Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Devotional Thoughts Based on Luke 9:10-17

Fifth Sunday After Pentecost

Christ Meets Our Every Need

by Rev. Todd A. Linn, PhD
Henderson’s First Baptist Church, Henderson KY

(Luke 9:10-17)

With our Bibles open to Luke 9, I want us to see the context in which we find this morning’s passage. Our passage will be verses 10-17. You will recall from last time, verses 1-9, that after the 12 Disciples go out in the surrounding villages preaching the Kingdom of God that Herod, verse 9, asks the question, “Who is this of whom I hear such things?” That is the question. Who is this Jesus? Then, if you jump down to verse 18, you see Jesus asking the same question of the disciples. He asks, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They give various replies in verse 19 and then verse 20, “But who do you say that I am?”

So on both ends of our passage this morning, verses 10-17, you have this question, “Who is this Jesus?” You have the question to introduce the passage and the question follows the conclusion of the passage. And the passage itself, verses 10-17, answers the question. Jesus is the Christ who meets our every need. As God, Christ meets our every physical and spiritual need. Listen for that truth as we read of Christ’s meeting the need for food, miraculously providing for the need of 5,000 hungry men.

Scripture Reading

The 12 Disciples have just returned from their preaching tour, having gone to all the surrounding villages, preaching the Kingdom of God. Then we read this:

10 And the apostles, when they had returned, told Him all that they had done. Then He took them and went aside privately into a deserted place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.
11 But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing.
12 When the day began to wear away, the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.”
13 But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people.”
14 For there were about five thousand men. Then He said to His disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of fifty.”
15 And they did so, and made them all sit down.
16 Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude.
17 So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.

Introduction:

One of the great hymns of the faith is a hymn that speaks of the God who will take care of us. It goes:

Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
God will take care of you;
Beneath His wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.

God will take care of you,
Through every day, o’er all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

Through days of toil when heart doth fail,
When dangers fierce your path assail,

All you may need He will provide,
Nothing you ask will be denied,

No matter what may be the test,
Lean, weary one, upon His breast,
God will take care of you.

One of the encouragements I receive by coming together with you in weekly worship is that the Bible seems to remind me continually of the God who will take care of me this week. “No matter what may be the test, lean, weary one, upon His breast. God will take care of you.”

When we read the Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—we are reading the historical events of Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was more than a man, a man who was also God. Christ’s teachings, His miracles, and the whole of Scripture points to Jesus Christ as being God in the flesh. So what we learn of God is true of Christ. God meets our every need, Christ meets our every need.

I want to talk about that truth this morning: Christ meets our every need. Christ will take care of you this morning. Christ will take care of you this week. So let’s go back through this small passage of Scripture, verse-by-verse, and then afterwards I want to give you three reminders to take with you as you leave this morning. Before we get to those reminders, let’s walk back through this passage of Scripture together to make sure we are interpreting the Bible correctly. All in favor of interpreting the Bible correctly? Okay. Look again at verse 10:

10 And the apostles, when they had returned, told Him all that they had done. Then He took them and went aside privately into a deserted place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.

So the 12 Disciples return from their preaching circuit, having traveled to the small villages and towns around Galilee, preaching the Kingdom of God which is, in essence, the Gospel. They return and they tell Jesus all that happened. And Jesus decides to take them away to a deserted place in Bethsaida, a small town Northeast of where the Jordan flows into the Sea of Galilee, and Jesus plans some quality time with the 12, but He is then interrupted by the crowds. Verse 11:

11 But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing.

When I read verse 11 in my study this week, I was immediately reminded again about our Lord’s willingness to be interrupted. Most of us hate interruptions. We’ve got a goal or a task or a plan, an agenda you know, and someone calls or knocks on the door and our plans are interrupted. Jesus planned to have some one-on-one time with this smaller group of 12, but the multitudes, several thousand men and women, track Him down. And rather than getting upset about it, Jesus “received them and spoke to them.”

And in our efforts to be like Christ we will endeavor to be as kind when we are interrupted this week. It’s nearly always helpful to think of our interruptions as divine appointments. God sent that person to knock on your office door for a reason. God led that person to call or come by for a reason. Embrace the opportunity when others interrupt you and see what God is up to.

But we are also encouraged to know that our Lord doesn’t mind our interrupting Him. As often as we need Him we come to Him. Christ says, “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28)” and, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink (John 7:37).” To quote another hymn:

Are you weary, are you heavy hearted?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
Are you grieving over joys departed?
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Jesus delights in our interrupting Him. You cannot go to Him too much in prayer. Just get alone somewhere quiet and tell it to Jesus. You will often find that in just the telling of it to Him that He grants you a peace that surpasses all understanding. Tell it this week to the God who is never too busy to be interrupted. Verse 12:

12 When the day began to wear away, the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.”

The 12 are concerned for this group of over 5,000 people. Luke tells us later that there about 5,000 men. Matthew in his Gospel tells us that this number did not include the women and children (Matthew 14:21) so this number may be as large as 20,000 people. The 12 are watching the sun begin to go down and they get concerned about these people not having anything to eat: “Send them to the surrounding towns to get lodging and food for we are in a deserted (uninhabited) place here.” Verse 13:

13 But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people.”

It’s an odd thing, really. Jesus says, “You give them something to eat.” Impossible! They even reply, “Look, we’ve taken an inventory and all we have are about 5 loaves of bread and two fish. We could go ourselves and buy food for all these people, but the whole thing seems crazy.” Verses 14 and following:

14 For there were about five thousand men (again, add the women and children and perhaps as many as 20,000. Luke provides the more conservative number. He was obviously not a Baptist! Had a Baptist been there he would have been counting every single person and animal). Then He said to His disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of fifty.”
15 And they did so, and made them all sit down.
16 Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude.

Verse 16 sounds a bit like what Christ does in the Lord’s Supper. He “looked up to heaven” in prayer, blessed and broke the bread, giving the bread to the disciples to set before the people. Then verse 17:

17 So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.

And somewhere there in verses 16 and 17 you have this incredible power of Jesus Christ in His multiplying the bread and fish from 5 loaves and 2 fish to enough food to feed perhaps as many as 20,000 people. It is a miracle. We cannot understand how it happened. There is no natural explanation. It is supernatural. How does one get enough food to feed several thousand people from one picnic basket? Alexander Maclaren accentuates the power of Christ by writing, “The pieces grew under (Christ’s) touch, and the disciples always found His hands full when they came back with their own empty.”

Of course the point is unmistakable: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Just as God provided in a similarly miraculous way through the Prophets Elijah and Elisha (1 Kings 17:16, 2 Kings 4:42-44), so God—in Christ—provides because the Son of God was with the Heavenly Father in the creation of all things. As Paul writes in Colossians 1:16-17, “For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…all things were created by Him and for Him…”

Now let me give you these reminders that surface from our study of this passage. First:

1) Remember what Christ has already done for you

It is a bit puzzling in verse 12 that the disciples insist on Jesus’ dismissing the crowds in order that they might find food and lodging in the surrounding towns. I say it is puzzling because if you will remember, one of the points Luke has been making from as far back as verse 22 of the previous chapter, Luke 8:22 and following, is that Jesus Christ has all authority and power over everything. There is nothing He cannot do and no need He cannot meet. He calms the storm, demonstrating His Lordship over nature. He is Lord over danger, Lord over demons, Lord over disease, and even Lord over death. There is nothing He cannot do and no need He cannot meet.

So now we have these crowds of people who need to eat and it’s as though the 12 Disciples forgot about Christ’s power and authority over everything. You almost sense from Jesus in His reply—verse 13—“You give them something to eat,” a gentle reminder of their inability to take care of this problem and His absolute ability to take care of this problem. I suppose had you or I been in the Jesus’ shoes we would have been like, “Where have you guys been?! Don’t you remember what I’ve already done for you? Don’t you remember what I did for you in the stilling of the storm? Even then I asked you, ‘Where is your faith?’ Did you misplace your faith? Don’t you remember my power over demons, disease, and even death? Don’t you think I can take care of the physical hunger of a few thousand people?!”

But really Jesus may say the same thing to you and me. We cry out to Him, “Help! Get me out of this problem!” Or worse, we don’t even think of Jesus’ helping us. Yet He has gotten us through so much. Look over your shoulder and remember how much He has done for you.

Has He not met your every need? I didn’t say you’re every desire. We often say, “Jesus will meet our every need, not our every greed.” There are some things Christ does not give us because He knows best. But when you and are really walking in the Lord and trusting Him, our desires are His desires. Isn’t that right? Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

Remember how He has met your needs yesterday and you will be encouraged that He will continue to meet your needs tomorrow. He’ll meet every need you have in this life. He is your Savior from anxiety, worry, anger, loneliness, and depression.

So Remember what Christ has already done for you. Number two:

2) Remember our Lord often tests us to teach us to depend upon Him

Once the disciples tell Jesus to dismiss the crowds, Jesus makes this statement in verse 13, “You give them something to eat.” He may as well have said, “You calm the sea. You heal this bleeding woman. You raise this girl from the dead.” That was an impossible task. How in the world are the disciples going to get enough food to feed some 20,000 people? Their befuddlement is sensed in the reply, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish!” I mean, come on, Jesus!

But our Lord Jesus means to show that what is impossible with man is possible with God. Jesus Christ makes possible the impossible. So this is a test to teach them to depend upon Him.

You see this even more clearly in John’s Gospel. And, incidentally, this miracle is the only miracle occurring in all four Gospels. In John’s Gospel, chapter 6, John adds a detail. Jesus, turns to Philip and says, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” Then John adds, “But this He said to test him, for He himself knew what He would do (John 6:5-6).”

Our Lord often tests us to teach us to depend upon Him. He will put you into situations this week at work to teach you to depend upon Him. He will put you into situations at school this week to teach you to depend upon Him. He will put you into situations in your home and family and marriage to teach you to depend upon Him. So—depend upon Him.

What is impossible with man is possible with God. Nowhere is this any truer than in our need for salvation. We cannot save ourselves. It is impossible. So Jesus Christ meets our need for salvation, dying on the cross for our sins, taking our punishment upon Himself and rising from the dead. What is impossible with man is possible with God.

Remember what Christ has already done for you. Remember our Lord often tests us to teach us to depend on Him. And thirdly:

3) Remember to obey Jesus even when it doesn’t seem to make sense

You have to credit the disciples here. Jesus implies that He is going to feed the crowd of some 20,000 people. He tells the disciples in verse 14 “Make them sit down in groups of fifty.” And verse 15 says, “And they did so, and made them all sit down.” Now, they had to be thinking, “What in the world is He going to do?! I’ll do this, but it doesn’t make sense.”

There are times you and I come to the Word of God and we read things that don’t seem to make sense. Tithe. Return to the Lord 10% of all He has given you. Love Jesus more than your mother or father, husband or wife. Sell all you have and give to the poor. Let the dead bury their dead. Come and follow Me. Walk by faith and not by sight. So:

Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
God will take care of you;
Beneath His wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.

God will take care of you,
Through every day, o’er all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

Trust Christ to meet your every need.

Copyright, Rev. Todd A. Linn, PhD

See Also:

Sermons and Bible Commentaries for the 5th Sunday after Pentecost

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