So the church I go to in Dothan is a sister church to Andy Stanley’s church in Atlanta, North Point Community church. Every Sunday instead of the pastor preaching we pull down a huge screen and hear from Andy. He shared from Matthew 14, the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000, and he put this passage in a different perspective than what I’ve always thought. So what I am about to say came completely from Andy. I just wanted to share bc I thought it was neat.
“As soon as Jesus heard the news he left in a boat to a remote place to be alone. But crowds heard where he was going and followed him on foot from many towns. Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped off the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”
Now. First off, if I am going somewhere to be alone…I want to be alone! Jesus was going to a remote place so he could mourn the loss of John the Baptist…I mean, I think he needed to be alone. But when he got off the boat he was basically surrounded by tons of people. It says he had compassion on them and healed their sick…that would be the last thing I would want to do. If I were going somewhere to be by myself I would be extremely frustrated to find 5,000 people follow me and then heal them!
“That evening the disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a remote place, and its already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to their villages and buy food for themselves.”
Aka so we can eat. That’s probably what they were thinking…we are hungry, let them go get food so we can get food.
“But Jesus said, ‘That isn’t necessary-you feed them.” “But we only have 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish!”
Here it is. The invitation that will change everything. Jesus invites them to feed 5,000 people. In their minds they are thinking what are you talking about, we can’t do it, we only have 5 loaves and 2 fish! Jesus invites them to get out of their comfort zone. So many times we feel God nudging at us to do something but we come to him with all these excuses…I can’t teach middle schoolers! What if they ask me questions that I don’t know the answers too! Jesus says well bring me the answers that you do have. I’m not experienced enough! Jesus says well bring me the experience that you do have. I can’t go on a mission trip! I’m super afraid of planes! Jesus says well bring me that fear. I can’t do that! I’m not smart enough! Jesus says well bring me what you know. We always have excuses. All Jesus wants us to do is to take that very first step and He will do the rest. Sometimes that will be filling out a volunteer form to help in Sunday school. That’s all. Fill out the form. He will do the rest.
“Bring them here.” Jesus said. (after the disciples said ‘but we only have so much’ Jesus probably said this in a very deep voice…bring them here! Bing them to me!) I’m sure the disciples weren’t surprised to hear this. I think they knew something big was about to happen.
“He then took the bread and fish and blessed them……..he gave the bread to the disciples who distributed them.” Jesus asked them to distribute the food…that’s all. That’s all they knew how to do. Then Jesus made something miraculous happen! What a story!!!
“Immediately” after this, Jesus told the disciples to go back across the lake on their boat. Jesus then “sent the people home.” I wonder how he did that. “Welp, you guys are dismissed.” Ha. I’m sure the crowd was thinking, “No, I think I’m gonna stick around with you.” I can’t imagine how that went down. So Jesus went up the hill to pray until night came. A strong wind came and the disciples were in trouble on the lake. 3:00 in the morning it says they were “fighting heavy waves.” I mean, they are fisherman aren’t they and they can’t even cross the lake. This was no surprise to Jesus. He comes out there walking on the water. “When the disciples saw him they were terrified.” Woa. How did Matthew ever admit that? He just ratted out everyone, including himself. They said “It’s a ghost!” haha. Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid, take courage, I am here.” Then…theeeeeeen, Peter had this brilliant idea. Peter knew that after Jesus invites them out of there comfort zone he always does something amazing! So Peter says “If it’s really you, tell me to come to you walking on the water!” wow. He is smart. Jesus said, “Yes, come.” So Peter does WHAT HE KNOWS HOW TO DO and gets off the boat and uses his legs and starts walking. But when he saw the strong waves he got scared and began to sink. He said, “Save me!” So Jesus reached down and grabbed his hand and said, “You have so little faith, why did you doubt me?” In translation Jesus probably meant, “You were so close!!! Why did you give up!!! You were almost there!!!” Then they all got in the boat and the disciples worshipped him saying “You truly ARE the Son of God!” Ha. As if they had doubted before….like when Jesus fed 5,000 people. Ha.
This is all so applicable. When Jesus nudges us to do something, even if we feel unqualified, DO IT! bc it will turn into something fantastic and of course God will be glorified! But the second we give ourselves honor, we will sink. Or the second it gets too hard and we give up, we will sink. Trust God. He only always asks us to do what we know how to do. The first step.