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Jesus explains who God is.
John 6.1-3 – After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. 2 A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. 3 Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples.
In the world today there is a fair amount of confusion over the nature of God. Jesus came to explain God by making him known. John made this fact a theme of his Gospel. “No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known” (John 1.18).
Jesus shows us that God is personally involved with people. A mere force or some vague spiritual being is not a personal God who loves people and desires to be their very best friend.
Jesus challenges the scarcity mentality.
John 6.4-7 – Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. 5 When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.”
The scarcity mentality believes that there are only so many slices in a pie. I have to get my own slice of pie before others gobble up what is there.
An abundance mentality believes that God is the author and creator of pie and every other good thing on earth.
Philip, like the majority of people in our day, spoke out of a scarcity mentality, and pointed out to Jesus that if they emptied all of the money they had to live on there would still be a very small amount of food for the crowd. He was looking at the money bag and not to Jesus.
Jesus knew what he was going to do. He was training his followers to look to him for their needs. One of God’s key principles is that when we align our will with the will of God, the power of God is released.
Jesus asked Philip to do what Philip in his own power was unable to do. There are times when Jesus does this to us, too. When we agree with Jesus’ direction, it opens the door for God’s power to be released.
We give our little, and Jesus turns it into abundance.
John 6.8-9 – One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?”
Jesus was present, but Philip was looking at the money bag and Andrew was looking to a small boy’s lunch. This is the nature of the scarcity mentality. If we are looking at something other than Jesus, we will only see what we lack.
“I have to get what is mine,” is the belief of scarcity mentality people today. Jesus puts us in situations where we are challenged to trust in him, even at the expense of not having what we think is ours. He wants us to be open to the needs of others and to trust him to provide for us.
The remainder of the story in John 6 shows how Jesus can turn what we believe to be scarcity into abundance. That will be the subject of tomorrow’s article. For today, please join me in asking Jesus to show us areas where we are looking to our own resources rather than to him.
Dear God, only you know the number of times when I have looked to my own resources, rather than to you. Please help me to align my will with your will, so I can see your activity and know you better. Thank you for your grace and love.