Christ in the Time of Need
Christ in the Time of Need
Jesus confronted every need known in the human family. He did not avoid the needs that come to the family, but
rather welcomed an opportunity to face them. This includes the physical needs that so many in the family feel at
this time. Jesus knows about hunger and poverty.
It was as Jesus faced these needs that His disciples began to learn who He was. Herod had raised a question
about His identity, but instead of responding to the ques¬tions of Herod Jesus just continued His ministry of love.
The miracle of the loaves and fishes is an example of this. We need to learn this lesson. Whenever we find
ourselves in a time of need, we have an opportunity to learn something new about our Lord. It may not always be
new, but it will always bring a fresh insight into His identity and sufficiency for all of life.
This is the only miracle performed by our Lord that found its way into all four accounts of His life. This indicates
that it made a deep impression upon the early disciples. It came during a time when He was seeking some rest for
Himself and His disciples. It also came as the climax of His ministry in Galilee. From this point onward in His life,
things begin to turn toward the fateful climax in Jerusalem.
What do we learn about Christ in the time of need in this text? Since some of us are in such a time of need, this
could be important.
I. CHRIST IS CONCERNED IN THE TIME OF NEED.
The situation is well known. A rather large company had followed Jesus into a rather remote region. There were
five thousand men plus the women and children. They were basically poor people who lived without the
necessities of life much of the time. Many of them had rarely ever eaten a full meal. Hunger was a way of life for
them. However, even if they had money, in this remote region there was no place for this many people to
purchase food. The day had passed so quickly as they listened and watched the ministry of Jesus that the people
had not realized their situation.
In Luke's account it was the disciples who first became aware of the problem. They came to Jesus with a request
that He send the crowd away since the day was fast passing away. They reminded Jesus that they were in a very
remote region that it would be difficult for the people to find help. The primary concern of the disciples was to get
rid of the problem. They knew that the people would not leave unless Jesus sent them on their way. Jesus stands
in contrast to his good disciples. His concern is different from their concern.
A. He is concerned with the WHOLE man.
This incident illustrates the nature of our Lord's concern. Even though He had deliberately come to this remote
region in search of some rest, when the crowd appeared uninvited, Jesus "welcomed" them. He received them with
warm reception. He immediately began to express concern about the needs He saw. He began to speak to them of
the "kingdom of God"....this expressed His concern about their spiritual needs. He began to heal their sick... this
expressed his concern for their physical needs. Then when it became obvious that they were in need of food ... He
expressed concern for their material need. The concern of Jesus includes all of the needs of man.
The concern of Jesus was unconditional concern. This group of people did not evoke compassion from our Lord
because they were morally or spiritually superior to some other group. Their only qualification to be the object of
His concern was that they had a need. Is this not a source of encouragement to us? Whether we deserve it or not,
if there is a real need in our lives, He is concerned.
B. He is concerned with an active concern.
So many expressions of concern we hear are not accompanied by any action. Instead of expressing concern and
sending the group on their way, Jesus began to take actions to meet the need. His first step was to make His
disciples responsible. "You give them something to eat." This brought a protest from them as they said, "We have
no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people." But then, Jesus called on
them to do what they could. He asked them to get the people seated as though they were going to feed them, and
to bring to Him whatever provisions they might have. In this case it was only five small loaves and two small fish.
This is characteristic of our Lord's concern. It is always active. He moves toward the need with action.
It is not uncommon for you to feel like no one cares when you find yourself in a time of need. It is not uncommon to
find that the human beings you meet do not really care that much. They may express words of genuine concern,
but they will send you on your way to handle your problem all alone. All they give you is words. There is a
temptation to project this same kind of response on to the Lord Himself. But this you can know: Jesus Christ is
concerned about the need that is in your life! He acts to meet our needs.
II. CHRIST IS COMPETENT IN THE TIME OF NEED,
The actions taken by Jesus in the time of need will always be competent to meet the need. This is the primary
significance of this incident in the life of Jesus. It demonstrates that He not only cares, but that He is able to meet
A. His power is sufficient.
This is a unique manifestation of power on the part of our Lord. Even though none of the Gospels really give us
some of the details we might like to have, they do give us some insight into the greatness of His power. They
brought to Jesus the loaves and the fishes. From the Gospel of John we know that these were actually the lunch
of a boy in the crowd. The loaves were about the size of our hamburger buns, only much thinner. The fish were
rather small as well. Jesus held them in His hands as He blessed the Father. Actually Jesus expressed gratitude to
the Father just like the father in a family. Then He began to break the loaves and the fishes until the whole crowd
had been fed. The disciples took the bread and fish from his hand and distributed it to the crowd.
This was a demonstration of His creative power. This was the work of a Creator. This was not the work of restoring
something to wholeness, or bringing someone back from the realm of the dead. This was the work of creation
itself. It was a revelation to His disciples that one greater than Moses was in their midst. They would be reminded
of how God had used Moses to bring manna to the people in the wilderness but there was never an indication that
Moses created the manna. He just announced its arrival and explained its source. But the indication here is that
the bread and the fish that fed the crowd actually came from the hand of Jesus Himself.
Why are we so slow to believe that Jesus Christ is competent to meet our needs? Is He not still the great Creator
God that was revealed in this incident?
B. His provisions are sufficient.
That which His power provided was more than enough. Luke indicates that all of the men ate until they were
satisfied. They were "filled." When you consider the size of the crowd this was an impressive demonstra¬tion of
power. Indeed, to have so provided for even ten men would have been a mighty demonstration of power.
Each of the Gospels indicates that there were twelve baskets of bread and fish left over. These were not scraps
gathered from the ground, but were rather unserved portion left in the baskets when everyone was fully satisfied.
Each of the twelve Apostles left the scene with a basket full of food. While these were not large baskets, but the
kind of basket you would carry on a journey to hold your food, this is an indi¬cation of the way our Lord works. His
provisions are always generous and sufficient.
I hope we will be a better follower of our Lord than this crowd. While they were ready to receive the physical
provisions of the Lord in such abundance, when He offered them spiritual provisions on the next day, they quickly
turned away from Him. The next day, according to the Gospel of John, He told them, "I am the bread of life. He who
comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst." This was a bold affirmation that His
provisions are sufficient to meet all of the needs of life.
C. His Person is sufficient.
This was the part that the crowd was not ready to receive. What Jesus can do is not nearly important as Who He
is. We need Him more than we need what He can do. What He can do will meet the temporal need of your life, but
Who He is will meet the eternal need of your life. This is not to discount the sufficiency of His power and
provisions. He is able to meet all of our needs, but to have Him is the most important thing of all.
You will discover in your time of need that He is competent to meet every need of your life.
What is the need in your life today? Could it be that God has allowed this need to come into your life so that you
might make a great discovery? Could this need become a point of revelation to you? I believe that it could. I chose
to look on every need I have as an opportunity for Him to reveal Himself to me in some fresh way. It is my
responsibility to put what resources I have at His disposal, and then watch Him demon¬strate that He cares and
that He is competent to meet every need of life. Blessed be His name! It is worth experiencing the need just to get
to know Him better!