Thursday, June 05, 2014

Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?

One or two notes taken from a sermon by one of our ministers some years ago. This is a summary not a verbatim quote.

John 6 v5-6 "When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?  6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do".

Points made were: 1. the problem; and 2. the solution.

1. The hungry people would have been amazed to be told that the Most High was to use the events of that day by putting it into Scripture for posterity. The people had no food. Philip was looking at the problem, rather than looking at Christ. He was forgetting how the Saviour turned the water into wine at the wedding in Cana, and how He healed many of their diseases in the previous few days. Philip was also forgetting the Law and the Prophets, the Old Testament books which told of the Lord's dealings, for example the children of Israel being fed with manna and quails from heaven. Philip was overlooking the Lord's mercy, love, intercession and promises to His people.

2. The solution. The Lord told them to feed the crowd with the barley loaves and small fish. The barley bread was the least tasty of the Jewish baking, and small fish would be less tasty and substantial than large ones. So is the gospel to natural unregenerate man. It is insipid and without attraction to him.

The food was handed out by disciples but it was really Christ who was giving it to the people. Some in the crowd might have not wanted the food from them. So, we have to be careful that we're not looking to this preacher, or that one in particular, for a blessing. It's the Lord who's dividing the word of truth. An old elder used to say that if you're looking to man in the preaching, it's the man you will get; and if you're looking for Christ, it's Christ you will get.

The smallest fragment in the hand of the disciples was feeding the people. When you get a taste of Christ from one portion of Scripture or hearing preaching on one of His works or attributes, you are really getting Him all.

But how did He spread five loaves and two fish between twelve disciples in the first place? He had to break these items of food. In doing that, He was preaching Himself. He had to be broken Himself. As the great High Priest he was to offer Himself as a sacrifice. The veil of the temple was to be torn, just as His body was broken on the cross.

The fragments were gathered: it would be good for us to discuss the word and preaching afterwards so it sticks in the mind. Spoke of a man, over 100 years old, who'd emigrated to the USA from Scotland in his youth. One day the man remembered a church service back in Scotland, where the preacher had refused in tears to pronounce the benediction at the end of the service, asking the congregation how he could possibly bless them when they were not converted. This worked on the old man's conscience as he recalled it all these years later. It was blessed to his soul.