Monday, July 16, 2012

What is the Node of Failure in Feeding the Masses?

In John 6:1-15, Jesus feeds 5,000 people with one boy's lunch.

Jesus challenges Philip, by asking him, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?”  John records that Jesus says this to test Philip, for Jesus already knew what he was going to do.

Keeping in mind that Jesus must have been taking every opportunity to train his men to carry on his mission after his departure, is there some key lesson that Jesus was teaching Philip and the rest of his disciples that is applicable to us today?

The need of the hour is 5,000 people who need food.  There is no way that the 12 were going to find a way to feed them.  They wouldn't have had enough money, and even if they did there was no place to buy it.  

What is the need of the hour today in my life?  In my family, battalion, workplace, school, what remains the significant need of the hour?  

Jesus later in the chapter tells his disciples that he is the bread of life.  The masses miss the spiritual meaning of this teaching, but the disciples seem to understand.  The disciples, having recently seen the feeding of the 5,000 know that not only does Jesus provide enough to meet our physical needs, but that Jesus himself, is sufficient for the spiritual hunger of the whole world.  

But back in the parable, what is the critical point of failure?  It is not Jesus, because he provides all the bread they need.  It is not the hungry masses, because they are all there.  Might it not be the 12 themselves, who Jesus relied upon to take the bread from Jesus to the hungry?  

Inside the circles of influence in which Christ has placed us, the critical node through which Jesus has chosen to feed the masses is me.  You.  All of us who are committed disciples.  Only we can share from the baskets the Bread of Life with those around us who are hungry.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
(Matthew 9:36-38 ESV)

No comments: