From: Su Min
31st October 1996
My dear family and friends,
Greetings in the lovely lovely name of Jesus.
Jesus, Saviour of the world.
Jesus, My Saviour,
Jesus My Lord,
Jesus My Master.
THE PASSAGEThe text for today comes from Matthew Colossians_14:15-21:_(See also Mark_6:30-44,_Luke_9:10-17,_John_6:1-13)
This is the only miracle recorded in all four gospels, and this miracle is worth while memorising, for the edification of the saints:
"Filotoofi" in case you have not yet worked it out, was the enthusiastic refrain of a sermon preached on this passage by an energetic rapid worded speaker...
So do read all four passages and meditate upon it.
His Word will not return void,
but WILL accomplish what God desires
and WILL achieve the purpose for which He sent it
THE SETTINGJesus had departed for a solitary place, by boat, across the lake: the multitudes still needed Jesus, great crowds followed him on foot. They are in a remote place, on the east coast of the Sea of Galilee, near the town of Bethsaida (Luke_9:10). Many have come. Jesus sees them and has compassion for them. Our Lord goes to them and heals them, ministers to them, teaches them (Mark_6:34).
THE NEEDS ARE GREATMany have come. The needs are great. Much time is taken. Jesus has tended to the spiritual needs and the health needs of the people. The sun rises: the sun sets. The day is spent. As evening came, the disciples realised the practical problem of finding food for so many people: Hence Matthew_14:15. The disciples looked for a human solution to the problem.
THE INSTRUCTIONJesus however, sees a different angle. Our Lord prepares his disciples to minister to the world after he has left. "They need not go away. You give them something to eat."
Jesus has compassion for the multitude: he sees that they are harassed, lost and lonely, like sheep without a shepherd. He knows their needs. They hunger spiritually, they hunger physically. Jesus will meet them at their point of need.
Sometimes Jesus ministers directly. Sometimes through the hands of angels. But more often than not Jesus chooses to minister to the downtrodden, the oppressed, the widow, the orphan, the sick, the imprisoned, the alien, through the hands of his followers. Will you follow Jesus? Will you heed the call? Jesus speaks to you, dearly beloved. "They need not go away. You give them something to eat."
RECOGNISING INADEQUACYThe master bids his disciples to feed the multitude. They recognise their own inadequacy. The crowd is big, about five thousand men, besides the women and children: perhaps eight thousand to eighteen thousand mouths to feed? Even spending a great fortune: two hundred denari, about eight months wages, would not buy enough bread for each person to have just one bite (John_6:7). Clearly the disciples were inadequate to the task, and they knew it. "We have only five loaves and two fish", they answered (Matthew_14:17). "Filotoofi" was all they could offer.
"Bring them here to me" He said (Matthew_14:18)
"Bring your five loaves and two fish to me"
"Bring your Filotoofi to me"
"Bring your inadequacies to me"
"Bring your imperfections to me"
"Come with a willing serving heart"
"Filotoofi will suffice"
THE MIRACLEThe people were instructed to sit down on the grass in groups of hundreds and fifties (Mark_6:40). Taking the five loaves and two fish, and looking to heaven, He gave thanks and broke the loaves of bread. Then he gave them to the disciples and they gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied. And the disciples picked up twelve basketful of broken pieces that were left over. Miracle indeed.
SEQUENCE OF EVENTSGreat multitudes were in need:
The disciples reported to Jesus
"They need not go away. You give them something to eat."
"We have only five loaves and two fish", they answered
"Bring them here to me" He said
Taking the five loaves and two fish, and looking to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves of bread.
Then he gave them to the disciples and they gave them to the people.
They all ate and were satisfied.
And the disciples picked up twelve basketful of broken pieces that were left over
1) JESUS KNOWS YOUR NEEDSJesus knows the needs of the people. He sees and has compassion on them. You, whom He loves, also are known by Him. He loves you. He knows your needs.
Jesus meets each one of the lost sheep at their very point of need.
He knows your needs. He will supply.
2) JESUS WANTS YOUR INADEQUACIESJesus often works his miracles through the hands of saints and angels: ordinary believers who are willing to respond to the call. Great skills and immense wealth are not necessary. What he wants is a willing heart.
"I surrender all" is a dedication that not only offers our riches and talents to God, but also our poverty, our imperfections, our inadequacies.
"Cannot lah, I can not speak" "Cannot lah, I got no time" Dearly beloved, are these excuses? Or are we prepared to say "Lord, I surrender my speechlessness to you: take my mumblings and use them for the kingdom"
"Lord, I surrender my busyness to you: take my confusion and perpetual motion and use it for your kingdom".
"Lord take my widow's mites, my five loves and two fish: the little that I have: take them and multiply them, and use them for the kingdom."
3) JESUS WILL USE YOU…Then he gave them to the disciples and they gave them to the people. Having given thanks and blessed the bread: Jesus uses His disciples to feed the people. He does not go around the multitude directly, but uses his disciples to go amongst the people. The disciples are well placed. They are there out in the crowd. Jesus uses his disciples to effect his ministry. Jesus calls you and I to distribute bread to the multitude. Dearly beloved, God has placed you there out in the crowd for His purpose. The home, the school, the office: the market: the shops, the playgrounds. There are hungry people all around. Will you show them where to find bread? Do you hear the call? Will you answer? "Feed my lambs. Take care of my sheep. Feed my sheep" (John_21:15-17)
4) JESUS WILL SATISFY....They all ate and were satisfied. And the disciples picked up twelve basketful of broken pieces that were left over.
Jesus will satisfy. He is the bread of life: he is the living water: Jesus supplies in abundance: they eat and are satisfied, and there are much left over.
TRADITIONAL SCOTTISH GRACECircumstance has brought this grace to my attention: do share it at your next meal :
O Lord, who blessed the loaves and fishes,
*Look doon upon these twa bit dishes
And though the taties be but sma'
Lord, make 'em plenty for us a';
But if our stomachs they do fill,
'Twill be another miracle.
*(look down upon these two small dishes
and though the potatoes be but small
Lord make them plenty for us all)
THE BENEDICTIONWe close in prayer:
We bless and praise you Holy Name
Because you are worthy to be praised.
Glory and Majesty and Power and Dominion are yours!
We thank you for the lesson today.
Father, accept the little that we have.
Take it, multiply it,
and use us to distribute it to the multitude on whom you had compassion,
the crowd, our neighbours,
whom you have taught us to love as ourselves.
In the name of the Father
The Son and The Holy Spirit
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
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