Has Jesus told you to do the impossible?

Pastor Chuck Israel

Overlooking the Sea of Galilee as Pastor Chuck Smith teaches from the Sermon on the Mount Scripture.

When Jesus found out that John the Baptist had been beheaded, He withdrew to be alone. However, the crowds followed Him. He looked at the crowds and had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” Matthew 14:15-16

“We have only five loaves here and two fish.”

Three questions about the disciples’ choices

  1. They told Jesus what He should do. Jesus was the Teacher. He was the Healer. Did Jesus need instruction?
  2. They scanned the crowd for food before they went to Jesus. Did they know the nature of Jesus would not allow Him to send the people away hungry?
  3. They responded in weakness, only five small loaves of bread and two small fish. Was anything impossible for Jesus?

Jesus’ compassion

And He said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then He broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. Matthew 14:18-21

Jesus chose to take the little food that the disciples had found, bless it, break it, multiply it, and give it to the disciples to distribute to the crowds.

The disciples did feed the crowds with the little that they had when they surrendered it to Jesus.

Each time I have read this story, I have concentrated on the compassion that Jesus had on the crowds. I think that there may be a greater compassion that Jesus had on the disciples.

Jesus gave the disciples an impossible task to do in their own strength. I can imagine Jesus taking a long breath, smiling, and looking at them in love as He said, “Bring them here to me.”

He looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then He broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.

Here was the example. Jesus looked to heaven. He prayed.

Jesus multiplied the little that the disciples had and gave it back to them to feed the crowds.

And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. Matthew 14:20

Out of surrender came empowerment.

Out of little came abundance.

Out of prayer came a miracle.

Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowds. Matthew 14:22

Out of obedience came another assignment.

This is the only miracle of Jesus that is recorded in all four Gospels. The Holy Spirit has much to teach us about the nature of Jesus, total surrender, and the Christian walk through this miracle.

My prayer for you

Compassionate Father, grant Your perfect wisdom to Your children as You teach us the truths in this miracle of provision, this miracle of total surrender, this miracle of taking little and growing it to abundance. We bring what little we have to You. Multiply it and empower us to bless others with abundance and service. Thank You for Your compassion on Your followers and the world.

5 loaves of bread, 2 fish, 5 questions, the ministry walk

5 loaves

Send the multitude away …

You give them something to eat!

We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people. Luke 9:12-13

Jesus and His disciples had tried to withdraw from the crowds after learning of the beheading of John the Baptist, but the crowds followed.

Jesus had compassion on the crowd and turned His focus on the crowd of 5,000 men; the women and children were not numbered. All day, He spoke to them about the kingdom of God and healed all who needed healing.

Late in the day, the disciples urged Jesus to send the people away to get something to eat and find a place to sleep.

You give them something to eat!

We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people. Luke 9:13

Have them sit down in groups of about 50 each. Luke 9:14

Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them, and broke them, and kept giving them to the disciples to set before the people.

And they all ate and were satisfied; and the broken pieces which they had left over were picked up, twelve baskets full. Luke 9:16-17

This is the only miracle of Jesus that is recorded in all four Gospels. We see Jesus in all the Godhead and in all His humanity. In this miracle, we see the walk, emotion, the power, the seasons, and the impact of those in ministry.

5 questions

  1. Time for renewal. There is a time to minister and a time to be renewed. Jesus is our Sabbath, our rest, and we need time alone with Him. Do you know a person in ministry who takes time to be alone?
  2. Time for compassion. Although Jesus and His disciples wanted to be alone, the people looked like sheep with no Shepherd,and Jesus had compassion on them. He put aside His desires to be alone. Compassion, for Jesus, had priority. Jesus later withdrew to pray. Have you put aside your weariness, your grief, to minister?
  3. Time for teaching and healing. Everywhere Jesus went, He taught and He healed. Miracles and teaching. That’s the way Jesus taught His disciples to reach out to people. The church teaches. What if today’s church believed that it was empowered to couple miracles with teaching on the massive scale that Jesus, His disciples, and the early church did?
  4. Time for preparation. The disciples had seen miracles before; they had even performed miracles … healing sicknesses and casting out demons. God always prepares us for the next lesson. Jesus asked the disciples to feed the 5,000. Do you suppose that Jesus would have empowered them to multiply the five loaves and two fish if they had chosen to do what He told them to do?
  5. Time for blessing. Jesus looked up to heaven, He blessed the bread and fish, He broke it, and gave it to the disciples to distribute to the people. Jesus pointed the people to God. Jesus said that “I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.” John 8:28 What if today’s Christians looked toward heaven and did everything on God’s initiative?

My prayer for you:

Father in heaven, we look to You as our Provider, our Shepherd, and our Teacher. Drench our every thought with the knowledge of You. Pour out Your Spirit on us. Give us the wisdom that only You can provide. Nudge us to step out in Your power and possess the world for You. We give you the glory. In the name of our compassionate Lord and Savior, Jesus. Amen