God of Miracles – Week Four
VIDEO: Show tonight’s video here:
God of Miracles – Week 4
ICEBREAKER: Before we discuss the feeding of the 5000 answer this question. Do you prefer going to a really nice restaurant and enjoying a high quality but expensive meal? Or do you prefer going to an all you can eat buffet, where the food isn’t of the highest quality but it is unending?
[Q] Briefly discuss the message from Sunday.
[Q] Name one thing that stood out to you from Sunday’s message.
[Q] Is there one question from Sunday’s message that you would like to ask or discuss?
[Q] Do you have a new way of dealing with anxiety after being reminded that Christ calms life’s storms? Share with your group.
APPLY THE BIBLE:
Background on John 6: 1-13 We learned that Jesus had commissioned his disciples to go and minister in his name throughout the countryside (Mark 6: 6-13). While his disciple were sent out on their ministry trip, Jesus had gotten word that his cousin, John the Baptist, had been executed by Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great (who tried to have Jesus killed as a baby in Matthew 2: 16-18).
But Jesus had just gone VIRAL! Everyone wanted the great miracle worker from Nazareth to minister to them. In the gospel of Mark, we read that when Jesus saw the crowds and he had compassion on them and was teaching them many things late into the night. And that is where Jesus and his disciples discovered the problem of getting enough food to feed their guests.
[Q] Have someone from your group summarize the story. What parts of the story spoke to you?
[Q] Where were Jesus and His disciples going? Based on the background, what do you think Jesus’ mood was? How about the mood of His disciples?
[Q] What was the Jewish festival that they were about to celebrate? Why do you think that is significant?
The feeding of the 5000 is the only miracle story told in all four Gospels.
Perhaps this story has such a secure place in the memory of the church because of the Eucharistic [communion] themes which it carries. This is especially true in John where Jesus’ action over the bread is described with the verb eucharisteo, “give thanks,” rather than the Synoptic [Matthew, Mark, and Luke] Gospels’ “blessing” (John 6:11, 23).
While each Gospel includes this story, each also strikes distinctive notes in the telling. Only John tells us that this event takes place near the festival of Passover (John 6:4). What may seem like an insignificant detail, in fact is at the heart of what the entire chapter claims about Jesus.
At the end of chapter 5, Jesus states that his opponents did not understand or believe what Moses had written (John 5:39-47). We then are ushered immediately into a scene that not only takes place at Passover, one of the great events associated with Moses, but into a text that overflows with echoes of the Passover event. – Brian Peterson
Verse 14 indicates that the people have made the connections. Faced with this feeding miracle in the wilderness, they remember the promise that God will raise up a prophet like Moses, and they confess that Jesus is that prophet. But they fail to realize what this sign actually reveals. Instead of seeing in Jesus the very embodiment of God’s glory, love, and Word, they see a king, a political or military figure who might serve their desires.
We ought to remember the Passover was a festival of national liberation from a foreign oppressor. It is an act of revolution to want to make Jesus king. The crowds are certainly acting on their beliefs, and acting boldly; but they have missed the point of what has happened. They see Jesus’ gracious gift, but they want a glory for him that fits into their assumptions and serves their goals.
[Q] How often do we fail to see the depths of what God is doing, because we are focused only on what serves our immediate desires and needs?
[Q] How do we use Jesus to fit into our assumptions and goals in life rather than following Him as the Scriptures portray Him? Why can it be so difficult?
[Q] In verse 6, we read that Jesus was testing His disciples, because He had in mind what He was already going to do. Think about your present circumstances and situations. How do you think God is testing you? How are you currently responding? Does it provide you any comfort knowing that Jesus already knows what He is going to do and He also is guiding you through each test? Do you see any connection between Sunday’s message and this text? What could God be trying to teach you?
In verses 7-8, we see an exchange between Jesus, Philip and Andrew. Philip is from the closest town in that area. That is why Jesus asks him about where to get bread. Philip, in all of his practicality, can’t imagine feeding all of these people. Philip has no idea what to do.
[Q] Can you relate to Philip? Share with your group a situation you may have been in and you did not know how to respond.
[Q] Andrew brings a boy to Jesus with 5 barley loaves and 2 fish. Barley loaves were the food of poor people. These 5 loaves and two fish were nowhere near enough. Still, Jesus takes the little that was offered to Him and used it to multiply into a great miracle! What life lessons can we learn?
NT Wright says this about Andrew and Philip’s response:
Philip doesn’t know what to do. Andrew doesn’t either, but he brings the boy and his bread and fish to Jesus’ attention. The point is obvious, but we perhaps need to be reminded of it: so often we ourselves have no idea what to do, but the starting-point is always to bring what is there to the attention of Jesus. You can never tell what he’s going to do with it—though part of Christian faith is the expectation that he will do something we hadn’t thought of, something new and creative.
[Q] Look at verse 10-11. Jesus had the disciples make the people sit down. In other aspects of the story, Jesus has the disciples distribute the food. It seems that Jesus often included people in His miracles. People do what they are responsible for, but then Jesus does what only Jesus can do. In your situations and circumstances, what is it that only YOU can do, and what is it that only God can do?
In verses 12-13, Jesus provided enough food for all 5000 to have enough to eat themselves, and not only that, they had 12 extra baskets. John is asking us to make a connection here to the Old Testament where God provided Manna for the people while they were in the desert. In the desert, the Manna was only to be used for the day…but here Jesus had more than enough. What is John trying to show us about the nature of Jesus?
In Jesus’ math 5+2=5000! Imagine applying that math in your own life. Where do you need to put in Jesus’ hands’? Is it your job? Your job, business, marriage, kids, your ministry? Open your hands and give it to Jesus. Remember: He can do exponentially more with it than you can!
[Q] Share with your group something that you may think is insignificant or you may think does not have a huge impact that God will do something miraculous with. Speaking it out loud is the first step in admitting your need and stepping out of the boat!
[Q] Principle Five of Kerry Shook’s Book, Find your Miracle states this: Only God can provide a miracle, but you have to put yourself in position to receive it. How can you position yourself to receive God’s provision? Here are some common ways to pray:
If there is a health situation. God may be calling that person to pursue prayer for healing as well as going to the doctor. But not just going for prayer once, but continually going to God for prayer and healing (Matthew 7:7).
Career. If it’s looking for God to come through for a job situation, offering that situation to God. Writing your resume and praying it to the Lord and praying through every job interview and giving it wholly and completely to God. Trusting Him with the outcome no matter what it would be like. Also looking to God for your provision while your searching for a God.
Relationships. If your in a conflict with a family member, pray through ways to make Matthew 5: 44 come to life: But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. Position yourself by finding ways to love, bless, do good and pray for those that your having relationship conflict with.
Other. Help your group bring any situations that are on their minds and hearts to Jesus. Help them search the Scriptures to find stories and verses that could connect to their particular struggles and situations.
Read John 6:25–59. The people were waiting for a political savior like Moses to help them find freedom from the Romans. In these verses, Jesus explained to them that it was God, not Moses, who gave their forefathers manna in the desert and that God now offered them the true bread from heaven.
[Q] What does Jesus say God requires for someone to eat “food that endures to eternal life” (John 6: 27–29)?
[Q] What does belief in Jesus really look like? Is it believing a set of facts or acknowledging a creed? How does this impact how we live and behave?
[Q] List the promises mentioned in this passage for those who come to Jesus as the bread of life.
In vs. 35, Jesus gives the first of of His 7 “I AM” statements. Here, He declares that He is the Bread of Life. The “I Am” statement is Jesus’ disclosure that He is God. When God reveals Himself to Moses in the wilderness, He uses the name “I Am” (Exodus 3:14). Jesus makes 7 “I Am” statements throughout the book of John to show that He is God.
Jesus also says:
- I am the light of the world (John 8:12).
- I am the door (John 10: 9).
- I am the True Vine (John 15:1).
- I am the Good Shepherd (John 10: 11).
- I am the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25).
- I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6).
The people were looking for a political Messiah that would help them find salvation from the Romans. But Jesus was more than that. He was a Spiritual Messiah that would save them from their sins. He would completely change the way they saw themselves and the world. The people came to Jesus looking for a free meal and a revolution (John 6: 34), but Jesus came to give them Himself. The people wanted their needs met first, but Jesus wanted to give them so much more. He was showing them that the miracle of the feeding was meant to help them see who He was.
[Q] So often, we come to God with our list of prayer requests, but God wants to show us who He is. How have you see God reveal Himself to you through answering your prayers (even when it may not happen in the way you thought it would)?
[Q] Jesus makes His most radical statement, “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” What do you think this means?
[Q] How have you responded to Jesus’ harder teachings? Do you respond by obeying, or do you ignore or minimize them? What is your bias?
In the message, Pastor Tim was talking about our struggle with fear and anxiety. For most people, anxiety is something that many people battle with. When struggling with anxiety, we can keep in mind that we have a God who is a God of abundance. He simply says to give Him our anxiety and our fear, and He will transform them by His power. If you feel comfortable, share with your group what causes you anxiety and fear. Have each person share and then take time to pray for each person. Pray that they can look to Jesus to calm the storms that come upon us and provide all that we need. Do that for each individual in your group, this is a picture of what it looks like to give God what you have and He’ll take the little you gave and make it abundant. He will provide your needs in the midst of fear and anxiety.
CHANCE TO SERVE:
Are you and your Group Members part of our Sunday Dream Team? There are many opportunities for you to get involved every week. Check out the Dream Team page on our Website and encourage one another to use your spiritual gifts to help others draw closer to Jesus Christ!
Both the Old and New Testament’s point to Jesus. When Jesus reveals Himself as the bread of life in John 6, that is not the first time He is seen. In the Old Testament, there are several miracles that God does with bread that actually point to the coming Christ. We’ll look at two of them to go deeper.
The Books of 1 and 2 Kings were written to record history but, more importantly, to teach the lessons of history.
The author’s chief historical concern was to preserve a record of the kings of both Israel and Judah. The emphasis in this record is on the royal actions and also on the actions of selected prophets that bear on the period in which they ministered.
More importantly the author sought to evaluate the monarchy by the standard of the Mosaic Law. Besides tracing the decline of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, he pointed out the reasons for their decline in general and the fate of each king in particular. He may have intended to teach the exiles in Babylon the reasons for their plight so that they would learn from their past. In particular God’s faithfulness to His covenant (blessing the obedient and punishing the disobedient) and the evils of idolatry receive strong emphasis. – Bible Knowledge Commentary
In the story found in 1 Kings, the king at the time is Ahab. Ahab is a wicked king. And because of his evils such as corrupting the Temple with false worship of God’s like Baal and Asherah, as well as offering child sacrifice, God has sent the prophet Elijah to him. Elijah has just stopped the rain and Israel is in a terrible drought. In the midst of this time God sends him to a widow.
Have someone in your group summarize the story.
[Q] Where does God direct Elijah to go next?
[Q] Why do you think God uses a widow?
[Q] Look at the widow’s attitude when Elijah asks for help in vs. 12. How does she respond to him? Do you sense great joy in her obedience?
[Q] How have we responded in similar ways when God asks us for our obedience? Share with your group.
[Q] Despite the widow’s attitude, how did she respond to Elijah? What does this demonstrate to us?
[Q] What areas do you have where you need to put obedience before what you feel? What are the obstacles that keep you from doing that?
[Q] Can you see how this story points to Christ? Share with your group.
Read 2 Kings 4: 42-44. This story is a short story, but close to the details of what we read in John 6: 1-13. Elisha, was the assistant to Elijah, but then took over for him. He is in a situation where he needs to feed the prophets of God (about 100 of them).
[Q] The bread that was given to Elisha was a first-fruits offering. It was a tithe that the man gave to honor God. One of the patterns we see in these stories is a boy giving the food that he had, a widow giving her last bread and a man giving what He had and God multiplied it. When we bring God all that we have, He is able to do the miraculous. How can we consistently bring to God the best that we have, even if by the world’s standard it isn’t that much?