Remember that story of the Feeding of the 5000 (Mark 6:30-44)? It shows Jesus to be true God, right? Absolutely. It shows Jesus’ inexplicable and self-sacrificing love, right? Absolutely, as he puts his own needs for rest and relaxation aside and helps those people. It shows so much about our Savior. But it also shows us something about ourselves.
Last week I mentioned that Jesus brought the disciples in on the planning for the miracle to test them and strengthen them in their ability to look to God first rather than as a last resort. Last week we saw how God does the impossible for us — even making us holy and pure in his sight, regardless of what we’ve done.
Now, we look at that same story to see how God does the impossible through us. When the disciples were asked "What do you have?" in order to feed the crowds, basically, they had to say, "Nothing, nothing but a few scraps — nothing that will fix the problem of 5,000 hungry people and no food. We have nothing."
We know the feeling, don’t we? When it comes to our relationship with God and Jesus asks us "What do you have?" all we can say is "Nothing." Our sins eliminate any chance of hope at an eternity with a holy God. When it comes to fixing our sin and guilt problem, all we can say to God is: "I have nothing God, all I have is you." As we sing in church:
"Just as I am without one plea
But that your blood was shed for me
And that you bid me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come."
And God does the impossible — he takes our nothing and puts his son’s everything on it. And more than even those hearers on the hillside in our text who ate until they didn’t want or need anymore — we are satisfied — knowing that it is all taken care of, knowing that we are God’s.
So now, as God’s children, like the disciples, we get to handle all those tests and watch God doing the impossible. What are you going to do about your income issues or health scares or relationship woes? Look to see what God’s doing. Don’t waste a minute stressing over it. Look to see what he asks you to do in his Word. And what does he say? "What do you have?" "Bring them to me."
So apply that. The relationship is bad because neither of you think you’re being treated as you deserve and so you’re hesitant with your love. Listen to Jesus’ instructions and give that unconditional love anyway — and see how God does the impossible through you.
The money situation is hard because the priorities have gotten out of whack. Listen to Jesus’ instructions about what is truly important and give it to him and see if he doesn’t make you rich — in ways money could never accomplish.
Those disciples had the people sit down and started handing out that food even though it didn’t seem to them that it would ever make sense, and Jesus did the impossible of feeding the 5000 through them. Why don’t you try it? Listen to his word. Find out what he asks you to do — and do it. Watch our God do the impossible through you.
Rev. Jonathan Scharf is pastor of Abiding Grace Lutheran Church in Covington. Full sermons and more information can be found at www.abidinggrace.com.