SufficientPastor Jerry Gillis - September 6, 2015
For all the times we didn’t measure up, for all the times we didn’t do enough, and for all the times we’ve felt insufficient, Jesus has an answer. He is sufficient.
Community Group Study Notes
- When are you most clearly reminded of your insufficiency? Why does that happen? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
- What does it mean for the sufficiency of Jesus to be more than enough for our insufficiency? How does this apply to our lives as parents, spouses, employees, unmarried individuals, students, etc.?
- How can you daily remind yourself of Christ’s sufficiency? Why is that important?
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
So about a week and a half ago or so our family had a milestone that happened to us. We dropped off our oldest at his university and he's going to be living on campus so he is no longer in our house and so that was a unique thing, you know. After saying goodbye, even though it's not far away, and all those kinds of things, but still they're kind of out of your house and you're saying goodbye. And so we did that whole goodbye thing, you know, as some of you parents and grandparents have done and there was really no coaching that could prepare you for what you feel kind of emotionally, right? I know I'm a man, but I have an emotion or two. I do, I own a couple of them, and so we said goodbye and then the whole ride home my wife is just, she's just a mess, right? She's just blubbering the whole way home, because this is her first child and now he's not living in the house anymore, and all that kind of stuff and I'm not, I'm holding it together, and Tanner's sitting in the back seat and he's holding it together and we're kind of looking at each other like poor Mom, she's having so much trouble, and of course we're also just kind of sucking it up or whatever.
So when we get home after a while, after Edie's working through puffy eyes and lots of Kleenex and all that stuff we were just talking with one another in the kitchen. Tanner was doing whatever he was doing and as we were talking to one another I just said to her, I said you know, I said there was no coaching or preparation that we could have for what you feel emotionally in these kind of moments. It just is what it is, right? You just kind of have to take it for what it is. It's different you know, it's not like we moved him to Alaska or anything, so he's not far and that's all good. But, it's different, right? You expect to see him come home that night.
In fact, Tanner was sitting there, we were watching television, me and Edie and Tanner that evening and Tanner looked at me and he said, “I keep expecting Trace to come through the door, home from work you know, when he was working and stuff”, and I said, “Yeah, he's not. I don't know what else to tell you, he's not.”
But I could see, you know, so Edie and I are in the kitchen and we're talking and I said you know what? I said let me tell you just real honestly just what the emotion is that I'm feeling. I said - women love this, by the way, just guys, head's up. I don't do this all the time, but when you do it's like you go from here to through the moon. So I just said, let me tell you what I'm feeling and I'm not sure how and I don't know why and I don't know if I'm proud of it or not, actually. But the overwhelming emotion that I feel is insufficiency. She kind of looked at me and she said, she started nodding, and I said, I'm asking myself the questions did I teach him everything I was supposed to teach him in eighteen years. Did I model for him everything I was supposed to model for him in the time that he lived in our house? Did our marriage demonstrate what faithfulness looks like and give a picture, even though maybe a subtle one, a picture of the faithfulness of Jesus to His church to our son while he was in our house? So you wrestle with all those things, those kind of things land on you right? And I said I don't know how else to describe it except to feel maybe slightly insufficient. Was I up for the task? Did I do the best job?
So as opposed to a bunch of platitudes that we started offering each other like oh, you did fine, oh, you did great, we just kinda both went “yeah”. We needed the grace of Jesus to fill in all the gaps for us. Because we're insufficient for the task.
I imagine some of you guys have felt the same thing, maybe you dropped the kids off to go to college or maybe you've sent them off to the military, or maybe they got married and you gave them away and you've sent them off and now they're living in another part of the country, but you've had some sense where that's happened to you maybe in your life and you have faced this loud boisterous villain called insufficiency. I promise you it raises its voice and raises its head a lot in our lives and maybe it's in a bunch of different ways.
In fact Time magazine ran a story a few years ago, two years ago in fact in 2013 and it was a story about German researchers who were going to be presenting their findings at an international conference on information systems. Just the kind of thing that I don't want to read about, frankly. But the reason that it was interesting to me was because to summarize their findings, since they're German researchers and I'm me, to summarize their findings it was basically this. They dealt with information systems but were also dealing with social media platforms as well and they summarized their findings by saying this. Those who scroll through Facebook feel worse, more than they feel better. They said the majority of people. Now that is attributed to a lot of variables that they presented in the conference and all this kind of stuff and I'm not picking on Facebook, that's just the case they were making. But one of the reasons and one of the big variables was because of people, as they go through Facebook begin to feel more and more insufficient.
Think about it for just a second. You know how it is, mom, busy mom who works. And you're scrolling through your Facebook and you're seeing some of your mom friends who only feed their small kids like organic seaweed for every meal. And you're just kinda just looking going yeah, they ate Pop-tarts and Cheetos for dinner tonight. And so you walk away feeling like the worst parent in the history of parents. You feel completely insufficient and you might even think that indirectly you're guilty of murder. This is what you're doing. This is how you feel, right?
Or, you're scrolling through Facebook, you know, dad, mom, guy, gal, whoever you are and you see pictures of your friends on their sweet vacation. They have got shots like here's me in Rome. Right? They've got all those shots, right? Here's me at the Eiffel Tower. I'm holding it in my hand, right? Or I'm in California. I'm doing fun stuff, what are you doing? You're just scrolling, going through. I'm trying to save a couple of bucks to see if can take my kids to see Minions. You feel like an insufficient person at that point, don't you?
Or, single adults, you're scrolling through Facebook and you see one of your friends whose status used to say single, and it just changed to "in a relationship". And you're just staring at that thing going do I need another reminder that I sit home on Friday nights in my pajamas, eating cheese puffs watching reruns of Full House. Do I need another reminder of that in my life? No I don't, and so as a result you feel insufficient.
Or you scroll through and you see your friend who just had a birthday and you look at the number of likes and comments they got because of their birthday and then you go back to your wall and you see on your birthday you didn't get jack-squat. And you feel like an insufficient excuse for a human being like why am I taking up oxygen on the earth right now. Now, do you feel me? You see, you didn't need a German researcher to point that out to you did you?
You know that every single one of us in some way, shape or form, whether it's through social media platforms or whether it's through sending away kids and you realize the hour glass ran out before you were ready for it. Or maybe you're a foster parent going there's no way that I'm going to be able to handle these. I talked to two foster moms out in the atrium after this and they're just going, I'm not up for the task, I'm completely insufficient. Or maybe you're a lady who goes to that social gathering at that party and you see the other ladies that are there and they're in some sweet dresses and they've got these perfect hour-glass figures and their teeth are all straight and their eyelashes are all long and their hair's perfectly dyed and colored like it's supposed to be and they just walk around - it seems like there's a sound track whenever they walk around and you know, you look at yourself in the mirror and you're like what is wrong with me? I'm a human, right? And you just feel completely and totally insufficient.
Have I made my case? Does everybody in here realize at some point you feel insufficient? Well, I've got good news for you. Jesus uses the insufficient. He uses the insufficient. And I'm glad because if he didn't I would have no chance of being used. You would have no chance of being used.
That's why I want to introduce you to the story and this group of people that were insufficient and we're looking in Mark chapter 6. I'm going to have to move quickly because I don't have time to do all that I want to do today, even though you're the second service and we're not really going anywhere and Leroy's already established that he can just meet with people at like 11:50 at night till like two something in the morning, right? So if Pastor Leroy can do it I figure I can do it. So we'll be getting out at midnight.
Mark chapter six, you know the story. I want to read it to you. It begins in verse 30. It says this: The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they didn't even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who say them leave recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. "This is a remote place," they said, "and it's already very late. Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat."
But Jesus answered, "You give them something to eat." They said to him, "That would take more than half a year's wages? Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?" "How many loaves do you have?" he asked. "Go and see." When they found out, they said, "Five - and two fishes."
Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. And He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. And the number of men who had eaten was five thousand. Which means that probably the number was closer to at least fifteen thousand counting women and children, maybe more than that.
So, why do I tell you this story? Here's why: Because this story, at its core is a story about Christ's sufficiency for the insufficient. That's what the story's about. If you want the big idea of what I'm trying to talk to you about, there it is. Christ's sufficiency for the insufficient.
Now, it has a two-fold application, right? You've got this large gathering of people, maybe fifteen, maybe more, thousand that are gathered on a hill and they're hungry and so you've got them and this application is for them. They're insufficient to meet their own needs because they've been listening to Jesus for a long time. They ran to find him across the lake and so they don't really have the resources to be able to provide for themselves so they're insufficient. And then you've got the disciples, who seemingly we would think are the most sufficient people in the world because they're the disciples, right? You don't get to just be a disciple out of nothing. You're a disciple, man. I mean like you're one of the twelve. You're like a stud. But we're going to see how insufficient they were in this context as well. And Jesus' direct teaching and direct application is going to be to that group of disciples, not so much to the bigger crowd.
But before we get to that what we need to understand is how Mark actually frames the story for us in his gospel. For you bible students, I want you to pay close attention because I want to show you something because the bible's always doing something oftentimes that we don't pay attention to and we don't see. So Mark is framing the story for us and what he's doing is he's saying to us with three different words that really we find in just the first few verses about the place or the location that we're going to be. He says it's both a quiet place, a remote place, and a solitary place, right? That's the place that he is describing. When you're describing a quiet place, a remote place, a solitary place, you're usually describing something that the bible would call the wilderness. So they were in a remote, a quiet, a solitary place or a wilderness. And in that wilderness there's a large group of people that are hungry. Is this starting to make any sense to anyone at this point? There's a large group of people that are hungry. And by the way, that large group of people that are hungry that are in the wilderness are also grouped in groups or divisions. Jesus said I want you disciples to put them in groups of hundreds and fifties. That probably took quite a long time, by the way, didn't it? Hundreds and fifties - I want you to group them.
You see, what Mark is doing for us in this gospel is he is painting a picture that is reflective of the children of Israel in their wilderness wanderings. Where they were a group of people who would camp out in divisions and tribes based on their clan who found themselves in a wilderness and who were very hungry and Mark is showing us that Jesus is the one that all of the prophets have been prophesying about, the one who was going to - listen - bring rest and bring provision in the midst of the wilderness, that this is Jesus, the new and better Moses. So you would expect for Jesus when these people are hungry, you would expect for him to do something quite like Moses did it but he doesn't do that.
In fact, if you didn't even realize that this was a picture that Mark was painting, you realize it with one specific phrase that happens in there because Jesus looked upon them and had compassion on them because they were like sheep - what? - without a shepherd. You know that's a direct quote, right? Of Moses. In fact when Moses was praying for the people as he was about to, in his journey leading the people of Israel, Moses prayed these words in Numbers 27: Moses said to the Lord, "May the Lord, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord's people will not be like sheep without a shepherd."
You see, here's the thing. Moses prayed a prayer and God answered it immediately and God also answered it distantly. He prayed a prayer and God answered it because God raised up who, though, after Moses? Joshua, right? But this Joshua who was a real person who led the people of God into the land of promise was a foreshadowing of one who was going to come. Joshua, Yeshua - same fundamental root, same fundamental name, same fundamental meaning: our God saves. You see Jesus was the new and better Moses, Mark was showing us. And Jesus was the new and better Joshua - the one who was going to bring rest in the wilderness. That's all of the prophets: Jeremiah, and Ezekiel and Isaiah had prophesied would happen and he answered Moses' prayer directly and he answered it distantly in the person of Jesus.
So, you need to understand the framework for what's going on in this context before we get started because that's an important piece for us to understand, because what you would think is you would think that what Jesus would do with all of these people here since he's representative of the new and better Moses, that he would just provide manna from heaven to feed everybody. But he doesn't do that, does he? But because he's Jesus we also know that he could do things supernaturally, right? So if he wanted to he could have just - if he wanted to call attention to the miracle itself, which by the way he's not doing, but if he wanted to call attention to the miracle itself, he could have given them, "Everybody please look this way and listen. Watch this!" And now everybody's got a loaf of bread, right? Got some fish. In every division that is broken out, everybody goes “Whaaaat?” Jesus just did some stuff, man. That's incredible. But he didn't do that. He didn't send angels, which he could have, to kind of parachute, you know, some food in for everybody. Given a little helicopter drop from the angels. He could have done that, right? He had the power to. He didn't do it. What did he do? Here's what he did. He looked at the disciples and said, you give them something to eat. I don't know if you realize how audacious this whole story is because they're going, what? What are you talking about?
Why did Jesus do this in this particular way? Why didn't he just do one of these other things? Here's why I think. I think because Jesus wanted his disciples to learn something and it was this: The primary way that God is going to provide for his people is through his people. More specifically, the primary way that God is going to provide for his people is through insufficient people. Hmm.
In fact, I want you to see some of their insufficiencies real quick. All right? I know I'm talking about the disciple and sometimes we look and we laugh at their insufficiencies. I imagine sometimes they're peering over the banister of eternity and looking at us and going what are you laughing at? I mean seriously - what are you laughing at? Right?
But look at some of their insufficiencies. Here's what we know because these are the people that Jesus is going to use in this miracle to join him in the process. Here's what we know: we know they were tired. We do know that. Why do we know that? Because if we read earlier when Jesus sent out the twelve in chapter six we find out that they'd just come back from their first preaching tour. In fact it says that, beginning in verse number seven, it says that - kind of gives us the picture of that but if you scroll down to verse number twelve in that context it says this. It says the apostles drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them because they had been out preaching that people should repent. And then you know what happens in verse number thirty of our story? It says the apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.
So then because so many people were coming and going that they didn't have a chance to eat he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." You know what Jesus knew? They were tired. Why? They had just come off a preaching tour. It was their first one and they had done lots of things. I'm just going to go ahead and tell you this because I know a thing or two about preaching and I know a thing or two about preaching a lot. It's exhausting. Like exhausting. And so they're out on their first preaching tour and ministry tour and they're doing all of these things and they've just gotten back and they're reporting to Jesus all that they had done and Jesus says you guys need some rest because I know you're tired.
But they weren't only tired, they were busy. I'm sure you can't identify with this. You're so not busy. They were busy. How do I know that they were busy? Verse thirty-one says because so many people were coming and going, they didn't even have a chance to eat.
You ever been so busy that your eyes crossed? I mean that you just, you felt like you couldn't have a chance to eat? I've come home some days and Edie's like what did you have for lunch? And I'll go, I didn't eat lunch. And she always looks at me like, how do you do that? I don't know - I was just doing and forgot and there it is. That's why I'm - then I start going that's why I'm so hungry right now! That's why I've got a headache. You know - sometimes we just get so busy in the process.
Well the disciples were tired and the disciples were so busy that their eyes were crossing. Here's what we also know about them - they were emotionally drained. How do I know that in this context? Because of what Mark does in setting up this story for us. Because they were friends of a guy named John the Baptist. They all knew him. Jesus knew him. The disciples knew him. They knew some people that were called the disciples of John the Baptist and they were all people that knew one another and guess what happened to John the Baptist. I won't read it for you but it's chronicled for you in chapter six right there beginning in verse number twenty-one.
You know what Herrod does? He wants his daughter to dance for him and he says if you do I'm going to give you anything that you want up to half my kingdom and so she goes and talks to her mom. “Mom, what should I ask Herod for? “ She says “John the Baptist's head on a platter”. So he sends for John the Baptist, executes him, brings the head out on a platter. Guess what? They found out about that. Can you imagine what that does to someone emotionally? Because John the Baptist was preaching Jesus and as a result of preaching Jesus he lost his head. And now these people had just come back from their preaching tour and they were preaching Jesus and they might have been thinking to themselves what's the outcome for my life going to look like? They were emotionally drained and do you know when you're emotionally drained you're not overly compassionate?
Can anyone testify to that? Have you ever been emotionally drained and been like, you know, yeah, whatever. That's kind of what you do, right? Whatever. I can't do this anymore. Get on out of here. That's where the disciples were.
Because Jesus looks on all these people and has compassion on them like sheep without a shepherd and guess what the disciples reaction is. Their reaction is interesting and it says this in verse thirty-five. By this time it was late in the day, so the disciples came to Jesus, said this is a remote place and it's already late. Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.
You know what that was a nice way of saying? Jesus is probably going to do something crazy. Why don't you just tell these people get out of here. We're tired. We're emotionally drained. We're busy. Tell them to go get themselves something to eat, basically so I can step back, chill out, rest a little bit. Because when we're emotionally drained, and we're busy and we're tired we don't feel like we're very usable, do we? And we certainly aren't very compassionate.
Well, not only that, but they were, they didn't have enough resources, either. This probably had to be a frustration for them, right? They didn't have near the resources because notice what Jesus does in verse number thirty-seven. After he says send them away to get something to eat, Jesus said you give them something to eat. And they said that would take more than a half year's wages! I can't help but hear the sarcasm here when Jesus says to his disciples you get them something to eat. I'm sure they're probably, that's funny, that's hilarious. “You know I'm a fisherman, right? Like a fisherman. Right? I'm not the emperor. I'm not loaded. I'm not just walking around and shekels are just falling all out of my cloak and tunic. Right? I'm not made of money, here, Jesus. We're talking about a half year to a year's wages to be able to feed all of these people. You can't be serious.” Except Jesus was serious.
They didn't have enough resources and they said “Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give them something to eat” and Jesus said, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they found out they said five and two fish.
Now we know from the other stories, because this is chronicled in every gospel, we know that they got that from a kid. I don't know who it was - you know Thomas bumped up to him and went, “Hey, hey, dude - gimme your lunch.”
“I said gimme your lunch, man. I don't want to have to hurt you. Give me your lunch. Jesus is on us about feeding everybody and I need something. We ain't got nothing. What do you got in there?”
“Five loaves and two fish.”
“Give 'em to me.”
“But what ...”
“Give them to me and zip it! You're gonna find yourself in the back of the Cadillac, all right?”
So, I don't know how they got it, I don't know how they confiscated it but they did. And they got it and that's what they did. Now what's interesting is their kind of sarcastic response to Jesus of what? We're going to go buy all this food for them sounds a lot like Moses' response when the people in the wilderness were complaining about not having any meat.
Remember Numbers chapter 11? Here's what it says: Moses said to God where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, 'Give us meat to eat?' I can't carry all these people by myself; the burden's too heavy for me. Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?
Isn't it interesting, the disciples sound a lot like Moses did. Mark is drawing this picture for us. We're in the wilderness. People are hungry. They're in divisions. He's giving us a snapshot.
But there's a last thing we see their insufficiency in and that's this: that the disciples didn't even get it even after the miracle. They didn't even get it. They didn't get what Jesus was doing. They didn't get the moral of the story. They didn't get the teaching even after the miracle because after the miracle occurred and after they gathered up all the stuff, then they decided they were going back across the lake, right? They got in a boat and they started to go across the lake and then a big storm came up and Jesus comes walking out on the water and then Jesus steps into the boat and everything chills out.
Listen to what it says their response in verse number fifty-one. “Jesus climbed in the boat with them and the wind died down and they were completely amazed for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.”
They didn't - listen - they didn't even get it after the miracle. They still didn't get it. And Jesus used those dudes. Busy. Tired. Not enough resources. Didn't even get it after the miracle itself. Emotionally drained. Does anyone qualify? Three people. Fantastic! The rest of you, you should go on home because you are so sufficient. It's great, you know, that you think that there's a vacancy in the trinity and you're bucking for a promotion. I'm delighted that you're doing that, but I figured maybe this could apply to all of us.
So we can see ourselves here but what did Jesus tell them that we can apply? Here's where I want you to land - listen. What did he tell them that we can apply? Jesus said I want you to go and see what you have and I want you to give it to me. This is what he says. Go and see what you have and give it to me. I need you to understand this point. Jesus does not tell them to give him what they don't have. He says give me what you do have. Jesus isn't asking us for what we don't have, he's asking us for what we do have. I know it seemed meager and I know it seemed embarrassingly small for fifteen plus thousand people and you've got five loaves and two fish. I mean, that's ridiculous, right? But Jesus says go and see what you've got. And so they knock off a kid, take his lunch, however that went. They probably asked nicely, I'm sure. And they got his lunch and they brought it to Jesus.
You know what Jesus doesn't ask? He doesn't say, go cobble up as much money as you can. See if you can coral a half year's wages in total pool, and then go into town and get the bread. That would be silly, anyway. Nobody's going to have the level and amount of bread made because they actually had to make the stuff, right? They're not going to have that for this crowd. That's not going to work.
Jesus doesn't say, hey, tell everybody to just hang on a second 'cause you've got to provide for them yourself and I want you to get in your boats and go fishing - some of you guys know how to do that - and then eventually when you catch enough fish you'll be able to feed everybody. Well that's going to take a little while, Jesus, am I supposed to just say, hey, could everybody just park it here for a week and a half and stave to death while we're out here fishing every day trying to catch enough fish that's going to feed all of you thousands of people.
Jesus doesn't say any of that because he's not asking them for what they don't have. He's asking them for what they do have because he's going to do something extraordinary with what they do have.
Because when you bring to Jesus what you do have instead of concentrating on what you don't have, which by the way some of us live in that lie all the time. If I only had more money, then blank. If I only had more time, then blank. If I only had more education, then blank. If I only had more giftedness, then blank. If I only had more talent, then blank and we live in the lie that if we only had more of blank that we could do something instead of realizing that whatever it is we have that's given to Jesus, he's going to do something extraordinary with.
Do you know what he'll do with it? We see it right here. Look what it says in verse number forty-one. “Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks (which was blessing) and he broke it.”
So when we bring to Jesus all that we are, o.k., all that we are - our hurts, our insufficiencies, our stuff, our resources - when we bring to him all that we have, the first thing he will do is he will bless it.
Now here's the thing, ladies and gentlemen that you need to understand. You need to understand that your competency and your skill set is no match for his blessing. It's no match for his blessing. By the way - your competency and your skill set is a wonderful thing as long as it's given to him because when you give it to him he will then do something extraordinary with it. You see, all you've got to do ladies and gentlemen is bring your five loaves and he'll make a bakery. You bring your two fish and he'll make an ocean.
This is what blessing looks like, ladies and gentlemen, because blessing is supernatural. It is not something that comes from your willpower and your sufficiency and acting in concert with your own flesh. It is the supernatural act of God that says you've given me this and I'm going to make it this. You've given me your voice and I'm going to use it this way. You've given me your heart and I'm going to spread it this way. You've given me your gifts for my glory, not for your own self-adulation and I'm going to use them this way. You've given me your resources and I'm going to bless them this way. This is what he says. He will bless us and he will bless it.
You see the blessing of God, ladies and gentlemen, is far superior to the exercise of your competencies. This is God blessing. That's why he takes a few loaves and a few fish and feeds thousands upon thousands with it - because of blessing.
But then he also breaks it. Sometimes, ladies and gentlemen, the blessing is in the breaking. You see the only way that you will ever learn to be weaned off of your self-sufficiency is to be broken so that you realize your insufficiency. You see I know I told you about Facebook earlier and you're probably thinking to yourself, Pastor Jerry apparently is recommending you don't go on there because I'll feel worse. No, actually, I want to recommend it for all of you because for some of you, you feeling insufficient may be the only thing that breaks you of your self sufficiency and helps you to see that you are only going to find your sufficiency in Jesus. It's about being broken.
So, jot this down if you like: His sufficiency is more than enough for our insufficiency. His sufficiency is more than enough for our insufficiency.
In fact when you look at the end of the story, notice what is says in verse number forty-two. It says they all ate and were satisfied and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. You know what Jesus is saying to them? He's trying to teach them something here and here's what he's teaching them: I am more than sufficient for your insufficiencies. You brought to me what you thought was an insufficient amount of sustenance for all of the people here. Yet, not only did I feed them, not only was everybody completely satisfied but gentlemen walk around and get a to-go basket because I am more than enough for you in every situation. I'm not just enough. I'm not barely meeting the need. I am more than sufficient for your insufficiencies. This is what he is teaching us.
Now, why that's important for us is because this story itself is teaching us the gospel. This is a gospel story, not just a cool story of a miracle that Jesus did, even though he did it. It is a gospel story because Jesus is pointing us to things bigger than just this.
In fact, after this occurred in John's account of this particular thing, after this occurred, Jesus began to come back. He came back after he got back in the boat and he came back across the lake and then there were some people that met him there.
Listen to what happens in that conversation in John chapter number six. It says this: when they found him on the other side of the lake they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?" and Jesus said "Very truly I tell you, you're looking for me not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval."
Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?"
Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."
So they asked him, "What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" and Jesus said to them, "Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
"Sir," they said, "always give us this bread."
And Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."
You know what he's saying? He's saying that I am more than sufficient for your insufficiencies. I am more than sufficient. Jesus is pointing ultimately to himself. You see, don't miss this. What Jesus was trying to teach us with bread and fish he ended up demonstrating to us with wood and blood. That his sufficiency is more than enough for our insufficiency.
You see, this feeding of the five thousand was a gospel story. It was a story about the truth of his all-encompassing sufficiency where he wanted to teach them in an immediate way with bread and with fish he is ultimately going to teach them with wood and with blood. When he goes to a cross, the all-sufficient one who dies for those who are all insufficient and sinful. Who cannot save themselves. Who cannot help themselves. So that, by the power of his blood, by the power of his resurrection we now, ladies and gentlemen, can be found sufficient in him and not sufficient in ourselves. This is the bread of life.
You see, this is ultimately where we find ourselves in this story. We are talking about meals. We're talking about the observance of meals - sustenance to teach us about sufficiency. And so we've learned obviously about the children of Israel in the exodus and we've learned about Jesus feeding the five thousand but there was another meal that pointed something out to us distinct. And that was when he observed the Passover and breathed into that Passover meal with his disciples right before he went to a cross, something brilliant and new.
Our ushers are going to go ahead and find their places as we're going to, in a moment, observe the Lord's Supper before we're dismissed. I want you to understand some things - that's it's important, ladies and gentlemen - that we have been talking about the idea of sufficiency and have been representing that idea through pictures of meals, substance to teach us about sufficiency. Now, in each of these meals there were cultural earmarks that went along with these meals, right?
So for instance, in certain Jewish households there were manners in which you were to be seated. In other words, there was a host who sat at a particular place at the table. Also in these ancient customs, they weren't sitting in chairs. They were actually reclining at the tables, right? These were customs that we don't have in our time but that are customs that were suitable to those times.
But do you know what? We have customs in our times. I want you to think with me for just a second. Ushers, whenever you're in place and ready and have everything you can go ahead and get in position. I want you to think about the context of our own contemporary culture for just a moment. Listen. So when we celebrate some great event in the life of someone - maybe it's a wedding celebration, or maybe it's an anniversary celebration or maybe it's a birthday celebration or whatever - when we do that, we typically gather for a meal because to celebrate is to eat in our culture, right? Celebrate means we eat and we're going to have a celebration. Cool! What are we eating? Right? That's just how it rolls. And that's not just because there's a lot of Italians, because they feed you and give you take home baskets. We celebrate, right? And we eat.
But what do we do in honoring the guest? The one that we're there to celebrate and to honor? Well, at weddings, anniversary gatherings, birthday gatherings where we have a meal together, you know what we do? We raise a glass. If you're not a wine drinker, great, I'm not either. My beverage of choice is water, typically. But we raise a glass. Why? Because we're toasting them. We're honoring them. We're saying, to so and so. And we're understanding that they are the honored guest.
So, I'm going to ask us to do something. Ushers, you can go ahead and begin passing this out. I want you to think about something as you get the elements today. One, I don't want you to open them when you receive them, o.k.? I want you to just hold on to them for a moment. But in just a moment, what we're going to do is we're going to hear a song. And this song is not necessarily a sing along song. It's a sing over you song. And it's a song that is inviting - listen to this - it's a song that invites to the table all the insufficient, all the incapable, all the improbable. Us. All of us that could never do this on our own. But what the song celebrates, is the song celebrates Jesus and his love for us even when we were unlovable because he himself is our sufficiency. So, when we get to the chorus of the song and you'll know, when we get to the chorus of the song, because I want to be able to do something communal as opposed to just individual, in the chorus of the song I want you to raise your cup to Jesus. We are here to say, this is to Jesus. This is to love. This is to the cost that he has paid. And then after the song I will lead you in the taking of the elements. Everybody got it? All right.
[Band sings “To Love”]
To those who are so broken
That it's better left unspoken
You are all welcome in this place
Where the royals set their crowns
on the table and sit down
next to those without a name
We pass the wine
we break the bread
We bare our souls
of where we've been
We revel in the stories
and raise our glasses up
to every time we've ever given up
to the humble King
who came to rescue us
who knows the scars we have
who finds us in our deepest pain
and always brings us back
And to those
who've taken casualties
and want to save an empty seat
you are not alone
Listen close and you will find
the saints who've gone
before their time
are in every tale that's told
We pass the wine
we break the bread
We bare our souls
of where we've been
We revel in the stories
and raise our glasses up
to every time we've ever given up
to the humble King
who came to rescue us
who knows the scars we have
who finds us in our deepest pain
and always brings us back
So step on up
and state your name
Where you're from
and why You came
We'll listen to your story
and then you'll toast with us
We love taking things from our culture and redeeming them. Redeeming them - making them sacred.
I want you to take out the bread. When we take of the bread, we're reminded of the body of Christ. Ladies and gentlemen, when we take of the bread what we're taking is we're taking - listen - sustenance and substance to remind us of sufficiency. He is our sufficiency. So as we take the bread we're reminded of the body that was broken on our behalf but that he is the bread and the sufficiency of life. Take and eat.
Open the bottom portion if you can as well. When we're reminded of the blood of Jesus we know that the scripture says that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. And so we're reminded of the great cost that the all sufficient one has laid down his life. That even though we were sinners Christ died for us - the all sufficient for the insufficient. And in the world that we live in, many people try and drink to forget. We drink to remember. It is the difference in who we are as the counter cultural people of God. We drink to remember what Christ has done. To Jesus.
And on your way out in just a moment I'd ask you to take these with you and discard them. But more important than that, if you're here and you've never come to a place of receiving Jesus as your Lord and Savior, stop trying to run from the One who is love by definition. He loves you and he wants you to know him and we'd love for you to come by our fireside room, speak to one of our pastors or prayer partners.
Maybe you've just got a need you need to pray about. Maybe it's just dealing with the insufficiency that you've felt and you need somebody to pray over you or pray with you. We'd love for you to come by and have one of our pastors or prayer partners pray over you.
So Father, we want to tell you that we love you and we thank you for Jesus. We thank you for the glory of Christ because it is at his name, one day, that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. So today is to you and every day is to you because you are our sufficiency. May we stop trying to live in our own sufficiency and may we completely and totally abandon ourselves and recognize our insufficiency but that we are now sufficient in you. And as we offer our very lives to you, Lord Jesus, would you bless them and break them and use them and multiply them for your glory and for the good of the world. We pray in Jesus' name. And all of God's people said Amen.
I love you folks. Have a great week.