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The Bread that was Surprisingly Multiplied

Sermon by Rev Dr Malcolm Tan

5 July 2020

Notes by Anita Fam

John 6: 1-13 = Jesus feeds the 5,000

This miracle was a miracle which was retold in all four Gospels.

⁃ See v. 1-4 which says where and when the miracle took place.

⁃ It took place around the Sea of Galilee/Lake of Tiberius on a grass patch on a mountainside.

⁃ It took place near the Jewish Passover Festival.

See v. 5-6

⁃ Jesus had an intention and purpose.

⁃ Jesus put forward what seemed to be an impossible suggestion.

See v. 7

⁃ We see the sarcasm of Philip who was a man who could see the size of the problem. He understood the reality of situational impossibility.

⁃ Sometimes we are like Philip for we overrate the problems which beset us in our lives.

See v. 8 - 9

⁃ It was also a learning moment for Andrew.

⁃ Andrew was a man who could see the limitation of available resources. He does not focus on the problem. He focuses on what is available.

⁃ Sometimes we are like Andrew and focus on what we don’t have rather than what we have.

See v. 10

⁃ Jesus instructed the 5,000 men to sit on the grassy patch.

⁃ Jesus was teaching them the truth in Psalm 46:10. He was telling them to look to God amidst of  all their problems.

See v. 11

⁃ Jesus lifted up the bread and gave thanks to God.

See v. 9

⁃ We are to note the emphasis on “small”. Five ‘small’ barley loaves and two ‘small’ fish.

⁃ This boy was unnamed and probably socially unimportant. But this was an opportunity for small things to multiply.

See v. 11

⁃ God provided enough for the multitudes.

See v. 12-13

⁃ There was baskets full of leftovers.

⁃ Sometimes God doesn’t just provide enough, He provides for more than enough.

⁃ God is in the business of surprising us with more.

⁃ When we give, we can never outsize God.

This miracle was told in all four Gospels. There are two things which make the account of this miracle in John  unique.

⁃ First, see  v. 14-15 where an explanation is given as to why Jesus left the multitudes. He left because he knew that the multitudes wanted to make Him king by force.

⁃ Jesus is telling us not to seek the wrong type  of promotion in life. We need to seek the Lord’s direction and wisdom as to whether to receive what is offered to us.

⁃ Secondly, see John 6:35. The focus here is not on the bread but rather on Jesus who is the Bread of Life, the one who sustains our lives.

⁃ The focus here is not on the miracle of God nor His  blessings but rather the focus is on the one who gives the blessing and carries out the miracle. He is the author and perfecter of our faith.

What response should we give when we encounter a problem?

⁃ Are we like Philip who focused on the size of the problem and its impossibility?

⁃ Or are we like Andrew who focused on the poverty of resources?

⁃ Or are we like the little unnamed boy who gave to Jesus all that he had and trusted God to take the little that he had to make it more than enough for the purposes of the kingdom?

We must not forget the ability of God to multiply what little we have to make it stretch for His glory.

⁃ God is truly the provider.

The connection to the Passover

⁃ See John 6:4.

⁃ Jesus is also the Lamb of God. See John 1:29.

⁃ John the Gospel writer had a reason to write this. Jesus is the Bread of Life for the multitudes. He is also the Lamb of God who was slain for the multitudes.

⁃ This miracle points us to Jesus who multiplied the bread and who is also the Passover Lamb.


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