- Sermon Notes
In His Hands
Illus. Watch me work.
In Matthew 14:13-21, we find a famous story that highlights to importance of placing our problems, issues, and dead ends into the hands of Jesus. The disciples are faced with a need to feed over 5,000, and in pursuit of a solution determine that it would be best to send the crowd away. But in response to their proposed solution, Jesus had something to say, and something He wanted them to see and to understand…That the true solution to the situation, would be found in His hands.
Read: Matthew 14:13-21
Leading up to this, Jesus had learned about the murder of John the Baptist, not only His friend in ministry, but also His cousin. John was the one who came to prepare the way for Jesus (Mt. 3:1-12), he was the one who declared the Jesus was the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Upon hearing this news, Jesus and His disciples got into a boat and crossed over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (Lk. 9:10) in order to be alone.
Though He had the desire to be alone, the crowds that sought Him had grown, and the news of Jesus’ new location traveled quickly. Upon finding out where He was, the crowd of 5,000 plus women and children (Likely 10,000 to 15,000) came to where He was. Jesus saw them and had compassion on them, He immediately began teaching and healing those in need.
As Jesus is in the midst of ministry, His disciples come to tell Him that it is getting late in the day, and it would be best to send the people away, so that they could go and purchase food in the local villages. The disciples assumed there was no other way…
“It’s getting late,” the disciples told Jesus…We have to do something about this! Send them away…They can draw near to you another day. The disciples were up against the clock…The sun would soon set and without the light of the sun, their would go from one option to none…But Jesus had other plans.
So too in our lives, when faces with a dilemma, when we perceive a dead end, it is often that we begin assuming there is only one way out. “It’s getting late,” you might say… “The day is getting long,” you might proclaim… And in pursuit of a solution, you move on, endeavoring to plot a course, or find a way to get to a “nearby village” before the only light you see is gone…But I want tell you that Jesus has other plans and the best way out, will be found in His hands.
I.It’s Not Too Late
Matthew 14:14-16, When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate and the hour is already late; so, send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!”
- Jesus and His disciples withdrew by boat, and the gospel of Luke tell us that they went to a town called Bethsaida (Lk. 9:10).
- The people who saw Jesus head across the Sea of Galilee must have wondered where He was headed.
- He had gone throughout the region teaching, preaching and healing…His person, principles, and power had been revealed in the lives of many, yet there were still many in need.
- It is not known how those who had followed on foot knew Jesus destination.
- Vs. 14, Jesus “felt compassion” for them; other translations say “moved with compassion,” which is a picture of a person who is stirred with love and sympathy to their deepest depth.
- Compassion, means literally to be moved in one’s bowels, this is where people in Bible times considered emotions and feelings to reside…Jesus cares.
Psalm 103:8, The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
Lamentations 3:22, This I recall to my mind; therefore, I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
- Jeremiah said that he called to mind the Lord’s lovingkindness and unfailing compassions, and when he did so…He had hope!
Exodus 34:6, Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth.
- Some suggest that as Jesus went out on the Sea of Galilee, those on the shore could see His boat ever so slightly enough, that they were able to track where He was headed.
- From the book of John, we understand that upon seeing the crowd coming, He asked Phillip a question.
John 6:5-6, Therefore Jesus, lifting up His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?” This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do.
- There are a couple of interesting things to note about this question:
- Jesus asked Phillip the question…Phillip was from Bethsaida (John 1:44), he was the “local expert.”
- Jesus was asking this question before the crowd arrived.
- From John 6:7, we know that Phillip answered by letting Jesus know that two hundred denarii (6-months wages) worth of bread would not cover a crowd that size.
- Phillip went immediately to their lack of resources, their inability to raise enough money in such a short time, their “insufficient funds.”
- We understand from verse 6, however, that though Phillip was being asked, Jesus was only testing him…Jesus already had a plan in place to feed the 5,000.
- Phillip was the “local expert,” the one being called on for the plan of action, the pursuit of provision for the people, but, Jesus was looking for Phillip to find Him not food to fulfill the need.
- From Matthew 14:15, we understand that it was finally evening when the disciples finally came to Jesus and said “the hour is already late, so send the crowds away, so that they can go buy food for themselves.”
- Knowing the question Jesus had asked as the crowd was approaching, helps shape their concern about feeding the people.
Illus. I’m calling on you.
- You may be the local expert, know where to buy bread, or how to “find food,” but the Lord wants you to find Him!
Matthew 6:26-27, Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?
Matthew 6:31-33, Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Psalm 119:90, Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations…
Craig Keener: Our expectations of what God can do are often too small.
- Don’t flee due to what you’ve yet to see
- After Jesus told the disciples to feed the people, they still were only looking at what, not who, was in front of them.
Matthew 14:17, They said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.”
- The crowds had likely traveled some distance from their homes and the place they were was some distance from any town or village.
- As the day was getting late, and in the midst of their preoccupation with feeding this crowd, the disciples thought it best that the people leave Jesus in order to find what they needed.
Psalm 84:11, For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
Illus. 4th quarter comeback.
- Jesus’ response was to draw the disciples as well as the multitude away from what a do or don’t see and toward the One who they had already seen calm the very sea.
- They had seen Him turn water into wine, heal every sort of disease, raise the dead, cast out demons and calm the storm.
- Yet, now the crowd needs food, and their suggestion is to send them away?
- By sending the crowd away, the disciples are sending them the opposite direction of where they need to head!
- One thing was for certain, Jesus did not want the people sent away in their need…Nor does He want that in your life.
- He wants to be your first resource, not your last resort.
John 6:9, Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?
Matthew 14:18, And [Jesus] said, “Bring them here to me.”
- So too, that is what Jesus wants to do in your life. To bring the “five small barley loaves and two small fish” to Him, rather than heading to the “village” or our own choosing, it is only at that point you can see Him do far beyond what you could ask or think..(Eph. 3:20).
- Learn what He can do with little
Matthew 14:19-21, Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children.
- The story changes as soon as the disciples brought the 5 loaves and two fish to Jesus.
- It was when that light lunch, fit for a young boy, became a plentiful feast, where everyone ate their fill…
- After blessing the food, and breaking the loaves, He gave it to the disciples, who had more than enough for everyone.
- What a powerful picture of what the Lord can do with little.
1 Corinthians 1:27-28, God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are…
- Like the mustard see we studied, which starts small, but grows large, that is what the Lord does with little in our lives.
- And it is important for us to grasp, so that we hold onto Him when the odds look slim…So that we don’t walk away, when we hear the clock ticking away…
Isaiah 43:19, “Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.
- When faced with a problem, we often pursue our own plan, often without considering that the Lord likely wants us to lean on Him, so that we can learn what He can do with little.
- The disciples wanted to make sure the people were fed, so did Jesus.
- In the pursuit of a solution for what you need today are your drawing nearer, or further away from Jesus?
Acts 17:27…He is not far from any one of us.
Isaiah 55:6, Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near.