This wasn’t how it normally went.
Philip had been to Passover plenty of times. Jerusalem was always bustling. They came to see the beautiful trellises of the temple and the powerful foundation of the city's wall. They crowded in the marketplaces to sample the city fare. They went to the synagogue to catch a glimpse of Caiaphas or Annas as they went up their business.
But as the Passover approached, the crowd wasn’t in Jerusalem.
As Philip sat with Jesus and the other disciples on a hill near the Sea of Galilee, he saw the crowd approaching. They moved across the rolling landscape like bunch of cattle roaming together toward their shepherd.
There was a lot of them.
“Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” Jesus asked.
Philip blinked. Jesus was looking at him.
What was he talking about? It had been a long day. He was sweaty and tired. The other disciples were sweaty and tired. Jesus was sweaty and tired. Yet, all he could think about was getting these people food?
Not to mention there were thousands of these people. 5000 men alone. Do you know how many pieces of maza they’d have to bake? The sheer amount of horses they’d need to load up all this food? There was no catering. There wasn’t online ordering. Domino's wasn’t around yet and no one delivered. In fact, there probably wasn’t a restaurant in Jerusalem who was prepared for such an incredible order. If they wanted to pay for all these people, Jesus should have started taking donations months ago.
Philip responded to Jesus’ question, “Month's wages wouldn’t buy enough food for all of them!"
In other words: This was impossible.
Can you really blame the disciples?
Imagine with me, getting ready for Easter breakfast here at Gethsemane. Guys. We’re cooking up some delicious pancakes, lots of bacon, and some of that special sausage gravy. Then, someone comes in to report that there’s a line of cars that goes out of the parking lot, wraps down Newton and around Falls of Neuse all the way –in two lanes of traffic – past the 440 intersection.
Do you think we’d have enough food?
Actually we panic in circumstances not nearly as impressive. We panic when the supper party is only supposed to be a ‘few close friends’ and then a couple of the single people from work bring guests with them. Will there be enough Cheez Whiz? Did I get enough meat? Will ten bags of Doritos be enough?
But it’s more than just parties. Anytime a situation seems impossible, we begin to doubt:
“I can’t believe that I got injured. Now I have to see the doctor and my health insurance isn’t even that great! How will I pay for it?”
“NC Car tax is due? I didn’t remember to figure that into the budget? How will we get by?”
“The mortgage is behind and the collectors are calling from RoomsGo! What’ll we do? Sell the kids?”
“The doctor says my aunt has what? That’s terminal. There’s no way. It’s impossible.”
"The relationship with my kid has soured. She won't talk to me. It's impossible."
"My husband and I have done too much wrong for each other. To stay married...it's impossible."
Why the doubting? The problem is simple.
Scripture says “Jesus did this to test Philip.” What was Jesus hoping Philip would think of when he asked him that question? He was hoping Philip would think of all the incredible things that he had seen Jesus do. That in spite of the impossible situation Philip would have thought of the time Jesus impossibly changed water into wine. Or the time he cured incurable leprosy. Or the time when he healed people with impossible lameness so they could walk again.
But Philip thought of none of that. Instead, he focused solely on the problem. He was convinced. This was impossible.
When problems arise and we doubt, we do the same thing. We are focusing on the problem. When our mind is zeroed in on that problem, it’s hard…impossible for us to see a way out of it.
But that’s not where God would have us focus.
Andrew agreed with Philip. “Here’s a boy with 5 loaves of bread and two small fish.” He told Jesus, “But how far is that gonna go?”
Philip nodded. They couldn’t feed the people. It was impossible. Jesus nodded too. Philip was happy that Jesus was listening to reason.
But then, Jesus reached out. He grabbed the basket from the young boy. He patted him on the head and then returned to where he was seated. He looked up. He prayed.
Then, Jesus did something crazy. He started passing out the bread.
At first, Philip thought this seemed a bit rude. Afterall, his mom had taught him that it wasn’t very nice for them to eat in front of all these people. But Jesus tapped his shoulder. And pointed. The disiples were to start passing the food to the people.
So they did. They passed out a loaf. Then a fish. Then another loaf. And another. And another. And another.
They passed out bread and fish until every single one of those 5,000 plus people had some.
Not just “some.” It wasn’t as if everybody got a little crumb. Philip looks around and he saw people smiling. Some were rubbing their bellies. He heard a few of them say, “I’m stuffed.”
Then Philip saw something even more incredible. Matthew was holding a basket filled with –get this – bread and fish. He wasn’t the only one. All the other disciples had baskets full too. In fact, there were 12 baskets filled with food.
12 x more left over than before they fed over 5,000 people? "That’s impossible,” Philip thought.
Then he smiled. “No. That’s Jesus.”
Take a look at this simple passage from Luke 1:37 It’s a great passage to memorize and place on your heart this week, “Nothing is impossible with God.”
Brothers and sisters, the same is true for you. I don’t care your situation.
Incurable illness? Not impossible with God.
Unworkable job environment? Not impossible with God.
Awful relationship conditions? Not impossible with God
Impossible to deal with children? Not impossible with God.
Not enough food to feed family? Not impossible with God.
Unpayable bills? No impossible with God.
Sin hardened addictions? Not impossible with God
Unshakeable guilt? Not impossible with God.
Nothing is impossible with God. Not feeding close to 10,000 people with a few loaves of bread and two fish. Not sending birds to feed you when there isn’t any food around. Not having your sins of doubt – and mistrust – and “God this is too big for you to deal with” – removed.
Talk about impossible! We can’t get rid of our guilt. We’re sinful mistake ridden people. All attempts to rid ourselves of sin are sinful and mistake ridden. It’s impossible for you or me to do anything about it.
But Jesus did. He did the impossible! He cured the incurable disease of sin. He breathed life into our dead souls. He bridged the unleapable cavern between us and God. He knocked down the impossible barrier of our sins. He died and then he did the impossible (doing anything while you are dead is pretty impossible, but Jesus did the impossible while he was dead) he brought himself back to life!
Jesus has done the impossible for you. Jesus will do the impossible for you.
So…if you’ve got trust issues, how do you deal?
Do you remember Flinstones vitamins? I used to eat those growing up. I ate them because they tasted good and because they had Barney Rubble pictured on them. But the real reason my mom gave them to me (and your mom gave/gives you vitamins) is so that you are nourished and enriched.
It’s the same thing with our spirit.
When you trust count is low, eat some of the Bread of Life. Struggling to get through the day? Stop and read this section of John 6 again – focus how God provides. Trust deficiency? Read the rest of John and see our Savior do impossible things. Malnourished in faith? Meditate on this passage “Nothing is impossible with God.”
Give your soul the divine vitamins and minerals necessary and not only will you have a healthy trust, but your trust will begin to grow strong.
When you stop focusing on the problem and instead focus on the problem solver, your trust will be enriched.
That’s what happened to the crowds. When they saw what Jesus did, they trusted. They trusted him to give them all the food they wanted. They moved to make him king.
Jesus disappeared. He got away from there. Now he was testing them. They knew what they thought was best. Did they trust Jesus to do what was best?
Do you? If you don't, I challenge you to read more about the one that I recommend you put your trust in. Meditate on Jesus. Read about what he's done and feast on the Bread of Life.