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Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx
Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx

Episode 89 · 8 months ago

Jesus, Plus Your Nothing, Equals Everything You Need

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Jesus, Plus Your Nothing, Equals Everything You Need

John 6:1-15

Dax Bryant - Preaching

John Chapter Six. If you close your bibles, open those back up to John Chapter six. Will be resuming our study here after taking a week off last week, in John's Gospel, John Chapter six, and we'll be looking at those fifteen verses that Ed read for us. There's a man by the name of Bertrand Russell. Perhaps you've heard of him. He was a British philosopher who who spent most of his adult life trying to prove, or at least claiming, that there was no god. He was an atheist, and he was once asked, if he found himself one day standing before the judgment seat of God, what he would say to God on that day, and his reply was this. He said I would look him in the eye and say not enough evidence, God, not enough evidence. That's startling, isn't it? Of course, when you look around, God has given us plenty of evidence, enough evidence to hold us accountable for our sin. But but, given what we've seen in the gospel of John, where we're John's whole burden is to provide evidence after evidence after evidence that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and in this passage this morning we have even more of that evidence. Right here on display for us in the feeding of the five thousand, very familiar story. John, in his Gospel presents this sign as the fourth sign of the Gospel, here by Jesus, and this, this particular events, this particular miracle, is of such significance that, apart from the resurrection, it's the only miracle that's mentioned in all four gospels. That perhaps indicates that this is important, that we have something to learn here from this. And not only is this the only miracle that appears in all four gospels, but it's also unique in several other ways. First of all, this miracle takes place on a massive, massive scale. Thousands of people witnessed this, but even more than that, they didn't just observe it happening, it happened to them. They they experienced at the crowd participated in this miracle. And it's also unique because this miracle wasn't a miracle of transformation, like when he turned the water into wine. This miracle wasn't a miracle of restoration, like when he commanded the the invalid to get up and walk on those legs that hadn't worked. This is a miracle of multiplication. We might we may even say this is a miracle of creation, creating more than what would be possible to create given the materials at hand. This is a monumental miracle, that that testifies to the Deity of Jesus Christ and of course that fits very well with John's stated purpose for writing this Gospel, doesn't it? And and we are going to take a closeup look at this thing this morning. But before we do that I want to take a moment just to remind us of where we have been the last six months or so as we've looked at John's Gospel. If you remember, chapter one opens with that overture, that that poetic description by John, that that testifies to the deity of Jesus, and then chapter one extends that witness out as as John the Baptist adds his testimony and the early disciples of Jesus add their testimony. And then we come to chapters two through four, which is this series of conversations and miracles that all validate the claim that Jesus is the son of God. There's the wedding at Cana with the water into wine, there's the cleansing of the temple, there's the conversation with Nicodemus, there is the conversation with the woman at the well and Samaria. There is also the healing the official son right at the end of chapter four, and that brings us to chapter five, which recounts another miracle. This is what we looked at two weeks ago, the the healing of three weeks ago, the healing of the the invalid, the man at the pool of Bethesda, and that that miracle, if you remembers, sparked this verbal confrontation between Jesus and the religious authorities where Jesus gave this long speech that takes up most of chapter five, again kind of affirming the accusation that he was claiming to be the son of God, and he gave them evidence after evidence that that was indeed the case. And we know that...

...the religious leaders understood his claims because of the way they reacted to him. They didn't believe him, they rejected his claims, they rejected his person but they understood it, so much so that we're told at the end of chapter five that they even began at that moment to seek to try to work out how best to kill him. Now we come to chapter six and as we look at chapter six. Actually we're going to see the same exact pattern that we saw in chapter five. There is a miracle, actually there's there's two miracles at the front end here of chapter six, but then that will be followed by a speech from Jesus about his deity that will be followed by rejection from the people and even culminate in a desire to kill him. So for this morning we're going to look just at the first miracle here in chapter six, in these first fifteen verses. And and the big idea this morning, it's the the idol of the sermon is that that Jesus plus your nothing equals everything you need. The simple equation, but one that you must have down. Jesus plus your nothing equals everything you need. And to help us get there, we're going to approach this passage like so. So first we will introduce the detailed orientation in verses one through four, the detailed orientation. Then we'll consider the disciples examination, the disciples examination in versus five through nine. In verses ten through thirteen will discover the divine solution, the divine solution, and finally, in verses fourteen and fifteen, we will survey the dangerous reaction, the dangerous reaction from the crowds. So Jesus plus you're nothing equals everything you need. So let's let's dig into this here. Up First, the detailed orientation, verse one Chapter Six. Verse One. After this, Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberius. So chapter six even opens the same way that chapter five did. After this, right and and again, we're not told exactly how much time has passed here. We don't know how much time has elapsed since the healing and that speech at Bethesda. The only clue we get is in verse four, where we learned that this was around the time of the Passover. So, depending on which feast that is unnamed back in Chapter Five, verse one, depending on when that was, this event here in chapter six could be taking place anywhere from six to twelve months after that. In any event, enough time has gone by now that we find Jesus no longer in Jerusalem but back in Galilee. If you remember, in Chapter Five, last time we saw him he was there in Jerusalem. So what's he doing in Galilee now? Well, quite obviously he's avoiding Jerusalem because he's very much aware that the desire now is to try to kill him. That's what the religious leaders are planning, and that day will certainly come, but only as it unfolds on guide, on God's divine timetable. So for now Jesus retreats to the relative isolation up North in Galilee. And even though Jesus is Ministry in Galilee, isn't mentioned a lot in John's Gospel. We want to remember he spent over a year there performing miracles and healing the sick and teaching about the Kingdom of God. And he has become popular, or enough that now wherever he goes, massive crowds follow after him. So we come here to chapter six, verse one, and it we pick up the story kind of abruptly. Do you feel that all of a sudden here we have Jesus in a boat crossing the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberius, the text mentions after a a Roman emperor it was. It was called the Sea of Tiberius by the time John wrote this Gospel. But it feels like we're just kind of jumping right into the middle of the story here. We're just in the boat. Why is Jesus going to the other side of the lake. What what happened? What prompted that? What did we miss? And this is where we can turn to the other Gospel accounts to help fill in some of the historical gaps around this setting. So in the gospel of Matthew we discovered that just prior to this, John had received word of John...

...the Baptists execute. Jesus had received word of John the Baptists execution. In the gospel of Luke we read that that Herod was hearing these different things about Jesus and he was perplexed by it and he was trying to seek him out, trying to bring him in for questioning. In the gospel of Mark, we learned that the twelve disciples had just returned from being sent out by Jesus to Minister in the area and that that so many people were coming and going that they didn't even have time to eat. So put all that together. Jesus and his disciples. They need time to grieve John's death, they need to keep a low profile from Herod, they need to debrief what happened on their recent missions trip and they simply just need time to be nurtured and to rest and recover. It has been an intense period of ministry in these men's lives, full of physical and emotional turmoil, and they need some time away from the crowds. So that's what they're doing in the boat. They're crossing the Sea of Galilee in this boat, coming from the the western side of the lake, which is more populous, going east to the more desolate part of the lake, and and they do this because they want to have this important time alone together. However, we read in verse two a large crowd was following him because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick marks. Gospel again tells us that the crowds saw them going and actually ran ahead of them, not so much because they were genuine to disciples of Jesus, but because they saw the miracles. They saw the signs, and again we're reminded that in scripture no one ever denies the miracles that Jesus was doing. But these crowds had the same kind of superficial faith that that Jesus is already condemned a couple of times in this gospel. It was only the hope of being healed that that drew them to Jesus. It wasn't Jesus himself, it was what he might be able to do for them. And and now notice verse three. Jesus went up on the mountain and there he sat down with his disciples. So he he intends to do what they need to do to spend some time alone together. And now when it says mountain, here this this is not a mountain like maybe what you're picturing. This is this is just referring to the higher ground that kind of rises off the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It's the area we know today as the goal and heights. And then John Inserts verse for now. The Passover, the Feast of the Jews was at hand. That that seems kind of random to throw that in there, so let's let's just file that away from now make a mental note of that. We'll come back to that later. So this is the detailed orientation of our passage. Some time around the time of Passover, a physically and emotionally drained Jesus and his disciples retreat to the the High Ground East of the Sea of Galilee to get some time away together. But they are followed by the crowds and so, with that scene now set, that brings us to the disciples examination. So from the detailed orientation now to the disciples examination, verse five, lifting up his eyes then and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him. And again we can we can turn to some of the other gospels to to help fill in the gaps here. We learn elsewhere that the crowds were waiting for Jesus when he stepped off the boat, and and we know that he spent time with the people that whole day, healing them, teaching them, speaking about the Kingdom of God. And he did all of this, mark tells us, because he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So even though he himself is exhausted, his heart goes out to this crowd because they are suffering physically, because they are lost spiritually, and and he's as he's there ministering among them, the day and the hour grows later and finally his disciples come to him and they tell him that he needs to send the crowds away into the Sur sound in villages so that they can buy food. Now we...

...have to remember it's not like these people were going to die if they didn't have dinner this night. Right they but the fact is they had traveled a long way, they'd been out in the hot sun all day listening to Jesus. Somehow sending them away hungry, angry, tired. It wouldn't be right. In fact, it would probably even detract some from the message that they had heard Jesus say. And so Jesus, he sees all of us happening, this whole dynamic unfolding, and he turns to a disciple and he asks him a seemingly impossible question. Still in verse five, Jesus said to Philip, where are we to buy bread so that these people may eat? Now Jesus Addresses Philip here, which makes sense. Philip was from Bethsidea, which is not too far away from this area where they were at. But this is a preposterous situation. They are in a desolate place, Marks Gospel tells us. So why is Jesus asking this question? Is He stomped? Does he need advice? Did he did he get in over his head here? Luckily, we don't have to guess at the reason why Jesus asked this question. The EX tells us the very next verse, verse six, he said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do, meaning Jesus already had a plan, he had this whole thing already worked out. This, this seemingly impossible situation, was actually an opportunity designed by Jesus to test the faith of Philip and the other disciples. And, in the light of this examination, this this test, imagine if Philip would have responded this way. Lord, why are you asking me that question? We know that you are the maker of everything. We have seen the miracles that you can do. Surely this is not beyond your ability to provide for instead for seven? Philip answered him. Two hundred denari worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little. Now, look at that response. He doesn't even answer Jesus question, does he? He just replies with some statistics. Two hundred Denari. One Denarius, as I'm sure you know, was about a day's wage for a laborer. So two hundred Denari is approximately eight months were of wages. And so Philip saying, even if we had the money and even if there was a place nearby where we could go buy this bread. Now we don't have the money and there's nowhere nearby that has that much bread. But even if we did, and even if we could, eight months worth of pay would not be enough to buy enough bread so that each person here could have even just a little bite. I have to confess I like Philip. He's my kind of guy. He is very practical, he has done the math, he has assessed the situation. There is no impulsive decision making here, just a precise, calculated response. The problem is it's really no response at all. And and for those of you like Philip, and I'm in this boat with Philip, a responseive faith sometimes requires that we lay down our calculators and close our spreadsheets and trust Jesus to make what seems impossible to us to be possible. Every single person in this room, I know, has some problem. There's something in your life going on right now the which is a big problem. Oftentimes, at least we can point to one thing in our lives where we are convinced that that this problem is maybe just a little too big even for Jesus to handle. Now, I know we wouldn't say that. I'm talking about what what you might think when you when you're lying in your bed at night, you've got this problem, you've considered all the options, you've thought about this from every possible angle. This is no doubt an impossible situation and you've given yourself over to...

...that. You've become discouraged and downcast and defeatist about it. No matter which way you look at this, you realize that you don't have the resources, you don't have the manpower, you don't have the skill or the intelligence to solve this. This problem is just too big for you. Have you been there? Good, somebody's honest and listen. That's okay. That's exactly where Jesus wants you, isn't it? That's exactly where Jesus steps in when you come to the end of yourself and your resources and you realize that the help that you most deeply need can only come from outside of you, not from whatever you can muster up within you. Now, I don't want to be overly simplistic and sound cliche here. I run the risk of this, but this is nevertheless true. There is no problem, no matter how insurmountable it seems, that is too big for Jesus Christ to handle. And we can say that confidently because of who Jesus is the very fact that he is truly fully human, that that he is our great high priest who sympathizes with our every weakness and temptation. Yet he remained without sin. Not only is he at the father's right hand, interceding for us every hour of every day, but because of his sacrifice, he has opened the way for us now to boldly approach the throne of grace and find help and mercy in our time of need. There is no problem too big that he can't deal with. That includes the problems of this community, the problems of this state, the problems of this country, the problems of this world. And boy there are problems, and perhaps a little bit more personally for you, this includes the problem in your marriage, the problem in your family, the problem in your workplace, the problem in your school, the problem in your church. There is no problem to beg for Jesus to handle. And have you considered, then, when you are burdened down by these problems, that that perhaps that very problem that is burdening you has been introduced and designed, just like with Philip here, it's been introduced and designed by Jesus to test you, to test your confidence, to test your faith in Jesus that that is a very different perspective to have on problems and that will change the way you respond to those problems. The disciples don't get that here. Right back to back to their test, to the their examination and and we move from Philip and now we see Andrew Pipe up and at first Andrews response seems to be a little bit better than Phillips. Right Verse Eight, one of his disciples, Andrew Simon, Peter's brother, said to him there is a boy here who has five barley loaves and to fish. Now, if he had stopped right there, this is a pretty good answer. I mean at least he'd been out in the crowd kind of looking around, figuring out what might be done. And imagine if when he came across this young boy with with the bread and the fish, if you would have said to this young lad, let me, let me borrow your lunch, son and and keep your eye on Jesus, you are going to be amazed what he can do with this. Instead he says there is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they for? So many now, these these barley loaves, poor man's bread. You might think of it. This is not a nice steaming loaf of bread like what you might be picturing. These are. These are more like crackers, dry and crumbly. Then they are like loaves of bread like we're used to. So so five of these barley crackers or cakes and a couple of small fish, fish most likely pickled for preservation purposes.

The point is, there's no way to feed all of these people with that. Shouldn't have. Shouldn't Philip and and Andrew have known better than this? Both of their responses. They really betray a failure to to understand, a failure to recognize in a preciate who Jesus is. And and if it sounds like I'm being too hard on these these disciples, remember what they've already witnessed. They've already seen Jesus perform many mighty works. Yet, yes, the the big ones that John is included in his gospel for us to see already. But even just that very day they'd seen what Jesus had done, working in and among the crowds, healing the sick, and they've already seen what he can do. And now they're failing to consider that this same one who is who's in their midst asking where we to buy bread so that these people may eat. He is the only one who has the power that they've witnessed, to solve that problem. And they it's like they don't even consider that as an option. So Jesus has given his disciples a test and examination and they've failed it miserably. And so now Jesus will reveal to them the divine solution. So from the disciples examination now to the divine solution. Verse Ten. Jesus said, have the people sit down now. There was much grass in the place, so the men sat down, about five thousand in number. So the disciples, they've just given their advice to Jesus that he needs to send all of these people away because there's no way they can feed every one who's here. and Jesus says in response, no, just just have them sit down again. In Marks Gospel he tells them to have them sit down in groups of fifty or a hundred, just just kind of there in the Nice Green grass on the on the slopes of this hill. And I think that little detail about the grass they're just just confirms that this was indeed springtime. This was around the time of the Passover. We're just reminded of that again. Don't forget to hold onto that. And then John says, also what is mentioned in the other three gospels, that that there were about five thousand men and Matthew ads, of course, besides women and children. So do I need to point out the obvious, right? If if this is five thousand men and and most of them are married and they brought a couple kids, I mean we're easily talking ten, fifteen, maybe more ten or fifteen thousand. This is a huge group of people. So sort of try to picture that. There they all are, they're sitting down in these large groups, as they've been instructed to do. It must have taken a while for the for the word to kind of spread and trickle through the crowd about who needs to sit where and all of those kinds of things. And then they're all settled in place and it grows very quiet. Every eye is turned back to Jesus and maybe they're whispering. What are we doing? Why did he tell us to sit down? What what's he going to do next? Verse Eleven. Jesus then took the loaves and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish. That's it. No voice from heaven, no thunder or lightning, no smoke and mirrors. Jesus just takes this little bit of food, thanks God for it and starts passing it out and then keeps passing it out and keeps passing it out and keeps passing it out. In the verse eleven, as much as they wanted, he just kept passing out these little crackers and fish and again, imagine this crowd, slowly, I'm sure, as it kind of dawned on them what was happening. More whispers, some some murmurs, kind of growing into a roar from the crowd as they realize the miracle that Jesus was performing in their midst. But as we look at this very familiar miracle, I wants to think about a couple of things. I don't know if...

...you're weird like me and you think about these things when you read these kinds of passages, but first of all, I wonder why did Jesus do it this way? Right? Why not? Why not just snap his fingers and instantly create piles of food for everyone to see? I don't know. I don't know for sure, but I was thinking about this this week. Right now I'm in the middle of kind of teaching our two oldest kids to drive, and I was thinking about how you do that. You know, you I could just jump in the driver's seat and and grab the wheel and, you know, take them around and pull back into the parking lot or the the driveway at home and say, well, that's how it's done and throw on the keys. Good luck. That's one way to teach it. or I could help them get in the driver's seat, teach them how to move the seat where they need to be for comfortability, where to put their hands, where to put their feet, where to put their eyes, and let them feel and experience what it's like to drive themselves again. I don't know for sure, but I think it's possible that something like that is going on here. Is Jesus works to in evolve the disciples in this process, and that's again in Marks Gospel, is especially pointed out. And another question that comes to mind is why would Jesus use this food, pickled fish and poor man's bread? Why not turn that into smoked salmon on sour dough? That sounds a lot better. I think Jesus. Part of this is Jesus wanting his disciples and everyone to see that no matter what they had, no matter how menial or tiny they're apparent resources, seemed that if they gave it to him, he could use it. A very little becomes a great much when God is in it. And as we think about ourselves, I wonder, do you ever ask or wonder what, what can someone like me really do for Jesus? What do I have to offer? What can I do for the kingdom? I I'm not rich, I'm not a specially gifted that I can tell in any way. What can I do I have so little? Or maybe you might think, what can a small church like Grace Bible Church really do for God? We're I mean frankly, we're a bunch of nobodies. But part of the lesson here is that in the hands of Jesus, that that little from a nobody becomes something that is hugely significant in the hands of God. When you give Jesus back whatever he's given you, small as it may be, he can use that a hundredfold in his kingdom. That's why Jesus thanks God for the food. I think because it helps his disciples and us to remember that the first thing we need to do, with however little we have, is to recognize and acknowledge that what we might have, that comes from God in the first place. So really we have nothing of our own. We take what God has given us, however much, however little, and we give that back to him. And notice the extent of this miracle. To An in verse twelve. And when they had eaten their fill, the whole crowd, ever, many thousands of people, this was when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples gather up the leftover fragments that nothing may be lost. I mean, this is a miracle. Don't don't lose sight of how amazing this story in the midst of how familiar this story is. Every one had all that they wanted to eat from this from this little bit, and you know it's it was popular, and may still be popular in some circles, Christian denomination circles, to say that the real miracle, in fact the only miracle in this story, was when the little boy got out his lunch and everyone else saw that he got out his lunch, and so they got out their lunches to and they all shared together and the the real miracle was what took place in their hearts in the desire...

...to share what they had with others. But that's complete nonsense right that? That that rips the guts out of this entire story. Now, if you go into this assuming in advance that miracles cannot occur, well then, yeah, you have to make this text means something else other than what it means. But the truth is this is a miracle of massive proportions and that's why it's in all four Gospel accounts. And this, this here, what Jesus does here is is proof that he is Lord of all, that he is the king of creation, that he is the master of every molecule. This demonstrates the power of his will, the power of his might, his his creativeness and it and it gives us just a little foretaste of the new creation and what might be in store for us there. So it definitely reveals this is strength and power and might, and at the same time this miracle also reveals the compassion of our sovereign king. Think about it. Jesus is concerned with something as inconsequential as making sure everybody had lunch. Sometimes we think our problems are too big for Jesus to handle. A lot of times we think our problems are too small to even bring to Jesus, but the truth is Jesus provides to meet even the smallest needs of our lives. In the sermon on the Mount, Jesus says not to worry about what you will drink or or eat or where, because the father knows that you need these things, and if you seek God's kingdom first, then all these other things will be given to you as well. So both of these things are true that we need to hold onto. From the story, Jesus is a sovereign and powerful king, mighty in his works, but also there is no limit to his compassion and his mercy and his kindness, even in the little things. That means, believer, you must not be anxious about Jesus meeting your needs. We can just look at this story. In this case, the people's needs were lavishly met. They had all they wanted and then some. And after everyone has had their fill, the amount gathered up at the end was even more than what they'd started with in the beginning, right verse thirteen. So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. Now, the fact that there were twelve baskets used here is almost certainly significant. It was at least enough to provide lunch for each of the twelve disciples and perhaps a bit more symbolically, it demonstrates that Jesus has enough to spiritually supply the needs of the Jewish people, the the tribes of Israel. But but don't you just wonder what was running through the disciples minds in the middle of all this? They they've they failed this test that Jesus has given him. Now they're sitting there eating the lunch that Jesus had supplied. And again, through this whole experience, it wasn't so much that they doubted Jesus, it was more like they just hadn't even really considered Jesus. And and to make things worse, this this same dynamic is virtually repeated when Jesus feeds the four thousand. They go through the same thing again, that the disciples saw Jesus performing miracles on a daily basis. I mean, what's it going to take for these guys to get it? Because we would never be like this right. We never live our lives without considering Jesus, what he might have us do, what he might empower us to do. We never say things like Lord, I just I don't think you really understand my problem. I'm not sure you can relate to how I'm feeling in this I've thought it all through. Them there's no solution, when instead we ought to remember all the things that we have already seen God do in our lives and say, God, I have next to nothing to offer you, there is nothing I can bring to this equation, but I know that my nothing plus you is everything I need. You're all that I need and I trust that you are more than sufficient to deal with this problem. And then, and then what? Then you give that problem to God and...

...you trust him for the outcome, even if it's different than what you expect, even if it's different than what you think is best. So here you have the disciples thinking things like this, probably trying to trying to get their act together after failing this test and then witnessing the divine solution. But in the meantime, the the enthusiasm of the crowd out is turning into something even more troubling. So let's let's look at the dangerous reaction. Now, verse fourteen. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said this is indeed the Prophet who has come into the world. Now, remember they had followed him all the way out to this desolate place because of the signs, right. Remember verse two. And now the crowds, having witnessed this undeniable miracle, they arrive at a conclusion. And here's the thing. Their conclusion is correct. However, their reaction couldn't be more wrong. So they say this is indeed the Prophet. That's a fairly unusual way to refer to Jesus. So what's this about? This is about you. You read this week. This week, if you were reading in your Church Bible reading plan, Deuteronomy Eighteen, Moses says they're in Deuteronomy eighteen. The Lord, your God, will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers. It is to him you shall listen. So step back with me and ask yourself, does this whole scenario of sound familiar? There's not enough food. Where are we going to get food? There's not enough here to feed all these people. And then a miraculous provision of food from God. Yes, that's what happened in this story. It's also exactly what happened with with Moses and the people of Israel wandering in the Wilderness. Peter, when he's preaching in acts chapter three, he confirms in his sermon that Deuteronomy eighteen is indeed talking about Jesus, that that Jesus is the Prophet that Moses spoke of. So the crowd. They get that part right. But what do they do now, recognizing that he is the prophet? Do they do what Moses said and listen to him? Do they wait and listen to see what he might have to say? No, Verse Fifteen, perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force, to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself. They see him as the Prophet. Rightly, they want to force him to be their king. This is the guy they need. He can heal everybody, he can feed everybody. What could stand in the way of a man like this being the powerful liberator from Rome that they've been waiting for? And now, I think we finally can appreciate a why? John includes verse four that now the Passover, the Feast of the Jews was at hand. You have to realize what the pastover mint to first century Jews. It's a little bit like what the Fourth of July once meant to most Americans, except on steroids, especially with the nation under Roman occupation. Passover was the time when Israeli nationalism and Messianic anti anticipations swelled to a fever pitch, because during the pass over, what was fresh in everyone's minds was the story of the exodus, of course, when Moses had led their ancestors out of bondage of each to Egypt and right to the very edge of the promised land. Now, if Moses, the first prophet, could do such a thing, then surely the Greater Prophet that Moses spoke of would lead them out from under the Iron Fist of Rome. But Jesus, he's not doing that, not now. If he'd wanted to do that, he could hardly have hoped for a better opportunity than this. Right he's at the height of his popularity. He has the people on his side. The Passover is a a natural rallying point for the nation. If ever there was the time, now was the time. If you'll pardon...

...me, for some recent campaign slogans. This was the time to build back better or, if you prefer, to make Israel great again. But for God's people, placing your hope in a political messiah was as shortsighted then as it remains today. It was it was never Jesus intention to lead the people in that way. The problem is the crowd doesn't care. They are more than willing to force the issue. And and five thousand men there, that is nothing to shake a stick at. They would declare him to be their king, they would begin their rebellion and then they would dare the authorities to respond again. Mark tells us that this crowd was like a sheep without a shepherd. I think a lot of times when we read that we read that kind of like a church without a pastor. But this exact phrase POPs up a couple of times in the Old Testament, and and it means something quite different than a church without a pastor. One example is in numbers twenty seven. This is where, following Moses's Sin Striking the Rock, God tells him that he will not be the one to lead the nation of Israel in the promised land. And and Moses says to God, let the Lord to point a man over the congregation, who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep that have no shepherd. And then, in response to Moses's request, there God Commissions Joshua to assume command of the army of Israel to take possession of the promised land. This is a military metaphor. It's not that the crowds pressing in on Jesus are a church without a pastor. It's more like they are an army without a general, and Jesus sympathizes with that situation. He has compassion on them in this situation, but he knows that the sort of king they are expecting will not only divert them from the things that matter the most, but they would also lead them into a conflict with Rome. That would be disastrous, and so he refuses to come to them on their terms. He perceives what they're planning, what they're cooking up, and he will have none of it. And that, friends that's something for us to consider too. Right that Jesus will not be manipulated for selfish ends. He will not allow himself to be a quick fix for your felt in needs. He's not interested in providing you with with just a temporary patch, shortlived satisfaction. Jesus himself knew that the way his kingdom would triumph would be not by besting the enemy in the arena of politics or warfare or social reform. Are Those things implications of the Gospel? Yes, but chiefly here Jesus's victory plan is in the suffering, dying and rising again from the dead that he would endure. Ed clowney put it this way. Speaking of Jesus. He said he would go to Jerusalem not to wield the spear and bring the judgment, but to receive the spear thrust and bear the judgment. Oh, he is a king, but he rules a kingdom like no other. The evidence here is plain to see that Jesus is the Prophet and the people, they are willing to follow him, willing to make him their king, but for all the wrong reasons. They were taken up with what they imagined he might do for them, some of them, I imagine. We're probably even just swept up into the enthusiasm of the crowd, which leads me to ask. Then what about you? What about you? Because, just like in this story, the evidence that Jesus is the son of God is there for all with ears to hear and eyes to see, and so you may indeed draw the right conclusion of who Jesus is,...

...you can still run the risk of coming to him with the wrong motivation. So ask yourself, why is it that you do want Jesus? Why come to him? Is it because of what you think he might do for you, what he might add to your life? Is it possible you're just following the crowd, or even seeking just to please someone and hoping that others might think better of you if you come to Jesus? or It's possible that that maybe you're sitting there and you're not sure that you really do want Jesus. Maybe you're thinking I have nothing to offer God. I have wandered so far away from him for so long that even if I had something to bring, even if I could give him something to make it right, he wouldn't have me. Well, in one sense you're right, in one sense you're wrong. You are right that you have nothing within yourself to make it right with Jesus. There's nothing you can bring, nothing you can do on your own to make it right. But you are called to give God whatever you have, including your doubt, your weakness, your fear, your anger, your resentment. You're hurt and as you do offer to Jesus whatever you have, you have to realize a couple of things. Number one, you have to realize that God wants to help you, that God wants to pour His grace upon you. It says in Isaiah, Chapter Thirty, verse eighteen, there's this promise. The Lord waits to be gracious to you and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. So he wants to help you. Secondly, you have to realize that God is powerful enough to help you. He can do it, that there's there's no problem too big for him to handle, no problem too small for him to care about. You have to see God rightly for who he is, so that you can see yourself rightly for who you are, so that you can surrender all of your deficiencies to his infinite excellencies. Elizabeth Elliott, everyone know who that is. Heard that name if you don't Google her. She she said it like this quote. If the only thing you have to offer is a broken heart. You offer a broken heart. So, in a time of grief, the recognition that this, this broken heart, is material for sacrifice has been a very great strength for me, realizing that nothing, I have, nothing I am, will be refused on the part of Christ. I simply give it to him, as the little boy gave Jesus his five loaves and two fishes, with the same feeling of the disciples when they said, what is the good of that for such a crowd? Still Elizabeth Elliott here. Naturally, in almost anything I offered a Christ, my reaction would be, what is the good of that? The point is, the use he makes of it is none of my business. It is his business, it is his blessing. So this grief, this loss, that is suffering, this pain, whatever it is, which at the moment is God's means of testing my faith and bringing me to the recognition of who he is. That is the thing I can offer. Do you have nothing to give, then that's what you give. Jesus accepts you when you come to him, not with the hopes of what he might do for you, but in humble recognition of who he is and what he has done for you. If you trust in his name. He is the son of God, who suffered and died, was buried and rose again and now has ascended to heaven, where he pleads for you day and night. And when you come to him, believing that with your whole heart, with nothing to offer him, accept a broken and contrite heart, he gives you life, not a perfect life, not a life without problems, but...

...life in its fullness, as can only be experienced in him, starting now and reaching into eternity. Jesus plus, you're nothing, is everything you need. So give that to him, give all you can to him, ask him for His grace. Watch what he will do with the little you have. We sang it earlier, but I'll close with this. Nothing in my hand, I bring simply to the cross, I cling naked. Come to thee for dress, helpless, look to thee for grace, foul, I to the fountain. Fly, wash me, savior, or I die. Let's pray. Lord, you are God and your words are true and you have promised goodness to your servants. We have nothing to bring you, but you have left us nothing to ask from your hands which you've not already freely given us. Lord, established the word which you have spoken concerning your servants. Do as you have said. Let your name be magnified forever for Your glory. Amen.

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