Faithlife Sermons

The Feeding of the Five Thousand (John 6:1-15)

The Seven Signs  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Announcement (JW)

Preparation for Worship

Call to Worship

Hymn 1

Prayer of Invocation

-Almighty and sufficient God
-The only self sufficient being
-You possess infinite wisdom, goodness, and power
-You are all sufficient for us
-For you offer us true happiness in Christ even in the midst of this worlds greatest straits and difficulties
-We are blessed to come before you as Chrsit died for us
-as he teaches us true holiness, he has even taught us to pray, saying
LORDS PRAYER

OT reading in Numbers 11

Our OT lesson comes from the book of Numbers. In chapter 11, we see a grumbling people before a holy God as he offers them true manna from heaven. Our God offer us great provision in the Lord Jesus christ, and often we are stuck in our own earthly thinking and fail to enjoy the blessings of God in this life.

11:1 And the people complained in the hearing of the LORD about their misfortunes, and when the LORD heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp.

2 Then the people cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the LORD, and the fire died down.

3 So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the LORD burned among them.

4 Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat!

5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic.

6 But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”

7 Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like that of bdellium.

8 The people went about and gathered it and ground it in handmills or beat it in mortars and boiled it in pots and made cakes of it. And the taste of it was like the taste of cakes baked with oil.

9 When the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell with it.

10 Moses heard the people weeping throughout their clans, everyone at the door of his tent. And the anger of the LORD blazed hotly, and Moses was displeased.

11 Moses said to the LORD, “Why have you dealt ill with your servant? And why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me?

12 Did I conceive all this people? Did I give them birth, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a nursing child,’ to the land that you swore to give their fathers?

13 Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me and say, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.’

14 I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me.

15 If you will treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my wretchedness.”

Here ends our OT lesson and this is the work of God.

Confession of Sin

-Oh lord we are often like the grumbly Israelites that complain about the blessing you give us.
-We are guilty of grumbling this week against you.
-we are a discontent people that often despise your providential will.
-You have done so much for us and yet we look back to our bondage to sin like the Israelites bondage to Egypt.
-we sometimes long for the days of sinfulness and neglect your graces in our lives
-Yet you have spare not your own son for us.
-we are ungrateful and in great need of your continued grace in our lives.

Confession of Faith

Offering

Pastoral Prayer

Civil Realm

-Mayors in the shoals
-Prosperity and order and peace in our community
-Freedom to worship the triune God

Salvation of Sinners

-We pray for michael Cody as he transition to South Africa. We pray for the lost in that country.
-That they might come to a knowledge of the truth.
-Use your spirit now to prepare and soften the hearts of the people of south africa
-Bring salvation to those who do not know you

Mission of the Church

-We pay for purity of witness in the PCA
-WE pray against mission drift
-We pray the PCA continues to understand her mission of preaching Christ to this dying world
-Be with Mr. Chappell as he fuctions as the Stated clerk of our denomination
-We pray that his service bulsters faithfulness to your scripture and the WCF
-As he errors, create in him humility to act rightly and above reporach

Sanctification

-We ptay for the Covenant Sunday School Community. Be with Mr. Ruggles as he leads this in this peculiar time.
-We pray that they might grow in holiness and understanding and give them your Spirit as you encourage them to worship you this Lords day

Sick and needy

-Ms. Griffin as she recovers from her bad fall
-Mrs. Holland as she recovers from surgery
-Mr. Senkbeil as he recovers from Covid

Sermon Text Introduction

Please turn with me in your bibles to John 6. We are continuing in our series on the seven signs in John. We have been discussing the miracles of John and their purpose for the church of Christ. We are often enamored by signs and miracles in the scripture and we often miss the forest for the tree. These signs and miracles are used in the bible to valid the messianic nature of Christ and they are to reveal the kingdom to come. In other words, they show us who the true son of God is and give us a taste of the kingdom that he offers. In John 6, we see the great and awesome Christ feed the multitude, and I hope you have the opportunity to be fed by him this morning.

6:1 After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias.

2 And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick.

3 Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples.

4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.

5 Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?”

6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.

7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.”

8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him,

9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”

10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number.

11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.

12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.”

13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten.

14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”

15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

Here ends the New Testament Lesson and this is the word of God.

Sermon Introduction

Have you ever read or watched something and completely missed the point? I I have grown to love brainy movies that keep you up long into the night trying to figure out what is going on. Maybe you’ve seen inception or interstellar. Where you have one perspective through the whole movie and then at the very end the plot twists so much that it dramatically shifts your entire perception of the events that took place in the story. I often love to rewatch those movies with my new found understanding and clarity.
The miracles of Christ are not mere spectacles, but these are brainy miracles that the crowds often misunderstand. Unfortunately, for the crowds they are tempted to an earthy perspective in search of earthy provision. And this morning, I hope to provide you with a plot twist that dramatically shifts your perspective from the earthly to the eternal.
We all know this story like the back of our own hands. We teach the content of it exhaustively to our children and it remains a beloved story in the christians church. Is there anything more to this story than the mere miraculous? Why does Jesus christ do this miracle? This story is deeper and more rewarding than you probably remember. And i hope today, in the midst of fish and bread, you taste the eternal provision of Christ for he is the bread of life.
Proposition: Look to the eternal Provision

Some only see earthy Provision(6:1-10)

6:1 After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias.

2 And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick.

3 Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples.

4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.

The lost only see the miracle worker (1-4)

As this text opens, we see the multitudes of people from Jerusalem follow Christ back to the area of Galilee. Christ’s name recognition has begun to grow. He has turned water into wine. He has overthrown the wickedness of temple commerce, and he has healed quite of few people in Jerusalem. People are enamored with the miracle worker. Even as the Pharisees see Christ as a threat, the crowds see a great miracle worker.
This is not all good though. For this crowd did not follow Christ to obey him or even to believe in him, instead they followed him for the spectacle and the possibility for their own personal miracle. For they have seen the great miraculous signs that he performed for the sick
This event takes place during the passover. John frames his entire book around the various passovers during the ministry of Jesus Christ. You know the history of the passover, It concerned the tenth plague of Egypt that freed the Israelites from their bondage. To be passed over by the Spirit, the Israelites must sacrifice a lamb and place its blood over their doorways. God saves those by the blood of the lamb. We know this points to Jesus Christ. From Moses To Christ. That is central to this passage. For in this passage we look for a second exodus. As this passover is celebrated, God feeds the Israelites as he did with manna in the wilderness wandering

The spiritual inadequacy of earthy provisions (5-10)

Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?”

6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.

7 Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.”

8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him,

9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”

10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number.

There is a problem that arises within this apostolic group. How could they feed this massive crowd that literally followed them from Jerusalem. The text tells us that 5,000 men were in the crowd. Many scholars assume these are combat aged men. Thus, there was likely over 20,000 people present to see this miracle worker do a spectacle. Jesus decides to use this as an opportunity to test the disciples. Though Christ already knows his solution.
The test takes aim at Philip. Phillip recounts that two hundred denarii worth of bread would not even offer this crowd a snack. A single denarii was a days worth of wages for most people. Oddly enough the most normal expense and most major expense in the home was food in the ancient world. Phillip is saying that 8 months of wages can’t even offer this type of a crowd even a snack. In other words, this is beyond the realm of earthly provisions. For they could no count on their own wealth to provide for this crowd.
Andrew offers another solution. He knows of a boy with five loaves and two fishes. Andrew knows this was ludicrously inadequate for the presented need when he says, “what are they for so many.” But despite the amount of food, Jesus and his disciples begin sitting people in preparation for a meal.
In seminary, Professors often ask questions that they expect you to get wrong. I remember my Old Testament professor was Lecturing on the end of Deuteronomy and asked, “does Moses ever get to enter the promised land.” You know Moses dies outside of the promised land and God told him that he could not enter because he struck the rock. We said “No.” Like many good students of the bible would say even in our congregation, but Moses does get to enter the promise land in the Lord Jesus Christ at the transfiguration in the Gospels. Christ offered a similar test for his disciples. He wants them to think outside the box for a moment and recognize his eternal lordship.
It is obvious, the disciples dont have the money, nor the access to the food needed to feed these people. And Jesus wants them, at this moment, to think eternally instead of earthly.
We can be challenged in the same way on this Lord’s day morning. We are tempted to only think in terms of earthly needs and solutions. We are all children of the enlightenment. We see to despiritualize as much as we can. And we deny in our daily habits and practices the supernatural. Christ is offering you an opportunity this morning to think and taste the supernatural. One of the greatest benefits our church can gain from thinking spiritually about the world is not only recognizing our own depravity, but also the forces of both the fallen world and Satan upon our church. Don’t be like those in the crowd that see only the bread and fish of the text, but look beyond the earthy and to the eternal provision of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Proposition: Look to the eternal Provision

The true bread is enough to supply your needs (6:11-13)

11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.

12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.”

Christ offers more than a snack(11-12)

Though the problem is great. Jesus Christ proves his messianic sufficiency. In a situation like this you might be tempted to take just a bit or snack. You may think of the philosophy of going to a wedding in the MS delta. They were grand affairs, but you always ate before going, because they really only offered delicious horderves. No, this crowd came hungry and ready to eat and they had their fill of fish and bread. They were as free to eat as much of the bread and fish as the wandering Israelites were free to eat manna and quail. And it seem that the miracle happened as they passed the basket. No matter how much was taken, more appeared. In Jewish custom they collected all the leftovers. Food was never to wasted. But saved fro another meal.

Christ offers us more than we imagine(13)

13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten.

As the passage continues, there are more leftovers than than the five loaves and two fish. In fact there were 12 baskets leftover. For Christ is enough to supply the needs for all twelve tribes of Israel. And it is at this point in the passage you begin to see the purpose of this sign. Jesus Christ is the sufficient Christ. We often see this passage and relate it to temporal sufficiency. That the Lord offers us our daily needs and necessities. That is certainly true, but he offers you much more than just your needs and necessities. He offers you everlasting life. Just a few shorts verses later in this exact chapter, The apostle John reveals to us the Jesus Chris is the bread of life. John is no dummy, he wants you to think of this miraculous sign to the statement of christ proclaiming to be the bread of life. Here is how Jesus interprets this great sign just a few verse later.

26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.

27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”

28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”

29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?

31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ”

32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.

33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

This is the meaning of this great miracle. Jesus comes from heaven to offer life to you. This miracle not only proves that he is the one that came from heaven, but it also shows us that in his eternal kingdom, you will only know life. You will know a life of unending abundance and provision. You will be eternally cared for by the father. The abundance and provision will be so great, you will not longer worry about overthrowing Rome. You will no longer worry about mortality. You will no longer worry about the things that currently plague our land. The life that Christ offers you this morning might at first might seem as insignificant as 5 loaves of cheap bread and a couple of fish, but in the wake of Eternity. God can use such mundane and ordinary means to bring you a life of unending provision. You may not see it in this life, but it is certainly promised in the life to come. COVID might harm both believers and unbelievers alike, but the believer in Jesus Christ has an infallible hope in the eternal sufficiency of Christ. For in Christ, you will not Hungar, In Christ you will not thirst, and in Christ you will not eternally die. You will know only life.
Proposition: Look to the eternal Provision

Earthy people misunderstand the miraculous sign (6:14-15)

14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”

The crowd rightly understands that Christ is a better Moses(14)

It was at this moment the crowds thought this man could do anything! He can transform water into wine, he can overturn a corrupted temple, he can heal the most infirm among them, and he can create provision out of thin air. He is the prophet-king of Israel. He was greater than even Moses.
This is no small thing to admit as the people of God. Moses was the greatest leader of Israel. When you thought of prophet in Israel, you thought of Moses. He was the fountainhead by which all prophecy flowed to Israel. He was the one who sat in the very presence of God and lead the people through the exodus and to the land of Promise. This was as common as our understanding of the greatest basketball player to ever live. Most Americans would agree that Michael Jordan is the GOAT. Moses was the Prophetic GOAT of Israel.
And now the people are proclaiming that this Christ is the one that Moses said would come after him and lead them through a second Exodus. This is where then begin to swerve into misunderstanding.

The crowd wrongly place greater significance on food and victory (15)

15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

For the second Exodus for the Jews was not freedom from their bondage to Rome or its governors. Rather the second Exodus is freedom from the dominion of Satan and Sin.
These jewish listeners could not fathom that reality. Instead, they could only see the right her and now. They could only see the food as food. They saw a king alright, but not the type of king they longed for on this earth.
They wanted an earthly king to save them from their earthy problems. These 5000 Jewish men, were ready to name Christ as King of Israel and begin a war with Rome like the Maccabean revolt just 150 years before. Believe it or not, Jesus had the potential guerrilla force of eager recruits will to serve him till death… for the right cause… This is nothing short of what Satan offers Christ in the wilderness temptations. It is a shortcut to glory that would save no one from death, but Christ himself.
Christ knew this as they declared him to be the great prophet-king of Israel. So what does our savior do? He withdraws to the mountains by himself. Even his disciples were left to search for him.
This is the truth, Jesus Kingdom is like no other kingdom. Jesus knew his kingdom would not triumph through siege or guerilla warfare, rather by dying and rising again. As Edmond Clowney once said,
He would go to Jerusalem not to wield the spear and bring the judgement, but to receive the spear thrust and bear the judgement.
In regards to the christian faith, we can be tempted to misunderstand the person and work of Christ. These Israelites were as ready to crown him king as some of us are ready to elect him as the president of America. Christ’s rule in our current age is not material, it is spiritual. He came in his first coming not to war with Rome, but to war with Satan and sin. We must be led to these things this morning. For sometimes what we expect or desire from Christ means something much different in reality.
You might expect God in this life to bless you with earthly riches, but he has greater riches in mind eternally
You might expect God to give you good health or a promotion at work, but he has a greater cure and status for you eternally
You might expect God to love you sheerly on how great of a person you are, but he see not you, but Christ
You might expect Jesus Christ to return, because of the state of 2020, but he might choose not to return for another 1000 years
You might expect much from God in the earhtly sphere and some of that is of course good, but let not your earthly troubles enable you to forget about the eternal provision of Christ.
Let not your earthly thinking disable you from seeing the true Prophetic and kingly Christ at work.
Be not so obsessed with this earth that you miss the kingdom of God.
Proposition: Look to the eternal Provision

Conclusion

There is a serious note in John 6 and Numbers 11. Jesus feeds the multitudes at the manna from heaven. Moses feeds the multitudes from the manna from heaven. In both of these chapters, people begin to grumble. They grumble at God for the provision that he offers them. Earthly minded people only want earthly provisions and blessing. its probably pretty easy to grumble about all sorts of things in 2020. I find myself grumbling more these days. I am sure you do too. The Lord has given us much reason not to grumble. Like the disciples we come to the church of christ asking what we must do to have life. We must feed upon the living bread. Look to the eternal provision of the Lord Jesus Christ. For he offers you all that you need to have life in him.

Hymn 146

Benediction

24 The LORD bless you and keep you;

25 the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;

26 the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

27 “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”

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