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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1009. You give them something to eat (12/3/24)

This week, as we continue in our Luke series, we see Jesus developing and growing His disciples, as He grows us, by stretching our faith through challenging opportunities and giving us deeper revelation of who He is. 

‘When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing. Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “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.” 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.”  (About five thousand men were there.)But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” The disciples did so, and everyone sat down. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.’ (Luke 9:10-17) 

Lesson: (The same as yesterday) Jesus stretches us as He calls us to do more than we can so that we learn to rely on Jesus more than we currently do. 


You can listen to this devotional below (It’s also available on Spotify on the Community Church Putney podcast)


As with the previous account of His sending out the disciples to do far more than they could so as to learn to rely on Him, He now deepens this lesson by getting them to serve and feed way beyond their capacity. 

After a period of tiring service, Jesus took His disciples to be alone with Him. After giving out, it’s wise to have a time of taking in and being refreshed. However, we are told, that, ‘the crowds learned about it and followed him.’ Jesus’ plans are interrupted by the demands of ministry. The disciples may have felt that they had given all that they could, but they have to keep going. This, of course, does not reveal that Jesus is not in control, rather, Jesus allows this event to happen in order to teach them an important lesson: that He can give us the grace to keep going and do far more than we’d thought possible. 


Having served the crowds without rest, and when the disciples feel that they’ve done all that they can do, Jesus stretches their faith even further. He now works through the disciples to feed the more than five-thousand who were with them! In response to their desire that Jesus, ‘Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging’, He simply tells them, “You give them something to eat” and they are to do this with their very limited ‘five loaves of bread and two fish’.  Just as He told them, in their weakness to heal, deliver and preach, He now tells them to feed an impossible number of people with their inadequate resources. Mike McKinley wrote: 

‘That pattern holds true for the disciples of Jesus today; we have nothing to give away to others unless Christ has given us the power and resources that we need.’

Response

Jesus calls us to do more than we can so that we learn to rely on Jesus more than we currently do. Growth in maturity doesn’t come through time, it comes through responsibility. By coming to Jesus and doing the things He says, we grow in faith and skill. What is your equivalent to this feeding of the five-thousand? How are you being stretched in faith? Remember, we are never shy away or give up on things because they are too hard for us, because nothing is too difficult for Jesus! Rather, may we say “yes” and “no” to things because we honestly believe that we’ve heard His voice. 

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Please ensure that the members of your group are aware and familiar with using the daily devotionals which is accessed in Church News or the Teaching button on the website. 


2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you? 


3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.


4. Study and pray together

Our message from our series in Luke on Sunday was entitled, ‘With Christ is the School of Growth’. 

In the section that we looked at (Luke 9:1-50), the disciples’ are grown through revelation of Jesus and by stretching ministry opportunities. To grow as a Christian or leader, we must be amazed by Jesus through fresh revelation,  and we must also take on responsibilities that stretch us. The two things, as I hope we can see, work together. 


Please read Luke 9:1-50, and discuss: 

  • Did God speak to you about anything specifically from Sunday’s message?

  • What are the various moments of revelation - where Jesus’ glory and mission are revealed - in this text?

  • What do these revelations teach us about Jesus and how should this affect our lives?

  • How does Jesus give His disciples responsibility - hard things to do - in order to develop them? 

  • What hard things is Jesus calling you to do in order to grow you? 

  • SIV - What does this text teach us about the ways we can seek to bring our community to Jesus?

  • SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  • Let’s pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV; and pray for anything else that’s come out of our time in God’s Word.

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