1. Do you like to entertain guests?
2. Have you ever had to prepare a big meal at the last minute?
3. What is the most challenging ministry in which you have ever participated?
Who Was Herod
The name "Herod" was a family name, and it is easy to confuse the different Herods of the New Testament.
1, "Herod the Great" was the Herod who slew the children (2:16-18).
2."Herod Antipas" was a younger son of Herod the Great. He was not really a king, but merely a tetrarch-the ruler over a fourth of the kingdom. He is the Herod who had John the Baptist killed and before whom Jesus was silent (Luke 23:5-12).
3. "Herod Agrippa" is the Herod who slew James and imprisoned Peter (Acts 12). He was a grandson of Herod the Great.
4. Finally, "Herod Agrippa II" was the Herod before whom Paul was tried (Acts 25:13ff). He was a great-grandson of Herod the Great.
Your Personal Ministry
In this story we see that Jesus needed to take a little retreat. Although this particular retreat was interrupted, we do know that Jesus often took time to withdraw from the crowds and spend time alone.
1. What do you do to withdraw to "retreat"?
2. Why is it important to retreat from time to time?
3. What happens when you go too long without taking time for revival?
4. What keeps you from taking a personal retreat? What can you do to make sure you find time alone with God?
Faith In Action
In this passage we see how Jesus was motivated by compassion. He also summoned his own disciples to become part of the miracle. For the disciples, it meant identifying the resources that were available and offering them to Jesus. It was only then that Jesus was able to muitiply their efforts.
It has said many times that God does not call the qualified, he qualifies the called.
1. In what ways do you feel limited in your ability to minister?
2. What talents or gifts can you offer God?
3. If God can feed 15 thousand people with just five loaves and two fish, what do you think he could do through you? What dreams and desires has God given you when it comes to ministring to others?
Did you know that, over the past 10 weeks, the Philadelphia District Church of the Nazarene--Mission to Philadelphia--served over 6,000 meals.
1. The Word in Action Intl. relief
2. Collingdale Church of the Nazarene food pantry
3. Philadelphia First Church of the Nazarene food pantry
4. Pan de Dios
5. Front Step, Inc. mission teams
6. Other Phildelphia Nazarene Churches
Jesus Feeds the 5,000
Over the past ten weeks Linda and I helped host mission teams from all over the United States: New Hampshire, Oregon, Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, New York State, etc.. While it was great to have these groups with us, we have learned a few important lessons: People eat a lot of food; they get hungry often; it takes a lot of work to feed people.
As I reflect on the events of the past few weeks, I can't help but remember Jesus' miracle of feeding the 5,000. Now I understand why this miracle, in particular, is recorded in all four Gospels. Mark 6:41; Luke 9:16; John 6:11) Sometimes it takes a miracle to feed a lot of hungry people.
Before we study the miracle itself, we must consider Jesus' state of mind at the time. In Matthew 13 we read how Herod Antipas had just called for the death of John the Baptist. We also know that Jesus was facing mounting opposition from the Pharisees. Add to that a vigorous schedule of ministry and you find Jesus in great need of a physical and emotional retreat.
So Jesus got on a boat and "withdrew" to Bethsaida, across the northern end of the lake and outside the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas. It was here that Jesus could be safe and spend some time recuperating from all the stress. However, as Jesus reached the shore, he saw that the crowds had walked around the lake and were waiting to meet him.
Jesus should have sent the crowds away. He should have insisted on some "alone time". He had every right to a little time away. But instead, "he had compassion on them." (Matthew 14:13) Jesus set aside his own personal needs and chose to minister to the masses.
You Feed These People
Scripture records that there were five thousand men who came to see Jesus. When you add women and Children, the number climbs to nearly fifteen thousand. Jesus spent the entire day teaching, healing, and meeting the needs of those who had gathered. Late in the afternoon Jesus turned to his disciples and announced that they were responsible to provide the evening meal. What was he thinking? How was it possible to feed so many people? What would cause Jesus to make such a request?
1. Compassion: Jesus was motivated by compassion. Matthew 14:14 says, "When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them..." Caring is a necessary first step in ministry.
2. Faith: Jesus said it is not necessary for them to go away. Jesus wanted to invite the disciples into a world of limitless possibilities. When we look at ministry through the eyes of faith, we understand that, with God, all things are possible.
3. Action: Jesus said, "You give them something to eat." Jesus deliberately drew the disciples into the action so they could become a living parable.The Gospels record thirty-six speciific miracles of Jesus; most to which the disciples were merely spectators. Up until this point in time... Jesus had been doing all the work: He healed people. He raised people from the dead. And the disciples pretty much were along for the ride. However, this miracle would not take place until after they put their own faith into action.
The Disciples Made Excuses
Did Jesus know what he was asking? Why was it necessary to feed all these people? Practically speaking, the disciples were right.
1. It's really not necessary. The disciples were just being practical. "I'm sure they all have food at home. If we dismiss them now, they will have plenty time to go home and prepare their own meals."
2. It's a bad location. They were in the middle of nowhere. It's not like they could go to McDonald's or find a local grocery store.
3. It's too late. If you had told us several weeks ago, we could have put together a committee. We would have had a schedule. Everything would have been perfectly organized. We don't have time for any of that now, so let's just send them home.
4. We have limited resources. All we have here are five loaves of bread and two fish.
5. The sacrifice is too great. Mark 6:37 says, "'That would take eight months of a man's wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?"
Nevertheless, Jesus said, "You feed them."
Place what you have in God's hands
We will never have enough to meet the needs that we see around us. But we can bring God our meager offering and He will cause it to grow thousands of times over.
We may only have five loaves and two fish but it is much when we place it in God's hands..
A basketball in my hands is worth about $19.
A basketball in Michael Jordan's hands is
worth about $33 million..
A baseball in my hands is worth about $6.
A baseball in Mark McGuire's hands is worth $19 million.
A tennis racket is useless in my hands.
A tennis racket in Pete Sampras' hands
is a Wimbledon Championship.
A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal.
A rod in Moses' hands will part the mighty sea.
A sling shot in my hands is a kid's toy.
A sling shot in David's hand is a mighty weapon.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands
is a couple of fish sandwiches.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in God's
hands will feed thousands.
Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse
Nails in Jesus Christ's hands will produce
salvation for the entire world.