoil when we want help when life has gotten us down there's no one so wonderful as Jesus then we talk to him and walk with him and open our hearts to him but when he comes to us with some stern demand for sacrifice with some challenge to effort with the offer of some cross to bear then we will have nothing to do with him when we examine our hearts it may be that we will find that we too love Jesus for what we can get out of him and when he comes to us with great challenges and demands we too grow lukewarm even resentful and hostile to this disturbing and demanding Christ have you ever met a person who's mad at God they're bitter at God they say you think oh yeah I follow Jesus once I was into it just like you are I've been into that stuff but now they're mad they're bitter because something happened you can fill in the blank death of a loved one lingering disease loss of a job whatever now they're bitter now they're mad and you look at that you go what happened I'll tell you exactly what happened unfulfilled expectations happened unfulfilled expectations in other words they were following Jesus on their terms only if you were to examine carefully you would find that person holds a theology that says they are Lord and Christ is the servant rather than Christ is Lord and I am his slave I am a servant there are people who follow Jesus for fun and profit and it always will affect the crash landing eventually the crowd they're following Jesus now having said that because that's what the text says the great thing I want you to notice is they have a physical need they're out away from away from really any of the towns they're out on the shores of Galilee in a very rural environment there's thousands upon thousands of them it says it's around Passover time Galilee's below sea level and really heats up by Passover so they're hot they're hungry they're thirsty and Jesus notices that and he's about to fix that he's about to tend to the need problems don't escape God's view verse 5 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 now it says he saw them he was seeing them come the word seeing is the Greek word theaomai theaomai we get the word theater from it it's the idea of sitting at a place for a prolonged period of time and looking in one direction so the word meant to notice to take notice of to really study hard and get an assessment of what was going on Jesus saw them coming and knowing the needs of the human body that we require replenishment and refreshment he was there to meet that need and in a moment we'll read he gives them a meal that's the great point I want you to notice this morning is that when it comes to problems they don't escape God's view and if you're a child of God and most of you are you're in a very special place of care by God even Jesus when he gave this sermon on the mount he made special notation that the father in heaven notices human need and cares for us let me remind you of it it's in Matthew chapter 6 verse 25 Jesus speaking therefore I say to you do not worry about your life what you will eat what you will drink or about your body what you will put on is not life more than food and the body more than clothing so even Jesus makes mention of the basic needs of the body food and clothing and shelter and then he goes on look at the birds of the air for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns yet your heavenly father feeds them are you not of more value than they have you ever seen a bird worry can you ever think of a time when you saw a bird in your backyard with its beak and its little claws going how am I going to pay the rent on the nest this week man this is tough you ever ever see that what are they doing they're chirping singing they never ever give it a thought okay now here's what I want you to connect he said look at the birds of the air yet your heavenly father feeds them not their heavenly father god isn't the bird's heavenly father he's their creator but he's your heavenly father so you get the implication if your heavenly father is caring about birds won't your heavenly father care about you as his son or daughter no bird was ever created in the image of god no bird is ever recreated in salvation in the image of christ no bird has ever promised heaven and eternal life but if you're god's child you are special care is given paul amplifies that in romans chapter 8 he who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all how will he not also along with him graciously give us all things i've always been fond of a truth expressed in a great little poem of two birds having a conversation it goes something like this said the robin to the sparrow friend i'd surely like to know why these anxious human beings rush about and worry so said the sparrow to the robin friend i think that it must be that they have no heavenly father such as cares for you and me jesus god notices our problems that's the first great principle problems don't escape god's view here's the second perplexities test faith in god's power don't you notice in life as you follow christ that you go through tests oh just a word up if you don't they come all the time and what i notice about god testing our faith is that he seems to test it beyond the very edge of it you know just at our limit he just sort of moves the marker just a little further than we're presently believing now why does he do that to stretch us to grow us you know jesus did everything for a reason and the picnic with the five thousand was no different it was just one more day of the day and it was just one more day of the day thousand was no different it was just one more way to demonstrate who he was a loving god come to earth in the flesh to help meet not only our physical needs but more importantly to provide for our spiritual need for nourishment we'll continue with our study next time but before we go here is Skip and lenya with a few thoughts about needs versus wants as demonstrated in today's text jesus always meets our needs i love that that the lord is there and and he knows us and he cares and he answers our prayers it's a question that comes up whenever we discuss needs versus wants however because jesus does provide all of our needs i need that stereo i need that car i think you tell a story um i don't know if you remember when you wanted your first car and how you're trying to tell the lord how do you use it for his glory right and i got a uh i paid like 37 for a car that was my brother's and it had um a primer gray on the outside because it was all bondo bondo and primer gray i mean it was a mess a bondo bomber and it had reverse and it had first gear no it had second and third gear in it it didn't have a first gear so it and it had no muffler but it got me around so you were trying to talk the lord into why you needed this vehicle what what was your rationale uh my rationale to the lord probably wasn't i could drive people places i could like take them to church and stuff so it's important for us to clarify the difference between needs and wants is it okay though to ask jesus for anything we do need or want you know i think of a couple things first of all david said i've never seen the righteous forsaken nor god's people begging bread he knows exactly what we need we don't know exactly what we need we think we do and i think it's okay to tell him or express anything at all to him um if you look at the prayers david prayed they were pretty gnarly and he felt safe and charles spurgeon said there is not a thought that i would not pour into the ears of a loving god you know there's there's just no limitation you can tell him anything it's safe with him you can ask him anything he can say no or he can say yes or he can say wait well thanks Skip and lenya and if you want a copy of today's message you can find it at connectwithskip.com or you can call us and order one at 1-800-922-1888 each copy is just four dollars plus shipping or if you have any questions or comments please write us at p.o box 95707 albuquerque new mexico 87199 we'll continue to explore what the picnic with the 5000 reveals to us about god next time so i hope you can set aside some time to join us right here in connect with Skip weekend edition a presentation of connection communications connection connecting you to god's never changing truth in ever-changing times
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-20 15:19:19 / 2023-02-20 15:27:51 / 9

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