Jesus feeds the 5,000 – 7-step lesson of the miracle

Grassy HillA grassy hillside in the Galilee region

Then Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat down with His disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near. Therefore Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?” This He was saying to test [prove] him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do. Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little.” John 6:3-7

Jesus and His disciples had retreated to the mountain after they received the news that John the Baptist had been beheaded.

When I heard that Pastor Chuck Smith had gone to be with the Lord, I was on my way to work. I had meetings to attend, phone calls to make, and talking points to write. As I drove, I remembered our time in Israel with Pastor Chuck, the times at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, and the changes in my life as a result of Pastor Chuck’s influence. When I got to the office, I shut my door to pray, grieve, and remember. I thanked God for Papa Pastor Chuck, opened my door, and attended to the needs of the day.

There was Jesus with His disciples, perhaps remembering the good that John the Baptist had done, grieving, and thanking God. Then, Jesus looked up, saw a need and taught the disciples how to attend to the need in a seven-step process:

1.  Possibility: Where’s the opportunity to fill the need?

Jesus asked Phillip, Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?”

2.  Recognize: Acknowledge our limitations.

Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little.”

3.  Surrender: It’s not much, Jesus, but this is what we have.

Andrew came to Jesus and said, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?”

4.  Obey: Take the next step even if you don’t know what Jesus will do.

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

5.  Observe: Watch Jesus at work.

Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted.

6.  Gather: Preserve the miraculous increase.

When they were filled, He *said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.”

7.  Reflect: Ponder the lesson in the miracle.

“Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.’ … Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. John 6:31-35

After the miracle, Jesus departed to the mountain alone, and the disciples left by boat. They retreated.

After a long day at work, I enjoyed remembering Papa Pastor Chuck with my husband, Keith.

There is a time of retreat and a time of ministering. Sometimes rest is interrupted by need.

My prayer for you:

Father, empower us to recognize the process and possibilities open to us as we allow You to work in this world. May we surrender all that we have to You, so that You can multiply it beyond our imagination. Bring us to that retreat with You and teach us the lesson of taking in Manna from heaven. We praise You, Father, for Your goodness and holiness.

Jesus singled out one man. “Do you want to be healed?”

churning water

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for 38 years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. John 5:2-8

Thirty-eight years of sickness. We’re not told what the man’s affliction is. He sees the waters stir, someone steps into the pool and steps out seeing, leaping for joy, healed.

There he lies waiting for the waters to churn. There he lies waiting for someone else to step into the waters and be healed.

Jesus singles out this man.

“Do you want to be healed?”

What kind of question is that? He’s there at the House of Mercy, sometimes translated House of Grace. He waits. He hopes.

Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.

What kind of answer is that? There’s only one miracle for one stir of the waters. In himself, he has no hope. He sees no other way to be healed, so he gives an excuse instead of “YES!”

I’ve been there, and I’ve seen others there. I thought that I had to do something to be worthy enough to be healed. I had to manufacture enough faith to be healed of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.

I really wanted to be healed. I tried miracle diets, miracle supplements, risky medications, detoxifications, and all sorts of miracle cures that people sell desperate people.

I was anointed with oil, prayed for, claimed healing, and pleaded with God.

I can’t step into the healing, and I have no one who can carry me to the healing. It matters no more. I just want more of you.

That’s when Jesus singled me out of the blind, broken, sick, and deaf waiting to be healed, touched my body, and told me to walk in health.

Are you waiting for a miracle, yet, hopeless?

My prayer for you:

Father, Thank You that you single out Your children and meet them as they wait for You. In the waiting is blessing. You are our hope. Give us more of You. Abide in us and enable us to abide in You. Renew our strength, renew our spirits, and renew our bodies. What a mighty God! What a gracious God! We are so blessed that You single us out and ask if we want to be healed! Thank you.

What if we lived in hope? 5 steps toward hope

Creation-Vatican

“If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas—no wonder my words have been impetuous. The arrows of the Almighty are in me, my spirit drinks in their poison; God’s terrors are marshaled against me. … “Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for, that God would be willing to crush me, to let loose his hand and cut off my life! Then I would still have this consolation—my joy in unrelenting pain—that I had not denied the words of the Holy One. “What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient? Do I have the strength of stone? Is my flesh bronze? Do I have any power to help myself, now that success has been driven from me? Job 6:10-13

The Bible has 180 references to hope. Some of those refer to the lack of hope like Job’s. I’ve been without hope. Although Job was with friends when he said this, he was lonely in his pain; he wanted God to cut off his life, so that he would not betray God.

Have you been hopeless?

I’ve found five things that have helped me when I was in the pit of despair.

  1. Call out to God. David writes in Psalm 30, a Psalm for the dedication of the temple, “Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit. … weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Frequently, David detailed his troubles to God. The troubles turned to praise once David saw how small his problems were in comparison with how big God is.
  2. Wait on God. “We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” Psalm 33:20-22 In this microwave society, I find it difficult to wait. Yet, in waiting for God to act, I learn to trust Him for His provision as the Israelites waited each morning for God to provide the mana.
  3. Choose  hope.“This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”  II Chronicles 20:15  If God Almighty is fighting my battle over disease and pain, then I choose to hope in Him.
  4. Consume the Scriptures. “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4 Two years before the Lord healed me of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, He impressed my husband, Keith, and me that He would heal me. We saturated our thinking with the Scriptures on healing and promises as well as books written about healing.
  5. Expect God to work.“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” Luke 1:45 When Mary entered the home of Elizabeth (6 months pregnant with John), John leaped in Elizabeth’s womb, and Ellizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and said this. Mary took God at His word. He said it; He would do it.

Call, wait, choose, consume, expect.

These are active verbs that anticipate a response, an action. Isn’t that what hope is all about?

What if we lived in hope–in anticipation of God working?

My prayer for you:

Father of hope and action, You are a gracious God, pouring out Your blessing upon Your children. May we cry out to you, waiting and choosing to hope in Your abundant love. Teach us to consume Your word and to expect Your promises in our lives. Thank You, Father, for all that You are, all that You do, and all that You love.