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“You Give Them Something to Eat”

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
January 6, 2021 3:00 am

“You Give Them Something to Eat”

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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January 6, 2021 3:00 am

When a crowd of five thousand got hungry, the disciples implored Jesus to send them away. Instead, Christ instructed the disciples to feed the masses. Discover how this simple command became a lesson for all of us, on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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People say experience is the best teacher. That's what Jesus had in mind when he used 5000 hungry men to teach his disciples a lesson they would never forget Alastair beg considers the motivation behind Jesus statement you give them something to eat. That's the title of our message today on Truth for Life which are now to Mark chapter 6 and to another unexpected response on the part of Jesus might even say that it was an unwelcome response, at least from the disciples perspective and repairing our diverse 37 pointed out to you and I will come back to it I Jesus answered them, you give them something to eat if I can matter is they couldn't. But as we are going to see. They did, and in that paradox. There is a lesson for us. What I like to do is to simply follow along with you in the narrative as it is before us, but we know that when we come to a portion of Scripture like this.

It sets within a context in an immediate and a wider context and without being unduly arduous in tackling this, let me just suggest to you that if you turn back your page 2 verse seven through verse 13, then you will have the immediate context for what follows in verse 30 in verse seven calling the 12 to him. He sent them out. He sent them out. Mark has been making this clear from the very beginning of his gospel and in chapter 1, you needn't turn to it in verse 17 when he calls the fisherman Simon and his brother Andrew to him.

He says come and follow me and I will make you fishers of men. Now, we perhaps are familiar with the story and we have an inkling of what Jesus meant how striking it must've been for the two of them fisherman use the fishing for fish and Jesus says why don't you come and be my followers and you can go out and fish for men in the 14th verse of chapter 3.

In calling those he wanted to him. He sets aside the 12 designates them as apostles, and its purpose is to follow number one that they might be with him and number two that he might send them out. He wants them to be with him and then he wants them to go for him and having sent them out to preach, he gives them authority to drive out demons and the details of that unfold. Essentially throughout the gospel record note when you look there at verse 13 and then and and following through to the end of verse 19 and then you fast-forward to chapter 6 and verse 30 and you can see how this all fits together. Verse 12 and 13 of chapter 6 they went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them that had an impact in the community is verses 14 and 15 and 16. Make clear and then verse 30 the apostles gathered around Jesus and reported in verse 30.

Quite simply we have a report in the report is clearly reported to Jesus all that they had done and taught as was supposed to happen when the followers of Jesus go out to gossip the gospel to tell others the nature of the kingdom of God that lives would be touched and changed and that there would be people who begin to ask questions about the identity of Jesus and what he said and what it was.

He came to do now in response to this report. Jesus says it would be good for us to have a retreat verse 31 because so many people were coming and going that they didn't even have a chance to eat, he said to them, come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest. This was the pattern of Jesus's individual pattern was to slip away from time to time, so he includes his beloved core group in the pattern and he says let's go to a quiet place and let's get some rest. Verse 32.

So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place all of this ministry team plays around the Sea of Galilee made perfect sense for them to jump into a boat and they could cut across a corner of the lake and be in a more remote region within a very short period of time, but verse 33 tells us that the planned retreat has to be aborted and the reason is that the people, many of whom saw them leaving realizing who the wearer began to run on foods and from all the towns they managed to get to the place that was the retreat place I had of the little group that was going for the rest. And so when they reach their there was no possibility of rest, they were confronted by if not an unwanted crowd. Certainly an unsought crowd. It was not that Jesus had sent his disciples out and said try and put a big evangelistic opportunity together for me and then I'll come across and I will speak to all these people know Jesus had done the very reverse and said let's get away by ourselves. We need to regroup.

It's time for us to have some rest.

And here they are confronted by that which challenges the very strategy and here we see the wonderful nature of Jesus himself, but many who saw them leaving ran on got there ahead of them.

Verse 34.

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd. He had compassion on them, and he doesn't look at these people as an immediate intrusion upon him and his followers. Despite the fight that they plan to retreat. He looked at them and he saw them, they look like sheep without a shepherd. That picture of courses found again and again in the Bible and Jesus has come to be the great Shepherd of the sheep. Jesus is the one who embodies the shepherd who goes out looking for the lost sheep Jesus would teach them how important it was for him to reach out to individuals. Jesus was the fulfillment of David, who was a great Shepherd boy of Israel pointing forward to a shepherd who would ultimately, who would gather the sheep into his fall.

Jesus is the Chevrolets down his life for the sheep effort is no surprise for us to discover that when he looks out as a shepherd when the shepherds are. He sees people as she without you see if you are a businessman or woman with a businessman or a businesswoman's heart. When you see a crowd. What you see you see market you see opportunity because you think in business terms, and so usually if you're a business person. I wonder how many of these I can sell to them you say. But Jesus sees this vast crowd, and he thinks what he can provide for them and what they need and seeing them in this way. Look at the striking sentence that ends verse 34. He saw them, they looked to him like sheep without a shepherd.

And so he began teaching that teaching is not very interesting. They might've expected in different there.

He saw the machine without a shepherd. In other words, he saw them as our last and bewildered and wondering and lost. He looks out of them and he realizes that there are moms and dads there that are at odds with one another as there are in this congregation right now and he looked out and he saw that there were disenfranchised individuals who are on the fringes of things, who by dint of their life and their choices were somehow removed from the crowd.

They were the wandering sheep and he knew them to as he knows you and he sees all of that and he teaches that we mean by disable why would you teach them only need a psychiatrist would only need a psychologist or do only need somebody to just come and give them a backdrop what you doing Jesus teaching them. Some of you are here at Parkside this morning and that's what you're looking for some kind of solace some kind of rest by and then you walk in somebody's attempting to teach the Bible. What possible relevance could be in the teaching of the Bible for goodness sake that actually says that he began teaching them many things. Teaching them that he is the one who opens the eyes of the blind.

Teaching them that he is the one who sets the captives free Legion could have testified that maybe he was somewhere in the community doing that even as Jesus spoke on the manner at all. The demons you are.

What happened to you, Jesus set me free. And Jesus begins to teach them concerning the kingdom of God in rushing of God into a moment in time speaking to all that will be accomplished.

Ultimately, in his plans and purposes, and while this is going on. The sun is setting. In verse 35 tells us that by this time it was now late in the day and so his disciples came to him and this is actually this is at least ironic. It is almost funny because here the disciples come to tell Jesus what to do. There's nothing like stating the obvious is this is a remote place. They said but will always Jesus amended the EE then understand that it was a remote place and it is already very late email I I don't know what time it the disciples are rightly very good at telling their master stuff because not only do they stay the obvious. This is a remote place and it's very late, but the actually instrument Jesus asked what he wanted to. They tell Jesus send the people away now. It would appear that they are driven by agonizing concerns.

Their practical man after all. Send the people away.

It's late. They can go out into the surrounding countryside are going to have to go into the villages if invented by themselves and if you eat of the writing of any supper at all. They're going to have to leave here and then it is that point at that point in verse 37 that Jesus gives them this uncomfortable assignment. He looks at them and he says you give them something to eat them something to Allison when I wish this was in video because I like to see their eyes as we look at one another.

You were we supposed to produce stuff to give them something to eat, Philip, and we know it's Philip from the Johannine record. Philip starts to talk in terms of finances. Philip says I'll tell you right now.

Jesus did about eight months wages to food. The food bill for such an operation like that you don't honestly think that were going to muster up that kind of cash and go out and go to the grocery stores the equivalent of and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat.

But Jesus doesn't quit, he says, how many loaves do you have MSSA search me I don't I don't know.

So he says will then go and see what futile exercise 5000 men, not counting the women and the children late in the day Jesus, our best suggestion is to get these people out of here and on their way.

Jesus is while you conduct an inventory and so when they find out they came back and said five and two fish and in the Johannine record again this in John's Gospel. Andrew is the one who says there is a young lad here and he has five loaves and two fish.

But what are they among so many hours can we possibly do with this Jesus once again. Now the kingdom of God is about to dawn, an indication of it is about to be seen. Who is this Jesus, that's the question this running around the court of Herod, is he the prophet of God is seen John the Baptist raise from the dead, who is Jesus a question some of you are perhaps asking this morning.

If you haven't resolved. It is a question that you should be asking and then verse 39 without giving them any indication of what he plans to do. Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass and so verse 14 he sat down in groups of hundreds and 50s, and taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves and then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people fantastic is either this is really a dramatic display on the fact that Jesus is none other than the Creator of the ends of the air is going to be a blast, and the 12 take the material did the loaves and begin to serve and to continue to set in. The miracle unfolds and did you notice it's not like some of the people got every bit of bread and some of the folks got some fish because it was an end of a few less people got fished and got loaves as it was only two fish. After all, you know, that would be you know you can magnify loaves go a little further than the two fish, but now he divided the two fish among them all and they all ate and were satisfied, he gave the loaves to the disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied. In other words, Jesus is doing here in the Galilean context wanted been done many many years before, when Gordon provided manna in the wilderness. Here, the Shepherd of Israel is showing himself as identified in this persona and for those who have eyes to see that suddenly dawning upon he is the Shepherd of Israel. He is the one of whom the psalmist wrote the Lord is my shepherd, I will not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. This people aid and were satisfied. It is obvious that this was not a symbolic gesture. Some commentators and they try and come up with the idea that this was everybody.

God like you noted tiniest fragment of fish in a tiny little piece and manage the grind it down and so on is not what it says. A tall says that the miraculous impact of Jesus made it possible for everyone to eat and for everyone to be satisfied.

There's no surprise in this remember Mary as she provides what we refer to as the Magnificat. Remember when she says that the Lord has regarded this all office handmaiden and she sings of the one who is going to come from her womb. What she said.

She says he has filled the hungry with good things. But the rich he has sent empty away and having all eaten and been satisfied.

Jesus gives further instruction to the disciples. Hey fellas why leaders go and pick up the leftovers. If they did if they were in any doubt about what it taken place as they all go over there baskets is a very humorous picture for me again.

All the big smart guys. Jesus, anyway.

These people out of here.

After all, it's late remote place and there's really nothing at all for them.

We have done an inventory of five loaves and two fish. But frankly, I mean, you know, we know everybody knows your number rebranding with at least not today for a long time and now here they are with her baskets bumping into one another, taking the stuff up and said, suddenly realizing we have more left over than what we started with C for those of you are wondering about Jesus. Let me just remind you of CS Lewis's great quote is the chances are if you do not understand the Jesus of the New Testament, you have concluded that Jesus was probably a really quite nice man. You know like a good night and remember CS Lewis's wonderful quote what he says, a man who was merely a man and said the things that Jesus said did the things that Jesus did, would either be a lunatic on the level was someone who claimed to be a porch day or he would be a demon or something worse so you can spit at him and calling the demon or you can fall at his feet and worshiped him as Lord and God. But do not come to him with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great moral teacher. He has not left that option open to us.

He did not intend to Jesus to whom we are introduced in the pages of the New Testament is if you like. In one sense in difficult character to deal with because were not introduced to somebody here who is come up with a list of rules and regulations and inviting people to come and apply them to their lives externally so that they might manage to navigate life a little easier. No, we have a king inviting people to bow down before him. We have a Shepherd inviting sheep into his full four point of application to have minutes number one the question of Jesus identity which is buzzing at this time is rightfully buzzing because after all such events speak to the fight that he is no ordinary man and if you are hungry today. He will feed you if you are not he will send you away. That's the first point of application. So if you're wondering about the question of the identity of Jesus.

I encourage you to continue your search.

Secondly, let's just notice the distinction between practical concern and divine compassion. The disciples were very very practical when they buy they were missing the compassion of Jesus.

Some of us are like that. Send the crowds away. We don't want to deal with these cards we don't want to deal with these people do not like I was there asking dumb questions or just a drain on our resources.

Jesus saw them with a heart of compassion teach me the love with a heart of compassion liberalize your prayer from the sermon this morning. Thirdly, you might want to ponder throughout the day.

The simple distinction between verse 36 and 39. The disciples responds, send them Jesus response seat them and finally, it's impossible to read the record of this without recognizing that God takes impossible situations unbelievably limited resources and he multiplies them for the well-being of others and for the glory of his name.

I wonder if you brought your life. You might feel yourself to be the only person you may be the only person in your whole family. That's a believer you have a Father's Day picnic in your about to go out there and eat watermelon and stand around you're actually dreading it again.

You feel yourself in the response of Andrew to be seen what am I among so many will can I say, what can I do. God is able to take your life and multiply it and they'll be much by time I retell the story of Gladys Aylward which I don't have time to do but I have her in my minds eye.

As I close servant girl in the East End of London with no education, no savings, small brown suitcase and a passionate longing to go to China with the good news of the gospel, the missionary society blew her out. Now I am telling the story and she said she got down by her bed. She got down by her bed and a garret in the East End of London and she said Lord Jesus Christ, even if those men don't understand it. I understand that you want me to go to China for you and this tiny little lady with a long straight black hair began a journey by train and then by ocean liner and eventually ended up in Shanghai and that she stood on the deck and looked out on Shanghai and she saw the tiny little Chinese people with their jet black straight hair.

She suddenly realized that God had a plan and purpose for and that even established her DNA in such a way that she would be perfectly suited to become the little woman who would reach all those tiny children's lives because she offered up her life to God and he multiplied it for his glory.

Don't be too quick to assume that God is unable to do with you what he may intend to do with you all for your life to him Alastair back with a compelling challenge for us to offer all have to God and let him multiply it for his glory. This is Truth for Life with a series called a light in the darkness. It's all about having a heart for the lost during the message of the gospel is just one of the reasons we are committed to teaching God's word every day of the year. You often hear Alastair begin our program by inviting you to open your Bible. That's the entirety of our mission to teach God's Word in a way that is clear and relevant. We know that when the Scripture is taught God's spirit transforms the hearts and lives of those who are listing and that's why we're so passionate about teaching the Bible.

We also love providing you with books that help you grow in your faith Alistair's message today reminded us that God is able to take our lives and use them to reach the people around us today.

We want to recommend a book that will encourage you to cultivate a passion for those around you who need to know Jesus.

The book is called facing a task unfinished.

It's a once a week devotional designed to help you spend time in prayer, asking God to enable and equip you to do the work of an evangelist will send you a copy of the book facing a task unfinished when you donate today by tapping the image in the mobile app or by visiting us online at or if you'd prefer to call our number is 888-588-7884 Bob Lapine who can join us tomorrow as Alastair examines a life changing conversation in the middle of an ordinary daily routine. The Bible teaching of Alastair Meg is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living

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