Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God


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10. Philip – The Problem and the Provider – Part 2

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.”

John6:5-13

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.

It’s here that we discover the:

  • Plan –

What we need to understand is that the plan to solve any problem starts with what you determine the problem to be! What we discover is that because there are two different views to the problem there are two different plans, man’s plan and the Masters plan.

Man’s view–  As people we tend to look at the external, the outside. What the disciples saw was a hunger problem and so they wanted to send the people away so they could meet their own need. The twisted part of this was that because the people had a problem the disciples started to view the problem as the people. We do this all the time, we view people as the problem not the problems that the people have. And because we view people as the problem we will always want to send them away.

Jesus view  – Instead of looking at the outside Jesus looks inside. He sees the internal problem, which is a heart problem not just a hunger problem.

Man’s plans – Your fix for the problem will be tied to your focus. If you are focused on the external problems your plan will be external. As a result their first plan involved

  1. Ignoring the problem by making it someone else’s

They tell Jesus to send the crowd away. How often do we ignore the problem because we don’t make it personal. We try to send the problem away because we think that we don’t have to deal with it. Sadly, this mentality encompasses the majority of our prayer life. Often when we are faced with the problems of humanity instead of using prayer to engage the problem we use prayer as a way to procrastinate so we don’t have to face the problem, when there is a need – “let me pray about that.” Their attitude is, Jesus just send the problem away, because we would rather side step it than deal with it! When that doesn’t work they:

  1. Try to meet it with their inadequate resources

Philip turns an emptiness problem into an economic one. Why because we believe if we had more money we would have less problems. This is the world’s philosophy not the Words. More money does not equal less problems. What people need is not money it’s the Messiah. It’s here that Andrew steps up and brings a boy to Jesus who has 5 barley loaves and 2 fish. Our resources are not just small and insignificant, but Barley was the grain of the poorest and the despised; in fact, it was considered fit only for animals. Jesus brings his disciples to the point where they must confess that the resources they have are incomparably small compared to the need which they face.  Even with the advantage of having grown up in the area and these being their stomping grounds near Bethsaida, Philip and Andrew still come up short. We will all come to this point in our lives, where what we have is not enough and we finally realize how much we need Jesus. In our marriages we begin marriage thinking that we can live in harmony and peace. That we can give our spouse what they wanted and get the good we deserve. But our resources are inadequate for the demands of living with a sinful and selfish person. In our parenting we thought we could raise our children to be self-sufficient, happy, self-confident and safe. But try as you might, your resources are incomparably small compared to the needs which parenting demands. In our personal lives, we thought that we couldhandle the emotional stress of life. You thought you were strong and stable and could handle the pressure, but circumstances have brought you to the end of your rope. Maybe it is spiritually that you have discovered your inadequacies, you wonder what you are living for, “What is my purpose?” The questions are too hard, the only rest seems to come from remaining so busy that you do not have to think. You may feel strong and invincible today, but we will all be brought face-to-face with our limits and the truth that we need more than our resources we need a Redeemer. The truth is that we are bankrupt, broke and our bread is a poor substitute for what Jesus has. It’s here that we come to:

Jesus plan

He saw the problem not as the people but as the emptiness of a hungering humanity, so He met the need by feeding and filling the emptiness. The people were not the problem if they had sent them away the hunger problem would still have been there, just hidden out of sight. We can’t remove the problem by hiding it we have to bring Jesus in to fill it. Whose view are you looking at problems through, God’s or mans? Whose plan are you pursuing God’s or yours?