Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

9. Philip – The Problem and the Provider – Part 1

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John 6:1-13, Mark 6:30-36

Mark 6:30-34

30 The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. 31 Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. 32 So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone. 33 But many people recognized them and saw them leaving, and people from many towns ran ahead along the shore and got there ahead of them. 34 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

John 6:1-4

After this, Jesus crossed over to the far side of the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias. 2 A huge crowd kept following him wherever he went, because they saw his miraculous signs as he healed the sick. 3 Then Jesus climbed a hill and sat down with his disciples around him. 4 (It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration.)

Mark 6:35-36

35 Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. 36 Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat.”


5 Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” 6 He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. 7 Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!”8 Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. 9 “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?”10 “Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.) 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted. 12 After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.” 13 So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves.

As we look at the life of Philip we discover in John 1:43 that the day after Andrew brought Simon to Jesus that Jesus called Philip to follow Him. Philip was from Bethsaida, which was also Andrew and Peter’s hometown. Philip is always listed fifth among the apostles. In John 14 when Jesus said don’t let your hearts be troubled that for I am going to prepare a place and Thomas asked the way, to which Jesus said I am the way, the truth, Philip responded by asked Jesus to show them the Father because he still did not get it. Today we are going to look at a very familiar story, the feeding of the 5000 which begins with a:

  • Problem

They had a big problem over 5000 hungry people, the time of day puts the pressure on, it was getting late. But there was a bigger problem which prevented them from dealing with the hunger problem it’s the human problem, the disciples are tired and empty themselves. Mark 6:30-34 reveals that they had just come back from a ministry tour and because they were tired and hungry Jesus called them to come away and rest. The goal was quiet and rest, but the crowds keep coming, the needs never ended. As a result, they are now trying to serve out of emptiness and exhaustion. The truth is empty people can’t fill empty people. Weariness will always cloud our perspective on problems. The only way to serve is to rely on Jesus. Because it’s here that we discover that in the midst of the mess Jesus was:

  • Prepared

So how does the Master respond? He asks a question designed, not to alleviate pressure, but to increase it: “Phillip, where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?”Jesus does not immediately give the answer; he asks a hard question. Jesus does not calm their concerns; he cranks up the heat by clarifying the problem. Jesus anticipated the need and He wanted to get His disciples to start processing, so they could gain a perspective on the real problem. Jesus does this by asks a question. Many times, in scripture God ask us questions, like with Job and his problems?  Why, so we can gain perspective and see the real problem. God doesn’t ask us questions because He is hoping that we have a great solution for Him but because He wants us to see that He is the solution for us. When you see the real problem for what it is you will see that the magnitude of the mess requires a Messiah not me. As people we want the ease of the “right” answer, but Jesus doesn’t answer He questions. He is about to show that He provides for our every need, but to get there He begins with a question which exposes our shortcomings. We need to remember that God is prepared for our problems He already has a Plan. He already knew that even if the disciples were fully fed and rested they still could not have met the need in their own strength and ability. It’s not our plan that will meet people’s needs but His. The truth is you can’t meet people’s needs apart from Jesus. He invites us to join Him in ministry, yet so often we act as if it’s our plan and we are inviting Him into our ministry. The only way for us to participate is to agree with His plan and follow it explicitly. Are you prepared for the problems you face, are you relying on Jesus or resting in your own ability?


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