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Sunday, May 28, 2017

posted May 28, 2017, 9:31 PM by Site Administrator

 

YOU GIVE THEM SOMETHING TO EAT

 

Luke 9:1-17

Key Verse 9:13

 

He replied, "You give them something to eat." They answered, "We have only five loaves of bread and two fish-- unless we go and buy food for all this crowd."

 

First, "He sent them out to preach the kingdom of God" (1-9). Look at verses 1 and 2. It reads: "1When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick." This passage talks about Jesus sending out the Twelve in their mission journey. For the past three years, they had learned from Jesus how to do God's work; during this period of time, Jesus was the main figure in serving God's work, and they were the students and assistants. Now, after three years' training, at the end part of his public ministry, he sent them out in their mission journey so that they might do God's work on their own, without hisphysical presence. Indeed, it was the field work training. 

 

When we check out verses 1 and 2 carefully, we see Jesusgiving them power and authority to drive out demons and to cure diseases so that he could send them out to preach the kingdom of God. Giving them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases was his preparation for them. And sending them out to preach the kingdom of God was his purpose for them. Basically, in their mission journey, they would do three things - drive out demons, heal the sick, and preach the kingdom of God. But driving out demons was not the real purpose; healing the sick was not the real purpose. Jesus sent them out to preach the kingdom of God - that was their real mission, and that was what they must aim to do all the time. But Jesus foresaw that, as they did God's work by preaching the kingdom of God, they would face the obstacle of demons and diseases, so he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases so that they would do God's work freely. 

 

There are many people who have demon problems. And disease is a part of human life. So, as we struggle to do God's work, we naturally come to have the challenges from demons and diseases. And understanding the nature of our mission, Jesus has already given us power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases. So, as we struggle to do God's work, we come to have many battle stories of driving out demons and healing the sick - such things are a part of our mission life. But we must remember that Jesus' purpose in sending us into the world is not that we become exorcists, or miracle healers, but he has sent us to preach the kingdom of God. You may drive out a demon from one person, but what benefit is there when thedemon comes back to that person later, even with seven more wicked demons? Healing the sick sounds good; you may look cool as you heal someone. But eventually people get old, sick and die. The real blessing comes to people when we preach the kingdom of God to them. Real solution comes to people when we preach to them the kingdom of God. This mission of preaching the kingdom of God is so important that he even has given us power and authority to drive out demons and to cure diseases so that our ministry of preaching the kingdom of God may not be hindered or limited by anything. Preach the kingdom of God! Preach the word in season and out of season! 

 

Look at verses 3 through 5. As they would go out and do God's work, there might be many things they had to take care of - lodging, food,... So, Jesus gave them instructions about such things. Let's read verse 3 together:

 

3He told them: "Take nothing for the journey-- no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic.

 

"Take nothing for the journey -- no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic." Who can travel without money, without extra clothes and without credit cards? Was Jesus encouraging them to be travel beggars? Definitely not! His point was that the disciples in their mission journey should not worry about such things, but rely on God's provision. Don't rely on money or any other things in doing God's work; don't think that when you have enough money, you will serve God's work better. So it is really good to do God's work when we are busy students, when we have nothing to rely on - we don't have that much time for fellowship with sheep, we don't have much money to buy lunch for sheep; we don't have that good communication skill either. Because we have nothing to rely on in doing God's work, we rely on God alone, by humbly praying for God's work to be done and by dedicating ourselves to studying the word of God and sharpening it all the more. God will take care of you with all necessary things as you struggle to do God's work. So, don't worry about it - what to eat, what to wear, and where to sleep. Often, people who have a heart's desire for God's mission struggle hard to prepare themselves thoroughly in advance, spending extensive time and effort for staffs, for bags (one bag for learning a foreign language, another bag for getting seminary certificate, another bag for understanding different culture,...), bread (some license and degree for career in a foreign land), money, extra tunic... Their preparation is endless, taking many years, postponing God's mission, and they get old. Jesus' point is that, simply, we must not postpone God's mission for such preparation. Instead, trusting in God's provision and guidance, entrusting our life in God's hands completely, we must just go and do God's work right away. Then, we come to experience God's provision and help, which is magnified in our weaknesses. 

 

Later, right before his arrest at the last supper, Jesus gave them a different direction. He asked them, "When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?""Nothing," they answered. Then, he said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one." Once they learned to rely on God in serving God’s purpose, all things they had became useful tools to serve God; if they had money, they could use it very preciously – with money you can do so many things for God’s purpose; if they had good communication skill, it was very useful; if they could play guitar, marvelous – drums, fantastic! So Jesus encouraged them to take whatever they had.

 

Then, since the disciples did not have any money in their mission journey, how could they solve their eating and lodging problem? Look at verse 4. Jesus said to them, "Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town." As they served God’s mission wholeheartedly, God would prepare food and lodging for them through some worthy people who accepted their messages and were more than willing to have them at their homes. Then, they should stay there until they leave the town. Maybe, the food they offer is not what they like, but they must eat what is set before them; maybe, the house they are led to is not a kind of house they like; maybe, it has only one room, and there are seven children, and the disciples have to sleep on the hard floor. Or like the widow in Zarephath, the meal the family set before them is their last meal, and once the disciples eat it, the whole family will starve, but no matter what, stay in that house until God's mission in that town is over. Don't move from house to house looking for a little more convenient or comfortable or luxurious environment; the reason you are there is not for luxury or convenience, but for God's kingdom work. When God has led you to a house, God must have a reason; even if the food they set before you is not healthy food you like, don't worry; just eat it; even poison will not harm you at all. 

 

Look at verse 5. Let's read this verse together: 

 

If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.

 

Jesus gave them this instruction showing them how they should respond when they are not welcomed. Shaking the dust off their feet is the sign that no matter what happens to them as the result of rejecting them, the disciples have no responsibility - they would not share anything with them, even the dust - so, they are not related to them at all whatever happens to them. Even if people go to hell as the result of rejecting the disciples’ message, they are solely responsible for the consequences of their own choice. Jesus did not want his disciples to get discouraged or even blame themselves when their mission was not successful. When people do not accept us, we simply shake the dust off our feet, and we focus on those who welcome and accept us. 

 

How did the disciples do on their mission journey? Look at verses 6 through 9. So the disciples set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere. As a result, the whole area was stirred up, and people came to recognize Jesus as a great servant of God like John the Baptist, or Elijah or one of great prophets. When their mission life was a great success, Jesus' name was revealed to the world and people came to recognize him. When we do God's work wholeheartedly and thereby, a great work of God occurs on our campus, people come to recognize Jesus. We must aim to bear much fruit so that Jesus may be revealed and honored and respected among people. Jesus says, "This is to my Father's glory that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." (Jn 15:8) "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last." (Jn 15:16)

 

Second, "You give them something to eat" (10-17). Look at verses 10 and 11. Their mission journey was a great success. When the twelve apostles returned, they held a mission report together with Jesus. They reported to him all they had done and taught - how they had driven out demons; how they had healed so many sick people; how powerfully they preached the gospel message. What an exciting moment it was to them. It was the best time in their lives. Their spirit was good. But Jesus noticed that they were very tired also from their long journey. Jesus was their good shepherd who was concerned about their well being. So, he took them with him and went away by themselves in a boat to the other side of the lake, Bethsaida. But their retreat plan did not go as they had expected. Many who saw them leaving recognized Jesus; then, they figured out where Jesus' company was heading to. They ran on foot from all the towns. Suddenly, there was a marathon race around the Sea of Galilee, and about 5,000 people participated, running hard and getting there ahead of Jesus company. When the disciples arrived at the other side of the lake, the crowd greeted them so joyfully, saying, "Welcome Jesus!" It was a frustrating moment to the disciples. Their retreat was ruined.

 

But at that time, what did Jesus do? Marks gospel chapter 6, verse 34 reads: "But when Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd." Even if his retreat plan was ruined because of the crowd, he was not upset with them. Instead, he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Without the guidance and protection of a shepherd, what can sheep do? They all struggle hard to survive and secure their life, running here and there, but predators such as ferocious wolves come, scatter them and kill them one by one, two by two, and eventually, all of them are destroyed - that's the destiny of sheep without a shepherd; maybe, they are most pathetic. This is all fallen men's condition. Like sheep without a shepherd, all people struggle hard to secure their life and survive in the world by studying and working hard, by struggling to build their career; they try to secure happiness by building a beautiful family. Then, diseases visit them destroying their happiness; sin smears into their life; demons visit them and torture them; depression comes, and finally divorce devours their life completely. People struggle hard to secure their life and protect their happiness from these things, but like sheep without a shepherd, they are being destroyed by these ferocious wolves one by one and two by two, and their life is bankrupt. People need a shepherd who can show them which way to go, and how to live their lives; people need a shepherd who can lead them to green pastures where they can rest and be healthy and sound.

 

Look at verse 11"He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God." When Jesus had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd, he became their shepherd by speaking to them about the kingdom of God. There were about 5,000 people, actually, about 10,000 people including women and children. They had various problems, especially, they had a serious bread problem as we see in John 6. But when these people sought him enthusiastically, Jesus didn't give them what they wanted; instead, he spoke to them about the kingdom of God, because, in his eyes, what they really needed was the kingdom of God; in his eyes, the real solution for all their problems was the kingdom of God. They were like sheep without a shepherd. So, Jesus became their shepherd by speaking to them about the kingdom of God, helping them develop the real hope of the kingdom of God, and thereby, showing them a clear direction of what to pursue and how to live their life. 

 

Right now, we may have many problems, and we may desire for many things - graduates hope to find a good career job; some people want to marry; indeed, each person has a different need. But what if Jesus visits us today here? What will he do for us? I am sure that he will speak to us about the kingdom of God - its secrets, its beauty, its glory, how it spreads on earth,... When we know the kingdom of God, we will have the real hope in it. Then, we experience that all problems disappear, and we can live as holy pilgrims in this world. This is what Jesus the shepherd of our souls, desires for us. And this is how we can become shepherds for many wandering students on our campuses.

 

Look at verse 12. Once Jesus started his message out of compassionate heart for the crowd, Gods message kept welling up in his heart and he taught them continually until it became almost evening time. Now the crowd was happy to hear from Jesus the word of God, and Jesus was happy to take care of the crowd through the word of God. But because it was getting late, the disciples came up with a practical suggestion, saying to him, "Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here." There were so many people who needed food to eat and place to sleep, about 5,000 men in number, and it was a remote place where there was no inn or fast food restaurant, and the time was running out and the evening was coming. So the only solution to solve the present situation was to finish the meeting as soon as possible and send them away so that at least people might have a chance to take care of themselves; otherwise, they would be in big trouble, stuck with 5,000 people in the wilderness, and people would have to spend the night outside, without having any blanket or eating anything.

 

Their analysis of the situation was accurate and correct, and it seemed that their suggestion was really reasonable. But what did Jesus say to them? Look at verse 13. Lets read this verse together:

 

He replied, "You give them something to eat." They answered, "We have only five loaves of bread and two fish-- unless we go and buy food for all this crowd."

 

Jesus idea was different. He said to them, "You give them something to eat." At this, the disciples were shocked and they exclaimed altogether in unison, "We have only five loaves of bread and two fish-- unless we go and buy food for all this crowd." In their eyes, it was impossible. Why did Jesus give such an impossible looking direction? Was it because he did not know the situation very well? Was it because he thought his disciples had some secret food for an emergency situation? No. He did so because they should be the shepherds for these wandering people. Jesus knew that they did not have that much money or even if they had money, there was no way to buy that much bread. Jesus knew that his disciples were tired, but still he wanted them to live as shepherds for the wandering people. The crowd was like sheep without a shepherd; there was no one who had taken care of them; they were harassed and oppressed. Jesus disciples should not say, "Let them take care of themselves," only because they were limited greatly, because they were their shepherds. They should not say, "I cannot help you any longer because I have no money," because they were their shepherds. The shepherds should not say, "Could you take care of yourself because I too have so many things to do?"Despite all adverse circumstances, Jesus wanted his disciples to operate themselves as shepherds for his flock with the sense of responsibility.

 

Jesus’ direction for his disciples, "You give them something to eat," shows Jesus hearts desire to establish his disciples as the responsible shepherds for Gods flock very well. In this world, there is no one who truly cares for others. Politicians sometimes have the form of caring for others, but they only take care of their own ambition for power; some people take the form of serving others, but without Jesus, their struggle is based on sense of meaninglessness in their lives. There is no shepherd for the suffering people. Because of this, people are lonely and sorrowful. In this world, Jesus wants to establish us as the shepherds for His flock. Maybe, we have such a heavy school load, but Jesus says to us, "You give them something to eat,"because he regards us as shepherds for his flock. Maybe, we do not have that much Bible knowledge, but still he commands us, "You give them something to eat," because he has appointed us to be shepherds for his flock. We too have our own problemssuch as our chronic sin problems or financial problem or relationship problem, and we feel we lack enough strength to take care of even our own needs. But still, Jesus commands us, "You give them something to eat," because we are the shepherds for Gods flock. We too have to take care of our own needs; we need to get a job to pay the bills, but no matter what, we must live as shepherds who take care of so many suffering people - this is Jesus' will for you and for me. Those who have such a sense of responsibility for the wellbeing of others are realleaders.

 

When Jesus said to his disciples, "You give them something to eat," he already had in mind what he was going to do. He asked his disciples, "Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each." Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, Jesus gave thanks to God and broke the loaves. He gave them to his disciples to set before the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish.

 

This miracle of feeding five thousand people with five loaves and two fish is one of the most impressive miracles that shows Jesus hearts desire to take care of all needy people. Jesus is the shepherd for all men in the world because he has deep compassion on them. No one cares for anyone, but Jesus pays attention to each person closely and knows our sufferings. Jesus wants to establish us as shepherds for his flock. So he commands us, "You give them something to eat." May God bless us to live under Jesus care as his sheep, and to live as shepherds for his flock.

 

One Word:You Give Them Something To Eat

 

 

 

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