Independence Day is coming up on Sunday and it’s awesome to think of all that has happened in our country’s history to make our freedom possible. It’s even more awesome to think about all that Jesus has done to make a freedom that no person or government could take away. At the same time, it is humbling to think of the things that can cause us not to experience that freedom and they usually have to do with worrying about things that are outside of our control. In John 6 we find a story that helps to put this into perspective.
“…Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for He already had in mind what He was going to do.
Philip answered Him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
Another of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
When they had all had enough to eat, He said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are leftover. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten,” John 6:5b-13 with emphasis added.
Here’s the part that grabbed me, Jesus “only” asked Philip where they would get the food to test him. What kind of test is that? I think Philip’s realization that purchasing food for all those people was outside the realm of their human possibilities at that moment was an important one. I wish Philip hadn’t stopped there. I wish he had offered some morsel of faith to Jesus as Andrew did.
Though it was illogical, Andrew brought a boy and his lunch to Jesus, not because he thought the child’s meal would be enough food to feed the massive crowd, but I believe he had a small ray of hope that Jesus could do the inconceivable. He brought what was available to Jesus and Jesus rocked the sides off of their small boxes of logic.
I often feel I am up against more than I can handle. Before I even realize the obstacles are beyond my control the diversion into worry mode is so natural. There are many tests I can’t pass on my own. But when you look at it, keeping in mind who Jesus is and what He’s capable of, it’s actually exciting to imagine what God ALREADY has in mind for my challenges while looking at Jesus' lesson plan for His pupils in this story. They saw that the problem was WAY BEYOND THEM. Jesus showed that the problem WAS NOT A PROBLEM FOR HIM. He was much more than enough. There were twelve baskets of leftovers signifying that Jesus is not only enough for the 5,000 men and their families present that day, He’s also enough for all twelve tribes of Israel. He’s enough for all of us!
May I acknowledge my finitude moment by moment while always praising God expectantly for His omnipotent care for me. That is where we find freedom that cannot be taken away. Though we are not enough for what we face, one with Jesus, there is not a test we can’t ace. Bring on the challenges! Glory to God for who He is and what He will do!