Mike Gerhardt, 11-22-20, Learn from the Bread, John 6:1-15. The church of Jesus Christ seldom gathers together without food. The most notorious is the potluck. Who brings a casserole in a pot anymore and what does the Church of the Sovereign God, have to do with luck? Let’s read the entire passage. Does anyone remember churches having a Christmas candlelight potluck? The tables were lit with candles. But the buffet line in the dark was a problem. People couldn’t see what they were taking. I once heard a comedian say it's shinny people that hold up the line because they browse and pick at the buffet. The rule is to just grab and go, grab, and go. When you get back to your table, then you find out what you took.
Can you imagine feeding the five thousand potluck style? What’s in that basket Margaret? Oh, that looks like whole wheat. No, I sure it’s barley. I don’t like barley; I’m looking for pumpernickel. These fish look dry, the other basket down the line seems better. How long would that have taken? If we are to study the life of Jesus, we must look at the details. Remember: God recorded these details for a purpose. This is the fourth miracle (all 4 gospels). First, three seem to stress the how of salvation. We as sinners must be changed completely. Jesus turned water into wine. Salvation and transformation come from Jesus. Then Jesus healed the official’s son This is the faith of the nobleman who believed first and then saw his 24-mile miracle. Salvation is by faith. It comes to those who believe first in Jesus. George Muller: There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man's power ends. The third sign teaches us that salvation is by grace. At the pool, a paralytic is healed. Not because of his faith but because of Jesus' grace. The signs continue to emphasize that Jesus is not only a miracle worker but is also our Savior. If we analyze scripture for a deeper meaning, we could be accused of allegorizing the text - that is not taking its literal meaning, saying this story is an allegory of some other truth. I try not to do that. It is eisegesis & not exegesis. Jesus turned water into wine. Jesus healed the nobleman’s child 24-miles away. Jesus healed a faithless paralytic by the pool. These are historical events. John chose these miracles to emphasize what it means to be saved. Yes the boy was saved from death, yes the paralytic was saved from laying on a mat, yes the wedding host was saved from humiliation, but John has a more important message: to be saved from our sins and to live life eternally. There is a literal, historical, grammatical, and cultural interpretation of the text. There is also a spiritual meaning. Feeding 5,000 referred to men. Women and children would make it over 10000. The feeding the five thousand has spiritual lessons for us too. Three come to mind: God and people cooperate to bring salvation. Give God everything, and He will use it to bless others. Only the Bread of Life can satisfy. C.S. Lewis: Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim. Well, there is such a thing as water… If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world… Probably, earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. Salvation is of the Lord & we are the messengers. Erik Weihenmayer calls himself an unrealistic optimist. That’s a good description since he was the first blind climber ever to reach the top of Mount Everest. He consults & does charity work, helping people see in new ways. Asked by Fast Company magazine what he looks for in people Erik said: I want people who have an unrealistic optimism about life. I hear people say, 'seeing is believing.' I want people who think the opposite, 'Believing is seeing.' You've got to believe first and be sure you have a reason to believe it. You can tell who those people are. You say, "Hey, want to climb Everest with a blind guy?" Pretty quickly you'll figure out who's a believer. Jesus could read people. Maybe it was supernatural. Maybe God-given wisdom and discernment. Jesus is recognized for the wrong reasons: doing miracles and healing the sick. A letter to the editor knock the church: I've gone for 30 years and I have heard 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can't remember a single one. I think I'm wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs. This started a controversy in the column. Then someone wrote: I've been married for 30 years. My wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But I cannot recall the entire menu for any of those meals. But I know this: they all nourished me and gave me the strength to do my work. If my wife had not given me those meals, I would be dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today! Jesus didn’t just pass out wine, bread, and dried fish. He was leading people to repentance and salvation. Jesus can see our sincerity or lack of it. Why pick on Philip? To test him. Jesus may test you and your resolve to have faith in Him alone. Andrew offers a boys’ lunch. Jesus directs them to sit in an orderly manner of 50 or 100 Mark 6:40. No spiritual implication is given, yet a lesson will come at the end of this chapter where Jesus calls himself the Bread of Life. There was more than enough to eat. Another lesson for us all. Many recognized Jesus as the promised Prophet. Jesus retreats to pray for they wanted a miracle-working king, but Jesus came to be our sacrificial lamb who would give his blood to cover our sins. Dr. Sam Weinstein is a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon for the Bronx Children's Hospital. He went to El Salvador in 2006 to do life-saving heart operations for less-fortunate children. However, his expertise wasn’t enough for 8-year-old Francisco Fernandez. Dr. Weinstein began operating shortly before noon. Twelve hours later, the procedure took a turn. Weinstein said: The surgery had been going well, everything was working great, but he was bleeding, and we didn't have the medicines to stop the bleeding. Soon they were running out of his rare blood type. Francisco is B-neg, which is in only 2 % of the population. The only other person there with B-neg was Dr. Weinstein. So, he stepped down from the operating table. As his colleagues continued their work, Dr. Weinstein sat down to give away his own blood. When he had given his pint, Dr. Weinstein drank water, ate a Pop-Tart, and 20 minutes after stepping away, he rejoined his colleagues. He watched his blood circulate in the boy's small veins. Dr. Weinstein finished the operation and saved Francisco's life. Jesus did not come to the earth just to heal people, feed people, or even teach people, though he did those things. He came to give his blood on the cross to wash our sins away. Nothing but the blood.