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God Multiplies His Grace

John 6:8-11
Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, ‘Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?’ Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. (NIVUK)

Andrew had found a little food; but rightly thought it would not feed 5,000 people.  So instead of seeing its value in the hands of Jesus, Andrew thought it was virtually useless.  But Jesus knew otherwise.  He made His disciples seat the crowd on the grass in groups (Mark 6:40); and they obeyed, even though they did not know what would happen next.  Then Jesus said the Jewish prayer of thanksgiving for the food (Christians call this prayer before meals 'grace').

The next thing they knew was that Jesus was dividing the loaves and the fish, multiplying them so that there was more than enough for everybody to eat.  It was a miracle: nobody knew how He did it, but all four gospel writers record what happened.  And we know it was not a parable because, later, Jesus rebuked the crowd for simply looking for a free meal (John 6:26).  

Jesus intended the miracle to be much more than humanitarian aid.  He wanted it to be a sign of His divine authority and lifegiving power.  When the Children of Israel had no food in the wilderness, God sent Manna (literally ‘what is it?’ – because nobody had seen anything like it before).  It was bread from heaven to supply their daily physical needs.  Jesus was to declare that He is the true bread from heaven who gives life to the world (John 6:31-35).

Naturally, we cannot see further than what we know or possess.  Practically, our imagination is tethered by our experience or the experience of others.  But this miracle shows us that Jesus is not limited at all, because of who He is - the Son of God.  Jesus the Lord is able to do anything!  As 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, "And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."   Which is why the Apostle Paul writes, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21).  As that is so, it is right to praise and worship Jesus, and trust Him to do His work without placing human limitations on Him.

Almighty and most loving God. Thank You that You are the only One who can create out of nothing, and greatly multiply what is very small. Forgive me for doubting Your ability to provide and supply the strength to serve You. Please help me to grow in faith, trusting that You will do whatever You have said; and learning that You will provide for the growth of Your kingdom and the needs of Your people according to Your faithfulness. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams