Flashback Episode — The Sacrificial Gift: John 6:1-15

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In our last episode, we looked at how Mark described the events leading up to Jesus feeding the crowd of over 5,000 people. However, in our last episode, we ran out of time before we could cover the miracle itself. While in other episodes, we focused in on the same gospel for multiple episodes, since this miracle is in all four gospels, I thought we could look at a different gospel this week. As I’m sure you noticed in the intro, the gospel we’ll be using this week is the gospel of John.

Let’s read how John describes this miracle, and then talk for a few minutes about some things we can learn from this miracle. This event is found in John, chapter 6, and we will read it from the New American Standard Bible translation. Starting in verse 1, John tells us that:

1 After these things Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias). 2 A large crowd followed Him, because they saw the signs which He was performing on those who were sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat down with His disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near. 5 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?” 6 This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do. 7 Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little.” 8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, 9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?” 10 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. 11 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. 12 When they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”

15 So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone.

In this miracle, we see an amazing theme that God is able to supply all of our needs, and in many cases, God is willing to bless us with more than just the bare minimum of our needs. While the disciples calculate among themselves that 200 days wages would be enough for a light snack for everyone present, Jesus fully knows there is a boy in the crowd who had the foresight to bring a lunch with him, and that this boy is generous enough to give his lunch to Jesus.

While the disciples and the crowd had an amazing story to tell, nothing would match the excitement we could imagine the boy telling his parents his side of this story, if they weren’t already present, and specifically about how Jesus took the lunch they packed for him and used it to feed over 5,000 people.

From the boy’s perspective, we can see another huge theme within this miracle. From this perspective, we learn that Jesus is able to multiply the little we give to Him into a lot of blessing. When we give to God, we don’t have to worry about whether it is too little to be considered significant because God will multiply it to be more than enough. Generosity is one key we can use to see and experience God’s blessings.

However, while we talk about the boy’s gift and his generosity, it’s worth pointing out that nothing in this entire event hints at the boy only partially giving a gift. John doesn’t describe the boy having a basket with six loaves and taking one before giving the remaining 5, with the two fish, to Jesus. While the boy could have had 8 loaves and 3 fish when he left home that morning, whatever he had eaten prior to his gift isn’t relevant because his gift contained all that he had left.

Up until his gift, the boy was simply carrying food for himself to enjoy, but when he learned that Jesus might need something to eat, he is more than willing to give all he can to help Jesus. This boy sacrificially gave, because, like the disciples, this boy had no idea that he would be able to eat much more than his original gift supplied. When we sacrificially give, God is able to bless in extraordinary ways.

The last theme I want to draw our attention to as we begin wrapping this episode up is that we should bring people to Jesus regardless of whether we believe the gifts they have to offer are significant or not. While Andrew was doubtful what this small gift could become, he had enough faith to bring the information, and the boy with his gift, to Jesus. Like Andrew, we are called to bring people to Jesus, and we are to bring people to Him regardless of what we think their potential, or lack thereof, is in God’s kingdom.

We might say that we should bring people to Jesus simply because we know that God loves them and that Jesus died for their sins. There’s no better reason to invite someone to God than because of what Jesus has already done for us.

As we come to the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with:

Always seek God first in your life and intentionally invite others to experience Him for themselves. While this can be done in a church setting, serving others is also a great way to invite people to experience God for themselves. Never discount your invitation based on what the person you are inviting appears to offer. Instead, freely extend your inviting because you know that God loves them and because Jesus died for them.

Also, as always, be sure to pray and study the Bible for yourself to learn and grow your faith. While it is easy to simply take someone else’s word for it, God wants a personal relationship with you and that means learning directly from His Word, with no-one else in the middle. While many people are happy to share their opinions with you, filter everything you learn through the truth contained in the Bible.

And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, or abandon where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him!

Flashback Episode: Year of Miracles – Episode 27: When a boy gives his lunch to Jesus, we discover one of the most significant miracles in all the gospels. We know this because this is the only official miracle included in all four gospels. Discover several things we can learn from this event that we can apply into our own lives today!

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