SERIES: 43 John - Believe:879 - 2009
MESSAGE: Lessons From a Picnic
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: John 6:1-14

This story ranks in the "top ten" of the most famous miracles of Jesus Christ. In fact this is the most famous of all His miracles as it alone is recorded by all four gospel accounts. But this is far more than a Sunday school tale. This extraordinary picnic was not just a free meal for five thousand folks; it provided lessons for both ancient and modern disciples. Here are four profound truths that emerge from this lakeside lunch.


Jesus provides the biggest meal found anywhere. Five thousand was the count of men only, besides women and children, meaning a free lunch for ten to fifteen thousand. This is a rare. Jesus never gave money and he rarely gave food. The meaning is deeper than a picnic. It is the only miracle Jesus performed recorded in all four gospels.

  1. Problems Don’t Escape God’s View (vv. 1-4)
    1. Time
      1. After these things - meta tauta
      2. "Feast of the Jews"
        1. Passover - 1 year later
        2. Feast of Tabernacles - 6 months later
    2. Soaring Popularity
      1. Crowds saw the signs Jesus performed
      2. Jesus success not gauged by numbers
      3. Jesus did not commit himself to them - John 2:24
      4. Within one year some of these will be shouting, "Crucify Him!"
        1. Those mad or bitter against God have unfulfilled expectations
        2. Follow Jesus on their own terms - See themselves as Lord and Christ as the servant, rather than Christ as Lord and self as the slave
    3. Physical Need
      1. Away from home
      2. Hot, hungry, thirsty
      3. Seeing - theaomai- to notice
      4. We are specially cared for by God - Matthew 6:25-26; Romans 8:32
  2. Perplexities Test Faith in God’s Power (vv. 5-7)
    1. Jesus tests beyond the edge to stretch faith
    2. Asks Philip, but not looking for information
      1. Philip is the hometown guy
      2. Testing Philip
        1. When God does something wonderful He begins with a difficulty; when He does something very wonderful He begins with an impossibility
        2. Will Philip focus on his inadequacy or on God's ability?
        3. Philip failed the test - answers not where, but how much
        4. If Philip couldn't see it, He couldn't believe it
    3. Difficulty must be measured by the capacity of the agent doing the work
  3. People are Part of God’s Plan (vv. 8-10) (boy, Philip, Andrew, disciples)
    1. Andrew
      1. Known as "Simon Peter's brother"
      2. Brought people to Jesus
        1. Simon Peter
        2. Greeks
        3. Boy with the loaves and fish
    2. Boy - John only gospel writer to mention the boy
      1. Insignificant, poor
      2. Pita bread and pickled fish spread
      3. Unknown, unnamed, insignificant does not mean unimportant or useless
      4. Something/someone small, placed in the hands of Jesus, can bless a multitude
    3. Jesus could have performed a miracle without any of these people, but He uses people to perform His work
    4. Don't look at your littleness above His greatness
      1. 5+2= not much
      2. 5+2+Jesus=the sky is the limit
    5. Don't forget to factor in Christ's power when you commit your life into His hands
  4. Provision is Abundant in God’s Time (vv. 11-14)
    1. As much as they wanted
    2. They were filled
    3. Exceedingly, abundantly - Ephesians 3:20
    4. Philip calculated on the bare minimum, Jesus provided the maximum
    5. Gathered up the fragments
      1. 12 disciples, each had a basket
      2. Free lunch and breakfast for his 12
    6. Psalm 37:25
    7. Psalm 23:5
Greek Terms: meta tauta - after these things; theaomai- to notice
Figures Referenced: William Barclay, DL Moody, Edward Kimball, Martin Luther, Philip Melancthon, Billy Graham, Mordecai Ham, Howard Hendricks
Cross References: Psalm 37:25; Psalm 23:5; Matthew 6:25-26; John 2:24; Romans 8:32; Ephesians 3:20

Topic: Provision

Keywords: miracle, feeding of the 5000, provision, loaves and fishes, Philip, Andrew

Lessons From a Picnic - John 6:1-14 |
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