In this passage, Jesus asks “where to buy the bread” while Phillip answers the question of “do we have enough money?” Isn’t it funny that sometimes we can jump to conclusions or try to read someone’s mind, or cut the conversation short because we really think we know what the intention is? Jesus knew all along what He was going to do but Phillip didn’t have a clue. Phillip’s mind along with the rest of the disciples had no clue what Jesus was a bout to do! And many times we are the exact same way.
How do you look at challenges that come your way? How do you deal with crisis? How often do you jump to the wrong conclusions? Phillip thought of the problem in terms of money and finances. His mentality was limited by his perception. He had no idea what Jesus was about to do. Here are a few more words of encouragement and admonishment to take away from this passage.
My help comes from the Lord. These guys were busted…flat broke. They didn’t have anything to spare. No cash, no credit, no choice. But Christ! They had Jesus! How often has the Lord allowed us to be in a situation where our help must come from Him? It is clear in this passage that the Lord asked Phillip this question to “test” him. It is important to remember that the Lord allows us to be in certain situations to see what answers we will give. The answer the Lord was looking for was not one that Phillip gave. Phillip answered the wrong question. “Where will we get bread for these people?” The answer is “You, Lord…You!”
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:2
When we have a crisis, challenge or question, we must turn to the Lord. He alone is our help. He alone is the One who can and will provide for His people. He is the One from Whom all blessings flow. He is not only our help, He is our hope.
My hope comes from the Lord. I can’t blame the disciples for their answers and the way they handled things. I would have very likely been the same way! Jesus poses this question to Phillip and others to flesh out who and what is the source of hope and security. Even if they would have had a little of their own bread or fish…how likely would they have given it up? I only say that because I know my own heart and how I can wrestle with sacrificing something wondering if I will have my own needs met and taken care of. I can see how easily it is to try to hold onto what is in my hand instead of trusting it in the Lord’s hands. That’s what is amazing about this little boy and his five loves and fish!
This boy, with childlike faith surrenders all he has to the Lord’s hands. He holds nothing back. He doesn’t quibble or try to make a deal. He doesn’t cry or wonder if he will get a share. He gives all of it. This kid had hope in something greater than what he was holding onto! Jim Elliot said “He is no fool who gives that which he cannot keep for that which he cannot lose.” We would do well to learn from Jim and this boy…find our hope in Christ, not stuff in this life!
6 “Certainly, man walks about like a mere shadow.
Indeed, they frantically rush around in vain,
without knowing who will get them.
7 Now, Lord, what do I wait for?
My hope is in You. Psalm 39:6-7
When faced with a trial or situation and answer is not clear, it is essential to not hold onto anything other than Jesus; all other ground is sinking sand. Things will pass through our hands to be a blessing to us and to others but we cannot hold onto them as our source of security and hope. The Lord is the only stable one and He is my hope and stay!