“Our Crisis = His Opportunity”

Posted: October 1, 2015 in Christian Life, Compassion, Gospel, Gospel of John, Promises, Salvation

“Impossibilities. Everyone can list a few. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. You can’t get blood out of a turnip. You can’t make a crab walk straight.” – C. Swindoll. But did you know that great opportunities are often disguised as unsolvable problems?

Jesus’ disciples had seen Him turn water into wine, heal a nobleman’s son from a distance, and enable a man, who had been lame for 38 years, to walk. But what could/would Jesus do with thousands of hungry people who were following Him almost everywhere He went?

The Occasion. This particular event took place (1) after John the Baptizer was beheaded by King Herod who had been denounced for being an adulterer (John 3:24; Matthew 4:12; 14:1-14; Mark 6:14-31). John probably hadn’t thought much about being imprisoned as he was or to the possibility that he would be beheaded (Matthew 11:3). Jesus knew that His disciples needed a break from this traumatic event. So He told them to “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest for awhile” (Mark 6:31). Yes, we all need time off from work and vacations. But did you know that God has provided a “moment by moment rest” for believers who will mix His promises with faith (Hebrews 4:2-9). This event also happened (2) after Jesus saw thousands of people, on their way to observe the Passover, coming to Him to meet their physical needs through sign miracles (John 3:2; 6:2-5). Sadly, many of they weren’t concerned about their spiritual condition or their need to repent (i.e., change their mind) about Him as the promised Messiah and the Son of God (John 20:31; Matthew 16:16). They needed to see themselves as sinners who were in need of trusting in Him alone as their personal Savior (John 1:29). What concerns you the most – physical, emotional, or spiritual things? Do you know when to flee and when to fight (2 Timothy 2:22; James 4:7).

The Opportunity. In this crisis situation there was an opportunity to meet the real need of over 5,000 hungry people (John 6:10). Many of us in this country know very little about real hunger as people do in other countries. But Even in the affluent society of modern America, fourteen million children live in poverty. Twelve million of them suffer from constant hunger, and in parts of the country more than one-fourth of all children never get enough nourishment…On any given night in the USA, one hundred thousand homeless children live on the streets. People below eighteen are the fastest-growing group among the homeless.” – Kenneth Gangle, John, p. 116. Jesus planned to feed their hungry stomachs before telling them about their greater spiritual need of receiving Him as “The Bread of Life” (John 6:35, 48). Sadly, most of them weren’t interested in their own spiritual well being. Jesus said, “Labor not for the food that perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give to you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him” (John 6:27).

The Responses. The disciples failed to recall the previous sign miracles that Jesus had performed (Mark 8:14). They were like the disciples on their way to Emmaus, who were “slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets [had] spoken” (Luke 24:25). They were stuck with a human viewpoint. When Jesus asked Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” he responded by saying, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little” (John 6:5-7). Andrew found a boy with five barley loaves and two small fish and said, “but what are they among so many” (John 6:8)? They failed to look at the situation from a Divine viewpoint. Do you think you would have done anything differently if you had been there? Consider these people’s response. After they had been fed to the full, they wanted to make Jesus their King. After all, they thought that if Jesus could feed 5,000 people from five small barley loaves and two small fish, he could provide for them the “Ultimate Welfare State” in which they would have all their physical needs provided for them.

The Reaction. “Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone” (John 6:15). Wait a minute.  Hadn’t Jesus come to be the King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2)? Why didn’t He take them up on their offer? It would have been on their terms, not on His or God the Father’s terms or according to His timing (Psalm 2:7ff). After being tempted by the devil in the wilderness for 40 days, Satan legitimately offered to Jesus the kingdoms of this world if Jesus would bow down and worship him (Matthew 4:9).  Of course, Jesus didn’t do that.  Remember that Satan also told Eve that she would be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil, if she just ate the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:5)? Yes, after eating of it, she did gain that knowledge, and became like God in that one area, but it wasn’t what God wanted for her or Adam and in the process their natures became sinful natures (Romans 5:12; 7:15-25). This is why we all need to be “born from above” so we can participate in the Divine nature (John 3:3-6; 2 Peter 1:4). Are you being tempted to do something independently of God and not according to God’s Word or His timing? “…for whatsoever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).

The Sufficient One. As the God-man, Jesus had/has the ability to meet all of our needs, whether they be physical, emotional, and/or spiritual needs. “…[God] is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20). The Apostle Paul wrote, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). The Psalmist admonishes us to “Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name…” (Psalm 103:1ff).  Please take time to read about some of God’s benefits in this Psalm.

Questions. What kind of perspective do you have – A human one or Divine one? How much faith do you have in God and His promises? How often do you use words like these? “It can’t be done.” “It won’t work.” “It’s impossible to do.” What crisis situation are you facing right now? How big is your God? The Psalmist wrote, “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together” (Psalm 34:3). The Apostle Paul committed his readers to the Lord when he wrote, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20, 21). Absolutely nothing is too hard for the Lord (Jeremiah 32:17, 27; Luke 1:37; 18:27).  Is there a promise from God that you need to claim and mix with faith (Hebrews 4:2)?  Will you do it now?

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus,

but to trust and obey.”

Help. We’re here to help those who are teachable and willing to change (2 Timothy 2:2, 15; 3:16, 17). We can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com. If this article has helped you, we’d like to hear from you and ask you to share it with someone else too.  To receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”

Clear Gospel: http://www.cleargospel.org/wp-content/uploads/English-Display-Pkg-2014.pdf

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