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Here Comes Manna From Heaven...Again!

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
September 9, 2022 12:00 am

Here Comes Manna From Heaven...Again!

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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September 9, 2022 12:00 am

Jesus gave His disciples supernatural and divine power on earth and commissioned them to go out and exercise that power in Israel. When they returned, the disciples were filled with awe and wonder, not at what Jesus did, but at what they did. Have you ever been tempted to do the same? Well, Jesus is about to give a needed and humbling lesson to these disciples, and to us today: when God works through us, God alone deserves the credit and the glory.

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Peter comes to the end of his life. He doesn't anywhere in his letters list any of the powerful things he did. I was the guy who healed that lame man from birth. Let me tell you, I was the guy who preached the very first sermon, and it was so powerful, three thousand people got converted. No, he writes this, clothe yourselves with humility, for God is opposed to the proud, but he gives grace to the humble. Jesus gave his disciples supernatural and divine power on earth. He commissioned them to go out and exercise that power in Israel. And when they returned, the disciples were filled with awe and wonder, not at what Jesus did, but at what they did. Have you ever been tempted to do the same? Well, Jesus is about to give a needed and humbling lesson to these disciples and to us today. Welcome to Wisdom for the Heart.

Steven Davey is in Luke 9 today with a message called, Here Comes Manna from Heaven Again. The newspaper reporter went to interview a successful entrepreneur who was worth twenty million dollars. He finally got a sit down interview with him and asked him, How'd you do it? How'd you make all that money? Twenty million dollars.

The man replied, Well, I'm glad you asked. Actually, it's an amazing story. You see, when my wife and I got married, we started out with virtually nothing. In fact, we only had five cents between us. I took that nickel and went down to the grocery store and I bought an apple and I shined it up and sold it for ten cents.

Well, what'd you do then? The reporter asked. The man said, Well, I went and I bought two more apples, shined them up, and I sold them for twenty cents. And the reporter, you know, is excited. He was thinking, This is going to be a great story when he wrote it up. He asked, you know, excitedly, Well, then what happened? And the man said, Well, then one of my relatives died and left me twenty million dollars. And over the years, kind of interesting when you think about human nature, he found it more interesting to think about that nickel and a couple of apples and the gift he'd been given.

And over the years, he had convinced himself that he'd done something forgetting that he had received everything. See, the disciples have just returned from their first tour, their first global impact trip. It was regional. They preached. God's son gave them miraculous power, apostolic power, which would be used temporarily in this day to validate their ministry and authenticate them as messengers from God. They had experienced several weeks of amazing activity and incredible miracles.

It just flowed from their hands. It was, as we said, it was an exciting time and it will go straight to their heads. I invite you back to Luke's gospel. Let's find out what happens next. I'm frankly convinced that if a reporter had shown up about now, they would have told the reporter about two apples and how they shined them up.

Frankly, it's more fun to talk about that apple you sold for a dime than what you've inherited and displayed that you didn't earn. In fact, before I dive in, I came across one author who put the problem of our human nature and pride in a humorous manner. He wrote, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of that donkey and everyone was waving palm branches and singing praises, do you think that donkey ever had the idea it was for him? Well, after kindly pulling the disciples away after this trip to debrief and instruct them, we're now in verse 10 where they're about to be taught, let's back up to that verse as that sets the stage as Jesus is about to teach them lessons in humility as you serve the Lord. Verse 10, on their return the apostles told him all that they had done, note that, all that they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida. When the crowds learned it, they followed him, that is, they raced around the edge of that lake.

They found him. He welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing. Now, the day began to wear away and the 12 came and said to him, send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to finalizing and get provision for we are here in a desolate place.

Don't miss that. The disciples are now telling Jesus what to do, how to do his ministry. They're veterans.

They've been on one trip. They now know when it's time to stop preaching and send people away. You know, Lord, wrap up that last point and let's let people go.

That'd be the right thing to do. See, they know better than Jesus. What they don't know is that Jesus is about to miraculously feed them. In fact, Jesus is about to demonstrate the only miracle that will be recorded in all four gospels apart from or other than the resurrection.

It's this event that's about to take place and they probably all recorded it. Certainly, the spirit of God wanted them to, but I'm convinced they never got over it. Now, if you combine the clues of the four gospel accounts, we'll stay in Luke for time's sake, but if you combine the clues, you discover this is taking place right around four o'clock in the afternoon on an afternoon in mid-April. John's account tells us it all begins by Jesus asking Philip this question, where are we to buy bread so that these people may eat? But he said this, he asked this to test him. Now, what was he testing? Was he testing the level of faith in his miraculous ability? Well, then they all failed the test. It never crossed their mind that Jesus would perform a miracle of this scale.

They never thought about that for a moment. Well, was Jesus testing their financial skill, their management ability? I evidently, Philip thought so. He asks specifically, Philip, where can we go and buy enough bread to feed these people? Well, why ask Philip? Well, because Philip is from this hometown.

This is where he's from. He knows the region. He knows where the bakery is. He knows the market. He knows the price of bread.

And I love it because Philip immediately thinks that Jesus is serious. So he gets out his notepad and a pencil and he, okay, let's see, we got 5,000 men plus women and children, multiply that by the cost of bread, divide that by 10 if everybody gets a little bite. Okay, Lord, I got it. Verse 7, 200 denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little bit. I mean, if they took a little bite, still wouldn't be enough. In other words, if we have one year's annual average salary in this generation, one year, not enough.

It won't work. So he's counting every penny and he just can't come up with enough change. It reminded me of those days when I'd look for change under the car seat and in the cushions of the couch. You remember those days?

Maybe you're there right now. I remember those days in seminary where Marcia and I would collect to see how much change we had. We'd come up with just enough and I'd go down the stairs of the apartment into the little laundry area and I'd have enough to buy one Dr. Pepper and we'd split it.

Three sips for me, one sip for her. Maybe you're wondering right now, how's the Lord going to provide? See, that's exactly where Jesus is leading his disciples to the point where they can't figure it out. And I think he is smiling to himself as Philip is doing the math.

He's got to figure it out. It's going to take 200 denarii to feed this crowd. Luke says that Jesus simply responds here in verse 13 and he said to them, I love this, you give them something to eat.

You give them something to eat. Now remember the context. I think he's saying, you guys are the miracle workers. You guys did amazing things with your hands. You've been telling me about it. That's all you've been talking about. You had this amazing trip.

You've been enamored with things that come from your hands. So why don't you go ahead and you feed them. You're ready for this. That was a shocking command. John's gospel tells us that they'd found a boy's lunch, five loaves, two fish, which lets me know they've been scouting around while Philip's been doing the math and this is all they can come up with. So when Jesus tells them to feed the crowd, they are frankly speechless. They're just kind of sort of stammering out verse 13.

We have no more than five loaves and two fish unless we are to go and buy enough food for all these people. They are suddenly aware of their inability. They are suddenly confronted with the fact that all they've really done is shine a couple apples. Beyond that, it's everything they received and Christ confronts them with that. All the power that they had demonstrated, they're reminded immediately, oh, we inherited that.

They're so overwhelmed with this command and with this crowd that they've completely overlooked the Creator. See, Jesus is going to teach them some lessons in humility which will become the foundation for Spirit-empowered, God-honoring service no matter what you do. He's going to teach them they have nothing to offer people apart from him. He's going to teach them that their hands are useless unless his hands are involved. He's going to teach them they have no power apart from his power and provision. He's going to teach them that their inadequacy happens to be the perfect opportunity to reveal his sufficiency. John's Gospel account gives us the detail that Andrew was actually the disciple who had found the little boy's lunch.

He also tells us, though, that when Andrew handed it to Jesus, he apologized. And he said, oh, but what is this among so many? I mean, silly me giving you this little lunch.

What is this to feed such a crowd? Well, what am I thinking? I think the other disciples are also saying, Andrew, what are you thinking? Give the boy back his lunch.

Too late. It's now in the master's hands. There's another lesson to learn and that is that Jesus can use whatever you give him.

Don't miss the obvious. Whatever you give him. A little boy's lunch?

This is about to become the most famous brown bag lunch in church history. But the amazing thing here isn't that Jesus will do so much with so little. I love the fact that he chooses to use the little that we give him and he does so much.

And I'm glad for that. Whatever you put in his hand, don't say, well, Lord, you know, I mean, what's this? So little. What am I thinking?

Who am I kidding? I have so little experience. I have so little talent. So little ability.

No, no, you just put it in the master's hands and you let him do the multiplying in whatever way he wants to whatever degree and he gets all the credit. I want to take a closer look at this lunch. It included barley bread, John tells us. This is the common bread of the poor. It was less desirable in texture and taste than wheat bread. Most often this was fed to cattle.

So this gives us a little insight into the poverty level of this boy. The word translated that Luke uses for loaves isn't like the loaf of bread you buy that's already sliced. This would fit in the palm of your hand. It would have been flat pancake-like little palm-sized pieces of bread. We're also told that he had two fish.

John helps us here because he uses, he clarifies, he uses the word apsaria. That's a small fish like a minnow or a sardine. It was common in this day for people to add spices and relish and marinate these little fish to go along with rather bland meals among the common people.

So basically this little boy had some pickled fish to help his rough, coarse, dry barley bread go down. Now Jesus gives another command to his disciples, verse 14. Have them sit down in groups of about 50 each. And they did so and had them all sit down. Now remember, Jesus has told them to feed them. He hasn't retracted that.

He hasn't taken it back. And they're just sort of standing around looking at each other, you know, the wine or watch or spit or what. And then he says, go have them sit down. And the wonderful thing here to me, lost on the English reader, but the word sit is not the typical to sit down. It's the word recline they used when they're called to the table to eat.

They would recline in that manner, low tables propped up on an elbow. Jesus is telling them, go ahead and get them all ready to recline and get prepared for a meal. What meal? Tell them to come to the table. They're going to eat. You're going to feed them.

He gets them even closer to their precipice, which I'm sure panicked them. They're going around getting everybody collected. We're going to eat. What do we have? I don't know. We're going to eat.

Recline. The Gospel accounts tell us this crowd is around 5,000 men. Add to this the women and children. This miracle really isn't.

And you have an outline in your Bible, the heading, which isn't inspired and certainly miss it here. This isn't the feeding of the 5,000. It'd be more accurate to say the feeding of 15,000.

Can you imagine? What are we going to feed 15,000 people? Now there's another reason why I believe Jesus said everybody recline before he performs the miracle. And it's so that they can all now watch what happens.

And at first I think the crowd would have been just as mystified as the disciples were terrified. They've been called to dinner. It's been announced there's a meal coming. So now they can look at Jesus and they can see he doesn't have mountains of bread stacked around him. He doesn't have a boatload of fish that's just been delivered. You know, fishermen around there collecting, getting it all ready.

It's just him with his little lunch. They're about to watch a stunning miracle and Jesus wants them to know this is undeniable, this is tangible, this is physical, this is edible. As one author put it, I love the way he put it, he said, there are no fish up Jesus' sleeve. There's no trickery.

They won't be able to deny it. But I do want you to know that there's a deeper purpose, a prophetic purpose behind this miracle. The rabbis of Jesus' day were teaching that when the Messiah came he would reproduce the miracle of the manna in the wilderness. The Messiah would deliver manna from heaven again. This is about here to answer the age-old question delivered by the psalmist in chapter 78, will God prepare a table for us in the wilderness? And Jesus is essentially saying, yes, I will.

I can. I can bring manna again. By the way, the crowd is going to be so blown away by this miracle. John tells us that when he finishes this, they come forward to crown him king.

You are our king. He has delivered manna in the wilderness again. And again, for the sake of time, I'll just simply mention that what he does next, the other gospels record is he preaches to them that he is the bread of life. He's not only delivering manna, he is manna from heaven.

Now I want you to notice verse 16. After taking the five loaves and two fish, he looked up to heaven and set a blessing over them. And he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd.

The gospels tell us that he alternates. He continues breaking that bread, that fish. Luke's construction here means he kept on. He kept on breaking and they kept on delivering. He kept on breaking and they kept on delivering.

We're not told how. We don't know if the disciples used their outer tunics and Jesus, you know, just cascaded from his hands into their tunics and then they walked among the crowd and people were reaching in and getting all that they needed, all that they wanted, all that they could. And then, you know, the tunics empty and they'd run back and Jesus would just fill it all up again. I wonder if they're getting the point that Jesus is the supply and they're just providing the service. And that's true to this day, church. Jesus is the originator. He is the creator.

We're just the courier. The disciples had gotten all caught up in what their hands had accomplished and Jesus is reminding them that their hands are empty unless he fills them and he kept filling them. He's literally, by the way, creating bread and fish. He's bringing into existence basket loads of bread, freshly baked, wouldn't be surprised if it was warm, and fish. The implication is he's even created the spices that marinated it bypassing all that was involved so that they would have this relish to go with their barley bread. He is the Lord of all creation. Colossians 1 tells us, for by him all things were created. Let me give you a fresh illustration that I am Lord of creation. Here's bread and fish. Now, I did the math.

I could be wrong. I did an average of five since the boy was going to eat five, but you're talking about over 100,000 pieces. It's just literally flowing from his hand. Luke tells us now in verse 17 that they all ate and were satisfied. The word he uses for satisfied is significant. It means to literally fatten, to fill up. This is the Greek term used for fattening animals with feed. The rancher or the farmer would bring them into the corral and let them gorge on food. That's why you take your kids to Golden Corral today. It's a perfectly named restaurant where they can gorge until they can eat no more. Evidently, the Lord's okay with that periodically because he doesn't just make enough. They are stuffed. They've gotten all they could want to eat.

They're completely full. And that's significant to the miracle. And I don't want to bore you with all the liberal skeptics out there, but I'll point out that what they say is that this is impossible for Jesus to do. One skeptic train of thought is that what he did was offer them communion, just a little bit of peace.

Think of how long that would have taken. Never mind there isn't any wine, but a little peace. Then there are skeptics who say that Jesus could not have done this, so what happened was this little boy was so convicting and offering his lunch that they all brought out the lunches that they had packed and they just shared it with everybody and they had a wonderful time.

That's so sweet. Luke demolishes that theory. Verse 17, they all ate and were satisfied and what was leftover was picked up.

What was it? Twelve baskets of, note this, broken pieces. It had all come from his hand. They weren't sharing each other's lunch. This was all from Jesus. And now you've got one basket of leftovers for each of the 12 disciples. They get to eat too. If we'd been the Lord, they might have gone hungry for the night. They get to eat and every time they eat, they're reminded of their inadequacy and the Lord's sufficiency. Alexander McLaren wrote on this text a hundred years ago, they're going to remember they always found his hands full whenever they came back to him with their hands empty. Did they learn this lesson of humility and service?

I believe they did. In fact, when the Apostle Peter comes to the end of his life, he writes a couple of inspired letters we call First and Second Peter and he doesn't anywhere in his letters list any of the powerful things he did. I was the guy who healed that lame man from birth. I was the guy who spoke in a language I never studied. Let me tell you, I was the guy who preached the very first sermon in church history and it was so powerful, 3,000 people got converted. He's not shining any apples.

No. He writes this, clothe yourselves with humility for God is opposed to the proud but he gives grace to the humble. See, the one you end up talking about, the one you end up referring everything to, the one who deserves all the credit and all the glory and all the praise is your supplier, your creator, your king. This lesson is called Here Comes Manna from Heaven Again. In addition to equipping you with these daily Bible lessons, we also have a magazine that we publish. Stephen deals with a different topic each month and helps you think biblically about real life issues. Seth Davey contributes a daily devotional guide that you can use to remain grounded in God's Word every day. I'm mentioning this because we want to send you the next three issues as our gift. Visit wisdomonline.org to sign up. You can also call us each weekday at 866-48-BIBLE. Stephen will continue through this series from Luke next time. Be sure and join us for more wisdom for the heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-27 21:27:09 / 2023-02-27 21:36:13 / 9

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