The Amazing Provision of Jesus – Luke 9:10-17
Pastor Doug Klein
Is Jesus really more than enough for us in every area of our lives? I remember an older college president who had been wrestling with blindness say to graduating seniors; “You will never know that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.” I remembered being so impacted by the power of that statement and wondered how many students grasped it. The feeding of the 5,000 is a reminder of the provision of the Gospel and the glory of Christ as our gift that keeps on giving.
The first principle is 1.) The welcoming provision. Luke 9: 10-11.
We have often sung the chorus in worship “We Welcome You Lord.” And that’s an important thing to do. But upon reflection, it’s a much greater theological truth that God continually welcomes us into his presence through the Gospel. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20). What a beautiful example of the welcoming nature of the Kingdom. The Bible reminds us that those who were far away have been bought near.
So Jesus uses a remote setting mindful of the wilderness of God’s ongoing provision to teach the crowd about His ongoing provision. In the Old Testament wilderness, God provided His people with manna from heaven and water from the Rock. The same thing is happening in the feeding of the 5,000. The Creator God provides miraculously for those who seek Him.
I can imagine just how tired and exasperated the disciples must have been after a busy Mission expedition. The sun was going down and they were in a desolate place. Why bring all these people out into the wilderness without adequate provision? And besides, we are too worn out to deal with tons of people. But Jesus came for folks like this and for the people we encounter in our own lives.
But let’s also think about it from the perspective of the crowd. They had made the long journey into a desolate area only because they wanted to be around Jesus. Christ rewarded their seeking with an incredible meal. God responds to those who diligently seek Him. Jesus welcomed the crowd with a most generous provision. He is a welcoming Savior. “Come unto me all who are heavy laden and I will give you my rest.”
We can also take away a caution from the story. Many of the people in the story turned out to be only interested in his miracles and not his identity. Bethsaida, the site of the feeing, was one of the cities cursed by Jesus for unbelief.
The second principle is 2.) The impossible test of faith. Luke 9:12-13.
Jesus led the disciples into a desolate area for a reason. He wanted them to learn some vital lessons of faith. There were no practical solutions to the predicament. That’s where faith really comes in. Jesus knew that their faith was still very weak and He was preparing them for much bigger things in the future. How do we rely on the Lord when all of our resources run dry? How do we rely on the Lord when we are tired and worn out, having nothing left to give to anyone? How strong is our faith when the day of trouble comes? I have always loved the admonition given by God in Jeremiah 12:5 concerning the challenges we will yet face in the future.
The LORD Answers Jeremiah
5 “If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you,
how will you compete with horses?
And if in a safe land you are so trusting,
what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?
We have said many times that we really don’t grow in our faith apart from the wilderness. This is where we meet God and begin to develop real faith. This is where we find His promises to be true.
This is where we learn to rely on Christ for provision. Jesus instructed His disciples to give them something to eat. He knew that the disciples’ response would be filled with fear and excuses. Yet, He wanted them to face their impossible situation by the grace of God.
The third principle is 3.) The overflowing satisfaction. Luke 9:14-17.
This is an extraordinary miracle that only the Creator God of the universe could bring about. It is stunning in its scope. But Christ has a very specific way of working in every situation. He knows exactly what He is doing. The crowd ate a scrumptious meal and were deeply satisfied. And there was a great amount of overflow after everyone had eaten. Isn’t that just like our Lord?
The Compassion of the LORD
55 “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;
and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
3 Incline your ear, and come to me;
Jesus gives the bread to give to the disciples to distribute to the crowd. He is still working the same way in our lives. We are entrusted with the distribution of the Gospel and the blessings of the Kingdom of God. We preach the Gospel with our lives and often use words. But, they are words of blessing and salvation. As we feast on Christ in our lives and draw life from him, we experience the same satisfaction. There is no greater satisfaction than becoming the person He has called me to be.
This story of the miracle creates a deeper yearning in our hearts for more and encourages us to see our future. C.S. Lewis reminds us that we live in the shadowlands. Every experience of provision, beauty and grace is but a picture of the true reality that is yet to come. Our life now is but the shadowlands. What a picture of the joy of being filled with Jesus and possessing the very life of God. He fills our soul with overflowing. And there is plenty left over for another day. Let us eat from Christ and let him fill our soul with joy.
Faith Presbyterian Church
October 2, 2016