Physically Fed, Spiritually Satisfied

Physically Fed, Spiritually Satisfied

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent. Each weekday morning, we’re going to spend a few minutes in a passage in John. Here’s the goal: read it, pray it, share it. Every post will have a passage of Scripture, a short prayer, and a question to meditate on and talk about. In a few minutes every day, we can prepare our hearts for all that God has planned in this season of Lent. 

Read: John 6:1-15
After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. [2] And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. [3] Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. [4] Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. [5] Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” [6] He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. [7] Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.”

[8] One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, [9] “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” [10] Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. [11] Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. [12] And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” [13] So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. [14] When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”

[15] Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself. (ESV)

Every now and then you get a glimpse right into the heart of God. Jesus was exhausted. He had been healing people, arguing with the Pharisees, traveling up and down from Judea to Galilee and back, and when anyone else would have been thinking about their own exhaustion, Jesus is making sure these people have food.

Sometimes we think that because Jesus provides for our eternity he doesn’t care about what’s going on presently. Time and again our assumptions are reversed. He is the bread of life, but here he also provides a meal. It’s another one of his signs; the miracle we see taking place is just a small picture of something so much bigger going on spiritually. And if feeding 5,000 people is a small sign, then imagine the larger truth Jesus is pointing to.

This story is relayed in all four gospels. Jesus creates food from scratch to feed his followers. It’s an astonishing display of his power. What else do we learn? Jesus is a provider. He takes care of his people. He’s never short on supplies, surprised by the circumstances, or caught off guard. Later in the chapter (the longest chapter in the New Testament), Jesus makes the connection, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” No one who comes to Jesus will ever hunger again. 

O God, you are all-satisfying, all-providing, and all-powerful! There is never a need you cannot provide or a longing you can’t fill. Give me the confidence today that where you call you will provide. When you lead me you will equip me. Thank you that you’ve stocked every day with good works for me to do even before I get out of bed. Amen.

What’s the connection between what Jesus does for the crowd physically and what he does for them spiritually?

How has God provided for you? Is there anyone you know going through something similar who needs to hear your story?
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