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Bring on the Leftovers!

I guess I am always reminded of the feeding of the 5000 around thanksgiving because it involves food!

It was really amazing what happened. Everyone came to hear Jesus; it got late, they were hungry, and Jesus wanted to feed them.

You see, when Jesus burst onto the scene of history, there were two things that immediately got people's attention:

1)the truth that He taught and the

2)miracles He performed.

‌The truth of His teaching that fascinated people was the Kingdom of God.

‌That got every Jew's attention because that is what Jews were hungry for - for God's Kingdom to come. Jesus did not just teach about the Kingdom of God. He demonstrated the Kingdom of God through miracles.

Before the time of Jesus, there were a few miracles here and there recorded in the Old Testament, but relatively speaking, not many. Then Jesus comes, and there is an explosion of miracles. So much, so that people would come from all over just hoping to see Jesus perform one.

Here's a fact…if you believe in God, then the possibility of miracles in your life automatically goes to 100%. Miracles still happen.

We need to understand something as we study the miracle of feeding the 5,000. What Jesus did in this miracle he wants to do in your life today.

Every one of us has things that Jesus can do miraculous things within our possession.

God adds to what We give to Him… so that He can multiply it (make it bigger) and then divide (give it to others) to MAXIMIZE blessing for ALL.

God is willing to reveal things by His Spirit. We have to be willing to act and to see according to His will.

1 Corinthians 2:10 NLT

10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God's deep secrets.

Jesus Will ALWAYS Ask Us For Something We Have

Of all the miracles that Jesus performed, feeding the 5,000 may be the most special of all because it is the only miracle that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all record.

Think about that. Of all the miracles that Jesus performed and as great as they were, the only miracle that every single Gospel writer felt they had to include in their gospel was this one.

It is unique in a couple of ways:

It is the only time Jesus ever asked for somebody's advice on what to do, and more people than any other miracle saw this miracle.

John 6:1–4 NLT

1 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.)

Matthew tells us that it was evening time when this miracle took place. It was around 6:00 pm, and the sun was about to set. They were way out in the country.

A crisis is brewing. The sun is setting. Evening is coming. Stomachs are growling, and the story gets interesting.

John 6:5 NLT

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?"

How large was this crowd? In verse 10, we are told the men alone numbered about 5000. Matthew tells us there were also women and children. When you consider how large families were back in that day, scholars estimate that the crowd probably reached up to 25,000 people.

Imagine you are Philip, and Jesus turns to you and says, "Where are we to buy bread so that these people may eat?" This really wasn't a question; it was a test.

‌John 6:6 NLT

6 He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do.

Remember this: Any time Jesus asks you for anything you have, it is never just a request; it is always a test.

Think of a time in your life when the Spirit of God was speaking to you. I'm talking to those who study the Word, have a prayer life, and are being discipled. You have a confirmed Word from the Lord. Did you act on it? When Jesus asks us to do something, we need to recognize that it is a test.

He is simply asking this question, "Do you trust Me or not?"

Jesus is about to reveal the biggest problem that Philip and the rest of the disciples and even we face in our lives.

The biggest problem was not that the crowd didn't have enough food.

The biggest problem was Philip didn't have enough faith. He couldn't see what God was able to do...

We Should ALWAYS Give Jesus What He Asks

Philip did what we so often do when God asks us for something that we don't think we can do.

He came up with all kinds of reasons why they couldn't do what Jesus was asking.

John 6:7 NLT

7 Philip replied, "Even if we worked for months, we wouldn't have enough money to feed them!"

Jesus didn't ask. How are we going to feed all the people? He asked, Where are we going to buy the bread?

Here is another thing to remember whenever Jesus asks you for something. Jesus knows it already can be done and how it can be done.

Philip did what you and I do; he got out his calculator and figured out that it would take about eight months' wages (200 Denarii) for an average worker to buy that much food.

He has every reason in the world why he cannot give what Jesus is asking for:

1) there was no place to buy that much food.

2) even if there was a place to buy it…they didn't have enough money to pay for it.

3) even if there was a place to buy it and they had the money to pay for it there wasn't enough time to get it.

4) even if there was enough time everybody would only get a little bit of food.

Philip is thinking for the first time in your life, Buddy, I have stumped you! How often have we all figured out why we can't give God what He is asking for?

I am convinced that Jesus' heart was just shattered. What bothered Jesus was not the lack of food but the lack of faith. A lack of food never stops God, but a lack of faith can stop Him in His tracks.

Amazingly, Jesus did many miracles in many places, but there is one place He didn't do hardly any miracles and it was of all places in His own hometown. Do you know why?

Matthew 13:58 NLT

58 And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief.

Just think about what Philip had already seen: He had already seen Jesus turn water into wine, heal a man's sick son, give a paralytic man the ability to walk, and raise people from the dead, and he still didn't get it!

He was still using his calculator. He was still pinching pennies and counting nickels when all the time he didn't understand that he was not to be the source of provision.

When Jesus asks us for bread, remember this. We don't make the bread; we serve it. We are the waiters, and He is the baker.

Philip flunks his test. It looks like all is lost, and then this happens…

John 6:8–9 NLT

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?"

‌Andrew, overhearing this conversation, finds a little boy who has brought his own dinner, but it is just enough for him to eat or at least that is what it looks like.

The little boy is interesting.

Even though all four gospels include this miracle, only John tells us about the little boy who gave this lunch. He had done what everybody else in that crowd should have done.

He had brought enough to feed himself.

Five loaves of bread and two fish may sound like a lot to you, but this was the meal of not just a little boy but a poor little boy.

Five loaves wasn't a loaf, how we think. It was really just a small wafer that was flat, hard, and brittle, about the size of a mini-pancake. The word "fish" refers to "small fish like sardines."

When Andrew said, "what are they for so many" he was right. What that little boy had was just a little lunch. But what made that little lunch a big lunch is what that little boy did with it when Jesus asked for it.

The little boy gave it to Jesus.

This is where the miracle starts. At that moment, the most valuable thing to 25,000 people and twelve disciples was a little boy's lunch because that was all the food there was.

One thing made that little boy's lunch so valuable - it was available. It was available because the little boy was willing to give what Jesus asked.

Somehow that little boy understood what the disciples didn't get. This wasn't a request to this little boy. It was a test to this little boy. Where the disciples flunked the test he got an A+.

Why is it so hard for adults to give and yet so easy for children to give? The answer is simple.

We've got the money, but they've got the faith.

A little boy got into a big argument with his sister about who was going to get the last brownie. His mother heard them fussing, and she came to resolve the argument. They were both upset and about to get into a fist fight because they wanted that last brownie.

This wise mother seeing an opportunity to teach her kids a deep spiritual lesson, looked at her kids and simply said, "What would Jesus do?" The little boy said, "Mom, that is easy. Jesus would just break that brownie and make 5000 more!"

Did Jesus need that little boy's lunch to feed those people?

Absolutely not! If Jesus had wanted to, He could have turned rocks into bread. He could have made the fish jump out of the sea into the laps of every person there.

When Jesus asks for something, it is not because He needs what we have; it is because we need to give so we can learn to trust Him.

When you take that step of faith, and you give Him what he asks, you do what He wants you to do, even when you can think of many reasons why you cannot or you should not, then you will see the third principle of the leftovers!‌

Jesus Will ALWAYS Use What You Give Him

John 6:10–11 NLT

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.

The disciples already think that Jesus has lost His mind. So then He does something outrageous. He gives thanks! The audacity to give thanks for something so insignificant!!!

I don't know what He said in that thanksgiving prayer, but I am sure He thanked God for that little boy. I am sure He thanked God for that little boy's faith. I am sure He thanked God for that little boy's food and I am sure He thanked God for the opportunity to demonstrate the power of God.

What have we seen so far in this scripture?

1) Jesus asks for what He wants.

2) We should give to Jesus what He asks.

3) Jesus will then use what we give.

Do you want to know something cool? God loves to use the little things. That's what's cool about Jesus giving thanks for this little gift that was given. It is not that God can't use big things; I don't want you to misunderstand me. He can use big things too. One time in my life God used something that was small but really big to me.

I was attending Victory Bible Institute in Tulsa, OK. I really didn't have much money at all. I was working at Dillards selling women's shoes. I remember I had this friend that was also attending the Bible school with me. He was allowed to start attending classes but didn't have the money to keep going. The deadline was approaching. I'd pray with him that God would make a way.

Then God started speaking to me that I could help this guy. (Jesus asks for what He wants) God spoke to my heart to pay for this guy to keep going to school.

(Give Jesus what He asks) I myself was a fairly poor college student. I was still paying for ORU and barely had the money to go to the Bible School. In fact, in order to attend the bible school I had to work there! I was the sound guy which helped pay for my tuition. I know that God was leading me to pay for this guys tuition. I wrote a check for all that I could and I handed it to the guy.

(Jesus will use what we give) I'll never forget that night as I was dropping off the guy at his apartment. I told him that God put it on my heart to give him some money to help for school. I handed him the check and it was the exact amount left that he needed to continue.

Jesus may be asking for something big or even something that feels small that He is planning to make big; give what He asks, and He will use what you give.

God loves to use the little things because that is when He gets the greatest glory, and that is when faith grows the greatest.

You may think what you have to give to God is small.

You may think it is insignificant.

You may think it doesn't matter.

Some of the most incredible things that God ever uses are little things.

Think of all the little things that God used in the Bible to accomplish unbelievable things: a sling-shot of a shepherd boy, a widow's mite, and faith the size of a mustard seed.

Do you know what really determines the value of something?

The hands the thing is placed in.

What made that little boy's lunch so valuable was not how big it was but what he did with it!

The only thing you have that is of any value is what you are willing to give to God.

Jesus Blesses What He Uses

John 6:12–13 NLT

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.

This is just amazing! Nobody could eat another bite! Yet, there were still twelve baskets left over. These were not small baskets. The Word for "basket" gives us the English word "coffin." It means a "large, heavy basket."

Do you know why this miracle is so important to you and me? It's because WE ARE that little boy.

We all have lunches in our possession. We all have talents, abilities, time, and resources that God asks for. That little boy could have kept that lunch to himself and fed himself, but everybody else would have gone hungry.

Because that little boy trusted Jesus, gave Him what He asked for, Jesus used what He gave then Jesus blessed what He used.

There is one detail you cannot miss. That little boy gave all of his lunch to Jesus. Jesus asked for all of his lunch, so he gave ALL of his lunch. He didn't say, "Lord, you can have one of the fish, but I'll keep the other one. You take three of the loaves, and I'll keep the other two." No, he gave Jesus everything Jesus asked for.

If you want God to add to what We give to Him… so that He can multiply it (make it bigger) and then divide (give it to others) to MAXIMIZE blessing for ALL. Then you must GIVE him EVERYTHING!

Do you want to experience life to the fullest? Give Jesus ALL of you. Don't hide your lunch or better yet, quit acting like your lunch is too small.

The only thing that gives life meaning and purpose is what we give to Jesus.

I want you to think about how many men were on that hillside – 5000. Can you name even one of those men? No. Here we are 2000 years later, and we are still talking about that one little boy.

Who really got blessed that day? Oh, if you think it was the crowd, you're wrong! It wasn't the crowd because as soon as they ate all their food, their food was gone.

No, the one that got the blessing was that little boy.

Wouldn't you have loved to be there when he walked into his house that evening, and his mom said, "How did it go with Jesus?" He said, "Mom, you should have been there. He took my lunch and fed 25,000 people."

His mom looked at him and said, "Son, why would you do that? We don't have anything to eat." Then little boy opened the door and said, "Mom, don't worry. I've got plenty of leftovers."

That little boy gave his entire lunch to Jesus, but did he go away hungry?

No, that boy wound up with more to eat by giving Jesus everything he had than he would have eaten if he kept it all to himself

Jesus asks what He wants.

We give Him what He asks.

He uses what we give Him

He blesses what He uses.

Why do you think this miracle is in the Bible?

Why do you think all four gospel writers included this story in their book?

Why do you think we are told clearly there were twelve baskets left over?

When you give everything to Jesus and you trust Him to meet your needs you will find that Jesus is not only all that you need, but He is more than you need.

There is not a problem that you have that Jesus can't solve.

There is not a hunger you have that Jesus can't satisfy.

There is not a need you have that Jesus cannot meet.

There is not a hurt you have that Jesus cannot heal.

There is not a question you have that Jesus cannot answer.

Give Him your resources. Give Him your time. Give Him your talents. Give Him your love. Give Him your life.

God is working in this world. Through His people.


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