June 5, 2016
Tuesday afternoon Raye Jeanne called me and just in the way she responded to my greeting when I answered, I knew something was amiss: “What’s wrong?” I asked. “The house is flooding again.” “I’ll leave in five minutes to come help you.” I did leave in five minutes, but it took at least 45 minutes to get home because of all the flooding around town; and if I had been wise, it would have taken me longer and I wouldn’t have gone through some of the water that I did.
When I got home our house was sure-enough wet inside again. I’ve lost track of how many times we’ve had water come in the house and how many modifications we’ve made. But one thing I did remember is that we decided a few months ago that if it happened again, we would rip out the carpet in our living room and put something other than carpet in the living room. So after a brief assessment when I got home, I pulled out my utility knife and began cutting up and hauling out the carpet and padding.
When we finished pulling out the carpet and reflecting on the good ways the Lord had provided for us and rejoicing at the unity we had in the middle of a potentially frustrating situation she told me that earlier that day she’d taken our dog on a walk and the dog got into some barbed wire and suffered a significant cut on the inside of her right front elbow. While we were talking about that we started to put together our dinner and Raye Jeanne looked out the kitchen window and asked, “what’s that in the road?” I saw something moving and thought it might be a squirrel; being more compassionate than me, Raye Jeanne wasn’t content to look out the window, so she went to the road and I saw her pick something up and then saw someone in a truck stop to talk to her. When she came back inside, she told me it was a kitten that had been hit by a car and was still struggling when she arrived. And as soon as she picked it up, it died.
I held Raye Jeanne in my arms and she sighed, “It’s been a lot of day today…” It had been — and it had been for many of y’all, too. Last week, the church almost caught on fire from burning brush on our neighboring property; this week it started to flood from the rain. Fire. Flood. What’s coming next week?
You might feel like that, too. With all that’s happened, what more can happen? What other trials and tests will be sent our way?
I distinctly remember walking out of my last exam in seminary and walking across the street to our campus apartment and thinking to myself, “That was the last exam I’ll ever take…” I don’t think I’ve ever been more wrong about anything. Life is filled with tests. Oh, there may not be a professor to grade the exam, but we are constantly tested and tried in general in life, and particularly in our faith.
And as I thought about these trials and tests this week, I thought, “Our people will be coming to worship on Sunday, looking for hope and encouragement and needing a grand and glorious vision of our God.” And while we see the greatness of God in all things in Scripture, in all honesty, I couldn’t take you this morning to a passage about circumcision and ritualistic faith. We see God’s greatness there too, but I needed and believed that you also needed something more tangible to think about what God is doing in floods and cancer and broken appliances and inadequately paying jobs and more.
So I want to remember you of the greatness of God in a very familiar story about Jesus; in fact, it is one of the few stories that is told by all four gospel writers — the feeding of the 5000 (Mt. 14:13-23; Mk. 6:30-46; Lk. 9:10-17; Jn. 6:1-15). We’re going to look at the account in John’s gospel; and here is what John would have us understand about that miracle:
All our tests are given to stimulate our faith in God.
- It’s a Miracle: What Jesus Did for the 5000
- It’s a Test: What Jesus Taught the Twelve About Tests
- Tests are God’s purposeful plan for us — prepare for them
- Tests are a reflection of God’s compassion — trust Him
- Tests are God’s means of demonstrating His glory — thank Him
- It’s a Revelation: What We Learn About God and Christ
- Christ is the omnipotent creator
- Christ is the omniscient teacher
- Christ is the gracious giver
- Christ is the resourceful master
Download the rest of this sermon on John 6:1-15.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.