Feeding the 5000 – Time to Eat

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

Last week, we saw that Jesus had mixed emotions. He was burdened with the news of John the Baptist’s death. At the same time, he rejoiced with the disciples who had returned from their successful ministry trips in Feeding the 5000 – Before the Feast.

Now they landed on shore and found a huge crowd ready to greet them. Jesus set his mixed emotions aside and had compassion for the people. As had been his pattern, He began healing the sick one by one.

I think about the temptation Jesus had in the wilderness. Remember when Satan wanted him to jump off the high pinnacle of the Temple and let the angels catch him? What a spectacular idea that was. It would dramatically show the people his great power.

But that was not the kind of Savior God had in mind. Instead, Jesus was to work in among the people, healing one by one, ministering to individuals, teaching small groups at a time. It’s unlikely that a crowd of 5000 could all hear him at once, no matter how strong a voice He had nor how much of an amphitheater the terrain provided. 

Eventually, the people would receive physical food, but first, He wanted to feed them the food of His words.

After a long day of healing and teaching, some of the disciples grew concerned about the people because they hadn’t eaten all day and they were in a rather remote place. They suggested that he—

“Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.” Matthew 14:15-16

John says that Jesus turned to Philip and asked,

“Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!” John 6:5-7

About that time, Andrew spoke up.

“There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?” John 6:8-9

At least Andrew looked around for a solution, but he, too, was doubtful.

Isn’t that like us? Full of questions and doubts. We get so one-sided about what can or cannot be done in a certain situation. We don’t think outside the box. What are other possibilities? Are we going to limit God? Could He possibly have a miracle in the making for us? 

Next week, we’ll watch Jesus organize and go into action.

~ Joyce ~

 

 

 

Peter – Name Change

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

Last week (in Peter, Part One), Andrew went to his brother, Simon, and declared to him that he had found the Messiah. We are given no comment from Simon. Not “You’ve gotta be kidding!” or “What makes you think that?” or “Praise the Lord!” Nothing.

We are told that Andrew brought Simon to Jesus, so I guess he was at least willing to come and see Him.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon, son of John, you will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter.) John 1:42

Thus the beginning of name changes for a few of the disciples. “Peter” meant stone or rock. He was anything but a solid rock early on with his impulsive, unstable personality, but in Acts he became the pillar of the early church. Jesus named him not for what he was but for what, by God’s grace, he would become.

How refreshing to know that God sees beyond the meager person I am to what He knows I can become when I submit to His power in me. After all, God created you and me with the gifts, personality, and interests we have. He sees our potential. Nothing can bind us if we stay connected to the vine. He can produce abundant fruit in us.

Well, back to our story. The next day, Jesus decided to leave from the area where John the Baptist had been preaching and go to Galilee, more specifically Bethsaida, Peter and Andrew’s hometown. Jesus seeks out another hometown boy, Philip. Maybe Andrew had also talked to Philip; we don’t know.

Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” John 1:43

Philip evidently had enthusiasm and faith because he, in turn, went to find his friend Nathaniel. He told him,

“We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and whom the prophet also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” John 1:45

Nathaniel gives us his famous line,

“Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” John 1:46 (NAS)

Philip persuades him to come and see. Thus we hear the conversation between Jesus and Nathaniel (later called “Bartholomew.”)

“Here is a true Israelite in whom nothing is false.”

“How do you know me?”

“I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”

You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that. I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending of the Son of Man.” John 1:47-51

John, Andrew and Peter, Philip and Nathaniel. Now there are five. No matter how untrained or unrestrained we are, God sees where we can be more than where we are. He can use us whether our personality is quiet and calm or boisterous and loud. He has a plan for each of us, beyond where we are today. He simply says, “Follow me.”

Next week, we’ll go to a wedding!

~ Joyce ~

 

 

Peter, Part One

 

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

It’s been a while since we have explored a Bible character while “Searching His Word and Seeking His Heart,” so let’s have a look at Peter.

Only one Peter is found in the Scriptures. Others could likely have been named Peter, but we only have info on this one and quite a character he is. What do you know about him? Perhaps you would say, “Peter was a disciple of Jesus, a fisherman, and the brother of Andrew from Bethsaida.” Yes, and so much more.

We have more stories and incidents where “Peter did… or Peter said…” than any other disciple. Perhaps that’s because Peter had a personality that was larger than life—always the bold one, the first with an opinion, out-spoken, impetuous, headlong, spontaneous, but unbridled. We never have to wonder what Peter was thinking. Perhaps that’s why his name pops up more than any of the other disciples of Jesus.

Peter’s birth name, Simon, means “he has heard” or “obedient.” He demonstrated aspects of hearing Jesus’ words, but often had to  be tested with fire to truly understand  Jesus’ heart. He proved obedient but bore many trials to get there.When we place ourselves in God’s hands, miracles can happen, but Jesus had his work cut out for him with this live firecracker.

We know that he had a brother, Andrew, who was most likely overshadowed by his domineering brother. Scripture only gives us two quotes from Andrew, but it is Andrew who first introduced Simon Peter to Jesus.

The back story is that, in the beginning, Andrew and John were early followers of John the Baptist. One day they heard John the Baptist say,

“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘a man who comes after me has surpassed me, because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” John 1:29-31

John the Baptist then told what happened when he baptized Jesus earlier—the appearance of the dove, the voice from heaven and all. 

The next day, Jesus came walking by again. And again John the Baptist pointed him out and said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

This time, Andrew and John walked away and started following Jesus. Jesus noticed them and turned around to ask,

“What do you want?” John 1:38

They asked where he was staying. (In other words, “We want to talk to you.”) Jesus invited them to spend the rest of the day with him. They were convinced. Andrew went straight to his brother and said,

“We have found the Messiah.” John 1:41

And that’s where we shall begin our journey with Simon Peter.

~ Joyce ~