This past Sunday I began a new series of sermons on Questions People Asked Jesus. People asked Jesus a lot of questions and they asked for different reasons. Sometimes they were motivated by a genuine desire to know more. Sometimes they were motivated by a desire to trick Jesus or trip him up. Sometimes they were motivated by a desire to make themselves look good.
Jesus’ answers to those questions varied. Sometimes he answered with another question. Sometimes he didn’t answer. Sometimes he answered with his own clever comeback when they were trying to trip him up. Sometimes he answered with a parable. Sometimes his answer was a combination of these. Whatever his response was, the gospel writers have included them as moments for teaching us something.
Last Sunday I began the series with two questions from a legal expert: “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” and “Who is my neighbor?”
This Sunday the question comes from his disciples in response to human need. There is a crowd of people who have been with Jesus for several days and he points out to the disciples that they need something to eat. In the face of that need, they respond, “Where are we going to get enough food in this wilderness to satisfy such a big crowd?” Logistics! Supply and demand! Scarcity and abundance! The disciples are wrestling with these issues and just don’t see any way they can rise to the challenge of feeding all those people.
What are the challenges we face as individuals, as a city, a nation, and a global community? The question is even bigger than food, isn’t it? What resources do we have in the face of any challenge? I invite you to ponder these questions as you meditate on our scripture for Sunday:
Now Jesus called his disciples and said, “I feel sorry for the crowd because they have been with me for three days and have nothing to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry for fear they won’t have enough strength to travel.”
His disciples replied, “Where are we going to get enough food in this wilderness to satisfy such a big crowd?” Jesus said, “How much bread do you have?” They responded, “Seven loaves and a few fish.” He told the crowd to sit on the ground. He took the seven loaves of bread and the fish. After he gave thanks, he broke them into pieces and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. Everyone ate until they were full. The disciples collected seven baskets full of leftovers. Four thousand men ate, plus women and children. (Common English Bible)
I look forward to seeing you Sunday!
Grace and Peace,