Jesus Our Provider

      In all four gospels we are told the story of Jesus miraculously feeding the 5,000.  In actuality, since they only counted the men, the crowd could easily have been as high as 15,000 to 20,000.  Jesus asked the apostle who grew up nearby where they could buy food for everyone.  This question was to test him.  Philip did not respond with faith but with a practical answer that did not factor in Jesus at all.  Even though none of the apostles looked at this problem through eyes of faith, Jesus acted anyway.  He multiplied the bread and fish, everyone got to eat all they needed, and there were even twelve baskets left over! 
      This story is a dramatic reminder that Jesus is our provider.  I know right now we are all dealing with inflation.  I recently paid my home insurance and it basically doubled over the last three years, ouch.  It is easy to get discouraged when it gets harder to pay bills and provide for our families, but Christians should look at this challenge differently.  We do not look to the government to provide for us.  We do not even look to our jobs as the ultimate source for meeting our needs.  Instead, we look to Jesus as our ultimate provider.  He gives us our talents and opportunities for employment.  He extends the life of vehicles (mine has 353,000 miles and going strong).  He even surprises us.  I think of when we were building our church, Journey wanted a particular piece of property.  The price dropped from over $2 million to $500,000 which we had in cash.  The foundation of the building cost $100,000 which came from a man who does not attend our church but wanted to help!  I serve on the board of the Fairbanks Food Bank and asked Samantha Kirstein (our Development Director) if she had any Food Bank miraculous feeding stories.  She said, “Just look at last Thanksgiving. We planned and pushed for giving away 2,500 turkey/Thanksgiving boxes.  The number of requests was a staggering 3,900 and we filled every one!  God always shows up.” 
      In addition, this story of the feeding of the 5,000 revealed the identity of Christ.  Back in Deuteronomy 18:15, Moses wrote, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites.  You must listen to him.” The crowd remembered this prophecy about the long-awaited Messiah when they saw this spectacular feeding which reminded them of God providing miraculous manna for Moses and Israel in the wilderness after they escaped slavery in Egypt.  This miracle set up Jesus’s announcement that He was and is the bread of life.  Specifically, He said, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:48).   To the Jewish crowd this was a deity claim reminding them of when God identified himself to Moses at the burning bush as I am.  Therefore, this miracle and the following bread of life discourse was another example of Jesus dramatically claiming to be God.   Jesus is a prophet, teacher, leader, but do not miss that He is God. 
     Jesus is our provider, not just of our basic physical needs but our profound spiritual needs, most importantly the forgiveness of our sins through His death and resurrection. Trust Jesus. He offers us ENOUGH, and some days even twelve baskets of leftovers!    
 Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church