Will Jesus provide for you? Are you struggling to believe it, because when you do the math it doesn’t add up? You’re in good company. Philip and Andrew had witnessed astounding miracles by Jesus, but when it came to feeding 5,000 people1 the math added up to impossible.
Imagine a conversation between Philip and Andrew as they are gathering up the leftovers.
Philip set his basket load of bread fragments down on the grass. He straightened his tired back and scanned the huge crowd of happy, sated people. It was hard to absorb what had just happened.
Andrew dropped his basket beside Philip’s, blew a sigh, and leaned on Philip’s shoulder. “Well done, Philip! You fed them, just like Jesus instructed. But I’d say you overestimated the bread.” With a dazed laugh Philip answered, “No, I overestimated the cost!2 I thought the bread would bankrupt us. I think you’re the one who actually got the food.3
“True. But who knew that a boy’s lunch would be more than enough for the biggest picnic in Israel?”
“How many loaves did he have?”
“And how many loaves do you think we gave out?”
“I have no idea. I’ve never seen so much bread in my life. There are easily over five thousand people here.” Andrew did a silent calculation. “Maybe twenty thousand loaves?”
Philip just shook his head in amazement, “That’s not even counting the fish.”
“I know. It would have taken Peter and me weeks to haul in that many fish. And as I was passing them out I got to thinking, where did all these fish come from?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, the boy had two fish, right? We know where those fish came from. Some fisherman caught them, sold them in the market, the boy’s mother bought them, prepared them, and sent them with him. But we must have passed out ten thousand fish! Philip, where did those fish come from? Nobody caught them, or sold them, or bought them. Nobody prepared them. They just appeared!”
Mystified, Philip replied, “I didn’t even think about that.”
Andrew pulled a fish fragment from his basket. “Look, this fish has eyes. It has gills and fins. It’s a real fish! Did it ever swim, Philip? Did it ever use these eyes or fins? Did it ever live? Did God snatch it out of the sea, prepare it, and give it to Jesus a second before he handed it to us? Or did he just create it there on the spot fully prepared?”
Philip looked down at his basket. “The same goes for the bread. Did God take barley from some field in the world and instantly make it into bread, or did he speak it into existence fully baked?”
Both of them looked over at Jesus in wonder. Andrew said, “Whatever he did is beyond comprehension. Philip, we may have been the first to eat miracle food since the manna last fell in the wilderness.”
Philip quoted Moses: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers — it is to him you shall listen.”4
Then turning to Andrew he said, “I’ve known he’s the One from the time he first called me.5 I’ve seen him turn water into wine.6 I’ve seen healings like nothing I’ve ever heard of before. And yet, I’m so slow to listen; so slow to believe. When he asked me about feeding the crowd I didn’t even think about his power. I just looked at how little money we had and saw an impossibility. I’m no better than Moses’ generation who saw miracle after miracle and then promptly forgot God’s power the next time they faced an obstacle.”
“I’m in the same boat with you, Philip. I’m the one who asked, “What are five barley loaves and two fish for so many?”7
“Andrew, I don’t want to forget this moment. He made five loaves and two fish more than enough for five thousand people. He spoke and it was provided. This is why he’s told us not to be anxious about our needs but to ‘seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness’ believing that ‘all these things will be added to’ us.8 I want to remember this when the next “impossibility” shows up.”
“God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”9 He really means for us to believe this. Because if we do, our worries are over.