John 6:6, “but this He said to test him, for He himself knew what He would do.”
Feeding five thousand people with five loaves and two fishes is one of the greatest miracles done by our Lord. Though it was a miracle for many of us, but for Jesus, He was testing his disciples. As we all know this incident very well, I don’t want to go into the details about the miracle. But I want to glean some truth which is related to my subject “TESTING IN DESERT”.
‘Testing in desert’ sounds little uncomfortable because we all like to be tested in green pastures where there is a source of help and a hand of provision. But remember, God will never make it so easy for you. He will never test you among those people who can help you and protect you. During the testing time, even those who are c lose to you will never come near you to help you. It’s not that they have any enmity with you. Rather God stops them. So that you will only thank God. Now you know the reason why your relatives and friends whom you loved are against you??? Let us see in the Bible itself. The place this miracle occurred was a ‘desert.’
Luke 9: 10 says,’ Then He took them and went aside privately into a deserted place.’ So it was Jesus who took his disciples to the deserted place. I thank God that when I am tested, I am not alone. I have Jesus with me …who took me to the desert. So the situation which you are now into is a testing period, and God wants you to learn something in your life. He wants to pour out His blessing into your life. In Revelation 1:9, John was in captivity for the sake of word of God and for Jesus Christ, in an island called Patmos. He was away from the church, friends and relatives. He was separated by our Lord, so that he could receive the revelation. Interestingly, John never received these revelations when he was with the church and all his beloved. But when God separated him, and took him to Patmos which was dark and tormenting, he might have said, “It was all God’s doing. If I had not been in Patmos, I would have never seen Him face to face, and would never have received the revelation.”
Like John, let us now ask Hagar. She cried for little water for her child in wilderness but God showed her a fountain of water. You may be in the wilderness of your life. You may think that ‘it’s all over’;’ I am in the verge of falling’etc. But wait, god has something special for you. You are crying for a little, but He can open a fountain at the same place where there is not a single drop of water …Is there any one crying for little peace in their life, while wilderness surrounds you??? ..You will see a fountain.
Like Joseph, Hannah and many more were tested and were blessed in their wilderness and barren situations.
I am not talking about a practical desert here. But rather the deserted kind of circumstances around us, where we go helpless, weary, tired and almost give up. If you ask me, I can preach better when I am going through problems and tribulations. That’s because I can praise and cry more unto my Lord, when I am in distress. I can say with King David that (Psalms 119:71)’it was good for me to be afflicted, so that I may learn your statutes. ‘See, if there was no shortage in the wedding of Cana, they would never have seen the miracle. Many of us serve God and thank God because of certain shortages we had in our life, which led us to Christ… I wish somebody could say thanks to Jesus for that ‘shortage.’ If you are facing shortage, always remember that there is a miracle awaiting. Hannah had a shortage in her life but she didn’t go weary. I thank God for the shortage in her life, because Israel got a wonderful anointed Prophet called Samuel. I would like to share more but my author is stopping me here.
Now let us to come to John 6: 2 and 3. Here, you can see two kinds of people: 1) A multitude and 2) His Disciples. In another gospel, we can see that these multitudes were like lost sheep without a shepherd. Even now, we can see these two kinds of people. One is the multitude and the other is His disciples. If you read verse 3, Jesus did not sit with the multitude. He sat with his disciples. Yes, I thank my author for this beautiful revelation. Jesus did not sit with multitude who seeks miracles, signs and who follow Him for temporarily things. He sat with His disciples who left all those things which the multitudes are after.
I thank God that I am not in the multitude. I am his disciple. Multitudes will come and go. They just want to ‘see something’. After that they will vanish like vapors. But disciples are those who will stand with Him till the last. Jesus sat with his disciples. That means he had a personal relationship with them. Jesus and His disciples had a strong bond with each other. Now my question is, are you the one among the multitude or disciples??
Jesus in his second coming is not going take crowds but he will call all his disciples.
If you are a disciple, you must leave all those things which our master has commanded us to leave. Multitude can live a free life. They don’t have master but a servant has a master.
Let us judge ourselves.
Jesus did not test the multitude, but He tested His disciples. Don’t complain against God when He tests you …He is testing you because you are His child and His disciple. He is testing you because He loves you. The vinedresser will prune all those branches which bear fruits, so that it can bear more fruit. Don’t give up when you are pruned from all sides …by your family, by your friends, in your office etc. It is our Father who does it, so that you are more fruitful .He wants to expand your territory. Thank God when he tests you, because God knows our capacity. He will give you only what you can bear. Is there anyone to whom God ever gave more burden than he or she could bear??? Always remember He lays burdens on us to make us straight and along with the burden, we also have His calm assurance and His grace which leads us. I will not fear and go weary, when I am tested because I know the one who is testing me is living …When Job was tested, he did not speak about the torment he went through. But he said,” MY REDEEMER LIVES”…Yes, because He lives, I will face it …His grace is upon me and that will lead me …”your rod and your staff, they comfort me.“ How can a rod comfort you??? Actually it hurts. But King David says that the rod of the shepherd comforts him.
But when I was tested, I also could say that His rod really comforts us….Though it is painful for a little moment but the end is peace and relief…When you are tested, say that that your Redeemer lives.
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know who holds the future
My life is worth the living
just because He lives
In Mark 6:35, His disciple says “This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late.” Now they have lot of concerns. Let us look into their concerns, one by one: 1) They are in a deserted place, 2) the hour is late and 3) the crowd is huge. I think that, more than the ‘late hour’ and the ‘huge crowd’; they are more concerned about the ‘deserted place’.
If you read Mark 6:35 onwards, you can clearly see that. Had they been not in a deserted place, no matter the hour, they would do something for the crowd. But now as they are in a desert, they cannot help the situation. We also complain something like this and feel helpless somewhat like this.
Now you know why you are brought to the desert. Because God wants to teach you that all these miracles happened in your life, not by might, nor by power but by the spirit of the Lord.
In John 6:5, Jesus asked Philip,” where shall we buy bread that these may eat?? “Why did Jesus ask Philip??? Was his faith stronger than that of other disciples??? No ….Philip was actually from the place called Bethsaida, which is near Lake Tiberias. So, Philip knew the place better than other disciples. That’s why he replied negatively, that even 200 denarii worth of bread would not be sufficient. He answered with the help of his experience.
Jesus asked him,” where shall we buy bread?” Now there is a hidden question behind that, which Philip could not recognize. I thank God for this revelation.
Jesus who was the ‘bread of life’ (John 6:35) is asking Philip,” Where shall we buy bread?” Now what should have been the answer of Philip? He should have said,”We’ll buy bread from you”. But unfortunately, he used his experience here. This is the problem when you use your experience to see the work of God. But the answer of another disciple, Andrew (Simon’s brother) shocked me and encouraged me. Andrew said,” There are five loaves and two fishes.” He didn’t have much experience to say, but he had one testimony. When he and his brother Simon toiled all night for fishes and caught nothing, Jesus came to their boat and by His word He filled their empty boats. The one who filled their empty boat is able to feed five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fishes. You may not have any experience to boast about, and the place where you are, may not help you. But put your trust in the Lord just like Andrew, who had a testimony. The God, who helped you, last year, is able to help you this year also; the one who led you yesterday can lead you tomorrow, no matter what the situation is.
Jesus asked Philip,” where shall we buy bread?”, but it was Andrew who replied and brought the five loaves and two fishes into the hand of Jesus. He knew that ‘the bread of life’ could provide the bread.
Only Jesus can provide your needs in a deserted situation.
In John Ch 6: 10, Jesus made people to sit on the grass…Even though you are in a desert, He will lead you in green pastures. “The Lord is my shepherd and I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures.” Do you think that your situation is like that of a desert? Come to Jesus. He will satisfy you. Now Jesus distributed the bread with thanks, and fed more than five thousand people that day. See God has a way for your concern, and for your deserted situation.
In this deserted place, disciples thought that the hour is late, nothing could be done, all is over, the crowd is huge etc. What does this teaches us? Do not look into your circumstances, but look to the bread of life. No matter how deserted your situation is, Jesus will lead you in green pastures.
Always remember, ’testing is not done in green pastures. It is done in a desert.’
Look to Jesus and put your trust in Him.
Glory and honor to Jesus