- Sermon Notes
It’s Not Too Late…
In Mark 6:30-44, we find a famous story where Jesus’ disciples are faced with a need to feed over 5,000 people. It is a story found in all four gospel books (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). In the story, a large crowd followed Jesus and His disciples to a remote area, and Jesus began teaching the crowd about the kingdom of God, and healing those who needed healing.
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, they seem to think they would go from one option to none…But Jesus had other plans.
So too in our lives, when faced 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… Or perhaps you have placed an expiration date on what God can do in the lives of the people He has called you to minister to.
After reminding us that we once walked in darkness, but we are now children of the light who are to walk in the light, Paul tells us Ephesians 5:15-16..
Ephesians 5:15, Be careful how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.
Since it is not to late, we are to make the most of our time! I want to pull four ways we can make the most of our time in 2024 from the scenes associated with Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000. Four quick points, centering around centering on the compassion of Christ that we should be compelled by your calculations surrounding what God can do in your life, your commitment to Him with what He has given you, and an encouragement to consider your place in His present plans.
- Be Compelled by Jesus’ Compassion
Matthew 6:30-34, The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
- Jesus’ compassion as this section of Scripture begins is quite compelling.
- In the verses just before this, we read that Jesus had just learned about the murder of John the Baptist, not only His friend in ministry, but also His relative. John was a powerful minister, the one who came to prepare the way for Jesus (Mt. 3:1-12), he was the one who declared that Jesus was the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
- He pointed people to Jesus as the One people should look to and follow,
- 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.
- Matthew 14:13, when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from the place He was, to a secluded place.
- We aren’t given the why, by it seems to me a picture of Jesus humanity, needing to get alone with God as we saw Him do in times of tragedy and trial.
- 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.
- 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. But we know that they found where He and His disciples had gone.
- Though he was seeking to withdraw to a secluded place away from the crowds…They found Him!
- Vs. 34, Jesus “felt compassion” for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; other translations say He was “moved with compassion,” which is a picture of a person who is stirred with love and sympathy to their deepest depth.
- One way I have heard it defined is “Compassion is your pain in my heart.”
- The Greek word for “Compassion,” means literally to be moved in one’s bowels, this is where people in Bible times considered emotions and feelings to reside…
- Jesus saw them and had compassion on them. He was in a situation, He was dealing with some things, and He is shown giving compassion to others in their need.
- The word used for compassion here is found 12 times in the New Testament and in every case Jesus is involved. Either the compassion He displays, the compassion He spoke about, or the compassion requested of Him.
Illus. Examples. (Mark 6, Luke 9, Matthew 14, Matthew 18, Luke 10, Luke 15).
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.
- The Lord has great compassion on us, and we are Jesus’ followers. We line up behind Him, He takes the lead, we follow.
- His compassion should compel us. To compel means to force or drive to a course of action.
- Note that in His compassion, He taught them the truth. He knew that without the truth people were headed the wrong way, they were hurting spiritually, that mattered to Jesus. He also had compassion in mercy toward those in need, and compassion in bringing healing to those who were hurting.
- Factor God into Your Calculations
Mark 6:35-36, By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”
- As the disciples come to Jesus, they bring both a problem and their solution to Him.
- The problem? They were in a remote place, it was already “very late.”
- From Mark 6:35, we understand that it was late in the day. From Matthew 14, we understand it was late in the day, the hour to eat had already passed (it was after dinnertime!). The book of Luke agrees, it was late.
- Their Solution? Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and village and buy some food.
Mark 6:37, But he answered, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”
- When Jesus said, “you give them something to eat,” the disciples begin to calculate what it would take to feed the crowd, how much it was going to cost.
- While the book of Mark speaks of a general response from the disciples, the book of John names a specific name and reveals that it was actually Philip who gave that answer.
John 6:7, Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not enough for them, for each to receive just a little!”
- Philip had calculated it all out. And it is of interest that Jesus asked Philip, because Philip was from the area.
- And we know from the book of John that Jesus presented the problem to Philip before the crowd even arrived.
John 6:5-6, So Jesus, after raising His eyes and seeing that a large crowd was coming to Him, said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread so that these people may eat?” But He was saying this only to test him, for He Himself knew what He intended to do.
- There are a couple of interesting things to note about this question:
- The gospel of Luke tells us that after crossing the Sea of Galilee they ended up in a town called Bethsaida (Lk. 9:10).
1. The book of Luke tells us that the town Jesus and His disciples withdrew to, was the town called Bethsaida (Luke 9:10).
2. Philip was from Bethsaida (John 1:44), he was the “local expert.”
- Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us that Jesus first began teaching and healing for a time and it became late in the day.
- It seems to me that Phillip had been thinking about how they were going to feed the people while Jesus was ministering to the people.
John 6:6, But He was saying this only to test him, for He Himself knew what He intended to do.
- From John 6:7, we know that Philip answered by letting Jesus know that two hundred denarii (6-months wages) worth of bread would not cover a crowd that size.
- Philip went immediately to their lack of resources, their inability to raise enough money in such a short time, their “insufficient funds.”
- Philip was the “local expert,” the one being asked about the plan of action, the pursuit of provision for the people, but Jesus was looking for Philip to find Him not food to fulfill the need.
- Knowing the question Jesus had asked as the crowd was approaching, helps shape for us the disciples concern about feeding the people.
Jeremiah 33:3, ‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’
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!
Psalm 119:90, Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations…
Craig Keener: Our expectations of what God can do are often too small.
- After estimating what it would take to give each on there a little, Jesus asks them what they have, and then shows them just how big God is.
- They thought about what they didn’t have, what wouldn’t be enough, and Jesus responds.
Mark 6:38, He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go look!” And when they found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.”
III. Commit What You Have into His Hands
- The book of John gives us additional understanding as to what took place after Jesus asked, “how many loaves do you have?”
John 6:8, One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what are these for so many people?”
- Andrew looked around and found a little boy with his lunch. And the boy was willing to share.
- What he shared were his five barley loaves and two fish.
- That the boy had barley loaves indicates that he was not wealthy. The lunch he shared really wasn’t much at all.
- Barley was the poorest of the grains and was often fed to animals. As for the fish, they were likely small dried or pickled fish.
- A light lunch, and Andrew asked, “what are these among so many?”
Mark 6:39-42, He ordered them all to recline by groups on the green grass. They reclined in groups of hundreds and fifties. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food and broke the loaves and He gave them to the disciples again and again to set before them; and He divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied.
Matthew 14:21, 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.
- This is important for you and me, because what was given to Jesus was what they had on hand, and Jesus showing what He can do with what is little to you when it is given into His hands.
- I love the picture, what was on hand was handed to Jesus, and He blessed it and broke it, and gave them to the disciples again and again…
- It seems the disciples would give to one group, then head back to Jesus and get more, then to another group and head back to Jesus for more.
Illus. How did that happen?
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…
- Commit what you have into His hands, it is not too late to do so!
- Consider Your Part in His Plan
Illus. Putting the parts together.