Lesson Text—John 6:1-5 John 6:1-5 1 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. 2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.
Lesson Text—John 6:1-5 3 And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. 4 And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. 5 When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?
Lesson Text—John 6:6-9 John 6:6-9 6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.
Lesson Text—John 6:6-9 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, 9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?
Lesson Text—John 6:10-12 John 6:10-12 10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.
Lesson Text—John 6:10-12 11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. 12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
Focus Verse—John 6:9 John 6:9There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?
Focus Thought Little is much when God is in it.
Culture Connection Little Is Much When God Is in It I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs When the lad with the small lunch gave it to Jesus, he probably had no idea what the result would be. Who could have imagined that Jesus would feed more than five thousand hungry people with that one small lunch? But that’s what the Lord does with the small efforts and gifts we place in His hands. He multiplies it to bless many.
A blog writing titled “Blessings Multiplied” tells the story of what happened when one lady made an effort to bless a few and it ended up blessing thousands—every year. “When Jen Stutts of Florence, Alabama, opened her restaurant seven years ago, she tried something that hadn't been done before in the area. On Thanksgiving Day, she invited anyone in need to enjoy a free dinner of turkey and all the fixings at her namesake business, Jen’s Cafe. I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs
“What began as a small way to give back to the community has become a huge annual effort that enlists 100 volunteers and serves thousands who might not otherwise enjoy a hot meal on Thanksgiving. . . . ‘The first year, we didn’t think it would happen. Then we started calling people, and they said, “We’ll send you this or that.” And someone else said they’d drop this off . . . and the churches offered to lend us some tables and chairs.’ I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs
“That first year, 300 people enjoyed Jen's home cooking on Thanksgiving Day. By 2008, the number had jumped to 7,500, including the 2,000 to 3,000 meals delivered before the cafe opens” (www.tasteofhome.com/Cooks-Who-Care-Cookbook/Blessings-Multiplied, accessed April 6, 2011). Little is much when God is in it! I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs
Contemplating the Topic I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs To have been a child and hear Jesus teach must have been a thrilling experience! As the news of His approach spread throughout the countryside, many people began rearranging their schedules to attend. The excitement in one home may have been palpable. Before a particular lad received permission to go, he might have made certain promises to his parents.
I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs We have no way of knowing what requirements and arrangements were a part of the deal. An uncle, an older brother, or a good neighbor may have been the key to the parents’ allowing this boy to become part of an adventure and a miracle that has echoed down the corridors of time. Whatever the case, the young boy carried his lunch to the hillside where Jesus was teaching.
Searching The Scriptures A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs Perhaps as the lad scurried around the house taking care of last-minute chores, convinced that he might be left behind and miss it all, his anxiety built and his carefulness in doing his jobs diminished proportionally. As he scampered toward the door, perhaps his mother threw one more roadblock in the way.
I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs Her voice might have arrested him as he made a dash for the exit: “Wait a minute, young man. You are not going anywhere without something to eat. There is no telling when you will get back, and I will not have you starving to death on some hillside because you were in such a hurry. Now come here and get this basket.”
I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs His response may have been something like, “Aw, Mother, I am going to miss it all,” to which mothers have forever responded, “You are going to take something to eat or you are going to stay right here!” Bowing to the inevitable, the lad snatched up the snack, darted out the door, and hurried across the hills to be as near the front as he could when the Carpenter began to speak.
I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs Little did he realize as he scurried over the grassy hillside that the lunch he thought had delayed him would play a crucial role in the events of the day.
Need to Be Loved A. Need to Be Loved Mothers have always understood better than their children that they need someone to love and to look after them. What this young lad probably perceived as delay and unnecessary preparation was a symbol of his mother’s love and care for him. Her preparing a lunch for him that day spoke volumes about her care for this child.
I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs Deep in the heart of each of us is a need and longing to be affirmed, cared for, and loved. Although some may seem to reject proffered attention, yet there is something heartwarming about the care and attention of others.
Need to Have Physical Needs Met B. Need to Have Physical Needs Met The lad’s mother provided for his physical needs with what, in that day, was a very sufficient meal for his trek. Although barley was among the cheaper grains of that time, he had plenty of bread to fill his belly. The two fish would be sufficient to add some flavor and protein to the blandness of the bread.
I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs For a small boy, this meal would have been considered enough to properly sustain him during the day’s adventure following the teacher from Nazareth.
Need to Share Compassionately C. Need to Share Compassionately Jesus had compassion on the multitude because of their hunger. He already had a plan to take care of the situation, but He also needed the cooperation of someone else to share what he had. As God had used a simple rod in the hand of Moses to effect the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage, so He could use a simple lunch to assuage the hunger of the multitude.
I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs First, however, someone had to be willing to share—to take the chance of losing what he had. Evidently, the young lad with the lunch was willing to give it all to Jesus.
Circumstances of the Day II. Circumstances of the Day Each miracle and teaching of Jesus occurred within the matrix of location and audience. The geography and demographics of the region had an impact on what He did. His response was different, depending on whether He was in the city or the country, or whether He was in the mountains or by the sea. The number and composition of the congregation also had a bearing on His response.
I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs Even the geographical configuration of the Galilean hills amplified His voice so that such a great crowd of people were easily able to hear His teachings.
Multitude Following Jesus A. Multitude Following Jesus “And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased” (John 6:2).
The spectacular miracles Jesus performed captured the attention of the people. Although not all of them were disciples, great numbers of people ceased their daily tasks to follow this phenomenon among them. The fact that they soon fell away from His teachings causes us to conclude they fit the description Vance Havner said of another group: They were “many but not much.” This multitude was interested in the miraculous power Jesus displayed in healing the sick. I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs
They were there to stay for it all. In North America, we find ourselves always conscious of the clock. Factory whistles, time clocks, and other reminders daily order our lives. A starting time and a quitting time often become our focus. If a meeting goes a little longer than anticipated, people begin checking their watches and nervously twisting—sometimes obviously. In other cultures and nations of the world, being on time is not as important as being there for the event. I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs
I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs They may not get there for the beginning, but they will remain until the last word is spoken—however long that may be. This multitude evidently was in no hurry to get away from the teachings of the Master. They were there for the long haul, even when they became hungry.
Compassion of Jesus Shown B. Compassion of Jesus Shown “When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” (John 6:5). Jesus was not just interested in gathering a large crowd. His concern was for their welfare, both physical and spiritual. He was concerned that they not faint from hunger on their journey home.
I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs While the pangs of hunger may have been on the increase among many of those who constituted the multitude, Jesus was actively involved in preparing to satisfy their needs. As part of that preparation, He brought others into the process of solving the problem.
Challenge to Disciples C. Challenge to Disciples “And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do” (John 6:6). Jesus shared this concern with Philip, an early disciple who had seen all of His miracles. He posed the problem to this man in a way that gave Philip an opportunity to express his faith or to fall back on human limitations. On this occasion, Jesus was not really seeking for guidance on how to handle the matter. He already knew who was in the crowd and what He would do.
I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs Often dilemmas face us and give to us similar opportunities. We can trust in the providence and power of God, or we can trust our own ideas and conclusions.
Human Reasoning Versus Jesus’ Omnipotence A. Mathematical Reasoning Mathematical Reasoning “Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little” (John 6:7).
Even though Philip had witnessed many miracles Jesus had performed, he still fell back on what he knew naturally in his search for a solution. It did not take him long to figure that over eight month’s wages of a laboring man would not buy enough bread to supply even a small parcel for everyone in the crowd. I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs
I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs While figures do not lie, sometimes they are irrelevant to the problem at hand. Statistics and probabilities may be useful tools in some situations, and we may effectively use basic mathematical calculations for the accurate analysis of others, but the miracle-working power of Jesus skews all normal calculations. He makes it a regular practice to do what otherwise cannot be done.
Jesus’ Knowledge of What to Do B. Jesus’ Knowledge of What to Do While Philip looked over the crowd and saw only a sea of needs and an inadequate purse, Jesus saw a small boy with a lunch that would supply the need. However, Jesus did not seek the boy out and demand his lunch. Instead, He sent His disciples out to notice the lad and his lunch and see it as at least a small start on solving the problem. (See Mark 6:38.)
Obviously, Andrew did not know how the small amount of this boy’s lunch that he was bringing to Jesus’ attention could be of much help. However, he expressed an implied confidence—in spite of hesitation (John 6:9)—in the Lord’s ability to do much with little. This was unlike Philip, who could only process what he could see and figure. I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs
I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs Jesus knew the little boy was there. He knew he had a lunch and what was in it, and He sent the disciples to seek out what He already knew was there. He had already determined what He was about to do and how things would proceed.
Significance of the Little Boy’s Lunch A. Allowed Him to Stand Out in the Crowd Allowed Him to Stand Out in the Crowd When Jesus sent His disciples out into the crowd, they were specifically looking for whatever bread they could find. This young man seems to be the only one they could find who obviously had bread to eat. The fact that he possessed this needed commodity drew the attention of the disciples who were explicitly looking for bread.
Sometimes it is not great talent or ability that causes someone to stand out from the crowd around him. Having what is needed in a particular situation is often more important than possessing capabilities that are not particularly germane to the current need. At this time, the crowd did not need a master boat builder, a great soldier, or a successful merchant. The disciples looked beyond hundreds of mature, accomplished people and zeroed in on the lad who had what they needed at the moment—bread. I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs
The Blessing of God on What We Share B. The Blessing of God on What We Share Andrew’s rhetorical question, “But what are they among so many?” did not take into account what value the blessing of the Lord could add to anything. It is beyond our human ability to calculate how God blesses ninety percent of our income to go farther after tithing than would one hundred percent without that blessing.
I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs Time dedicated to God also seems to stretch to allow for what needs to be done beyond what time hoarded to oneself could ever accomplish. When Elisha fed one hundred with bread for twenty, God increased the provision that was available to meet the need. (See II Kings 4:42-44.) Both of these instances were a fulfillment of Psalm 132:15: “I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread.”
Some people have speculated that perhaps some people in the crowd had also brought food with them. These suppose that when the bread and fish began to be distributed, people began bringing out their own food and sharing with those around them. While some may subscribe to this unbiblical idea to denigrate the scope of the miracle, it does not explain or negate the fact that after everyone was full the disciples were able to gather up twelve baskets of fragments from the barley loaves. I. A Mother’s Cognizance of a Child’s Needs