Pray Big

by Duane Maust
July 30, 2006
John 6: 1-13

This morning’s scripture passage is an excellent example of what can happen and how things can be used when we place them in the hands of God. The scene is a grassy meadow near Bethsaida, across the Sea of Galilee from Capernaum. Jesus was preaching and healing the sick much of the week. He has retreated in order to get some rest and recharge his batteries, but when he looks up, the crowd has followed him. He turns to Philip, because this is Philip’s old stomping ground. “Where can we buy bread for these people?” Philip replies back that it would take about 2/3 a year’s wages to pay for all the food for one meal for this crowd. ($20-30,000) They knew Jesus was kind and thoughtful, but here they are out there with no preparations made ahead.

All of a sudden Andrew shows up. “Hey, guys, there’s this boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish.”

These loaves were not your top-of-the-line sourdough loaves of bread. They were barley loaves, which was the cheapest of all bread; and his fish wasn’t salmon or tuna, it was like pickled sardines. This kid leaves the house muttering to himself, because all his friends are going to make fun of him when they see what his mother made him for his lunch.

Do you think he was on the way to play with his friends, he saw the crowd, and he wondered what was going on over there? “What’s going on?” “See that guy over there? That’s Jesus of Nazareth. He is a cool teacher, and he can heal people. We all want to hear him preach and see him heal people.”

I suppose that made this boy and his friends curious and want to follow to see what was going on.

The crowd was all taken up with Jesus’ teachings about the kingdom of God and love and forgiveness. Then when it comes to these healing, that really captures these boys’ attention and 10,000 more people. It was at least 5000 men.

That would be about 1/3 of the people in the city of Meridian. It is a big enough crowd that it is easy to get lost from your group and not be able to find them.

The day is getting long and people are getting hungry. All of a sudden Andrew notices this boy. “What do you have there? Bring it here so we can see. Let’s take this to Jesus.” Andrew tells Jesus that this boy has five barley loaves and two fishes. I bet the boy was watching close as Jesus took this little lunch. What is going to happen now?

He probably couldn’t wait to tell his mom what happened with that lunch. “I gave it to Jesus to snack on. No, that’s not what happened. Jesus fed this entire crowd with my lunch.”

His mother probably said, “Now what are you talking about?”

Now what Jesus did with that lunch was a miracle. It was a bigger food serving line than the disciples could have dreamed about. Jesus can think bigger than we can imagine. He tries to stretch our minds.

This story shows us what can happen when we place what we have in the hands of God. Wow!

First of all, don’t think what you have is insignificant or can’t be used! Too often we think, “I’m too young, there is nothing God can do with me.” Wrong, you’d be amazed how many people have come to church because a classmate at school invited them to church.

Maybe you just say you don’t have anything to offer. Jesus doesn’t need a lot to get started with. He can take care of the multiplication.

Now here we have a lunch of five crackers and two sardines. That’s not even potluck material around here. Yet this boy was willing to place his lunch in the hands of Jesus. I could hear him say, “Here, take it and use it.”

I know when I was being called to the ministry, I kept saying, “I can’t speak well and express what I am thinking.” God can take that little bit I have and work with it. He needs your little bit to start a team or partnership with you. He could have fed that crowd by himself, but he wants to work with us when he can.

When Jesus does a miracle, he does it in a big way. He has a basket for each of his disciples to pick up. He ends up with 12 baskets. He fed all those people and had all this left. Then they knew for sure this was a “God thing” going on that day. This must have really made an impression on the disciple that day because this story is recorded in the four gospels. This is the only story in all four.

For the math people here today, I thought you might like Mark’s point that the people sat in groups. Last Sunday Mike Clymer talked about algebra. This math today is simple Lost Gap math.

Mark 6:39-40 says, “Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties.” (It may have been 50 groups of 100 or the other way around. The math is the same.)

Mark 6:41-44: “Taking the five loaves and the two fishes and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then He gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve baskets of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was 5,000.”

Jesus prayed a blessing down on that meal and it turned into enough for everyone that day.

In the miracle of the feeding of the 5000, we see God can do big things. God can do big things in our church and our lives.

I love the words Paul prays for the Ephesians. I picture Paul praying like Jesus did to multiply that food that day.

Read Eph. 3:14-21

I pray for you all, that your minds will be stretched as to how big and great God’s love is. When you realize what that love is, you will never be the same. Read these verses this week and think about what Paul is praying, then pray that for Jubilee and your family. If God could multiply that lunch like he did, think about what he can do at Jubilee.

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