Lad's Little Lunch
he earliest Sunday School lesson that I recall incorporated today's story about the little lad who gave his lunch to Jesus. I do not remember my teacher's name, but she has become a saint in my heart. One thing I do know about her is that she was our regular teacher and she will have, or may be already receiving, a blessing in glory. I do not know if any of her lessons remain in any of the other second grader's hearts, but this lesson lives in my soul. Subliminally this story of commitment was a swaying factor that led me to give my life to Jesus at age twenty-one. Only heaven will reveal to us the results of that Sunday School teacher's influence. As it happens, today we are recruiting children's Sunday School teachers for both our 9:45 and 11:00 o'clock sessions. You can become a miracle worker by volunteering.
There are different ways to approach this multifaceted story of Jesus' feeding thousands with the lunch that one little kid who packed.
I recall my teacher saying that the little boy's mother probably packed his lunch and sent him off by himself because the little fellow wanted so much to hear Jesus preach. I remember wondering why there was just one little boy who had a lunch and why none of the other parents did not bring their lunch. Later, the Boy Scouts taught me to always be prepared and I usually am. But why was there only one little boy who bothered to pack a lunch for a trip away from the dinner table? There could have been others in the crowd with sacks full of McDonald's Happy Meals, but perhaps they would not give theirs up for the common table.
Perhaps the story is illustrating that great things can come from small beginnings. After all, Sam Walton began Wal-Mart with just one store. Or, it could be a story illustrating that with God all things are possible. Certainly, if Jesus had wanted to he could have fed the multitudes from nothing; but still we ask, "Why the little lad and his little lunch?"
Bottom line, it was a miracle. Miracles were long prophesied to accompany the coming of the Messiah. To the faithful waiting Jews this divine act was a certain sign that Jesus was the Messiah. Indeed, the people realized during the meal that the supernatural happening meant they should immediately crown him king. Jesus sensed that they were going to attempt to make him king in a Roman occupied country so he slipped off into the hills by himself. (v. 15)
But in a deeper sense, this story is just one of many miracles that accompanied Jesus' first coming into the world, and it signaled the dawning of an age of miracles. On another occasion Jesus told the first believers, who were marveling at his sensational signs, "Greater things than these will you do!" In other words, in our time we will see more consequential divine interventions than occurred in Jesus' day.
One reason more miracles can take place is that there are so many more of us who are praying. Instead of a few thousand beginning followers, in today's world we have many millions of believing Christians. While I was standing beside the bedside of a church member praying for a miracle of healing this week there were simultaneously thousands of other Christians praying for different acts of intervention from God.
The Good News this morning is that miracles can happen in your life too! Christian believers never give up because we know that "With God all things are possible!"
One of the great miracle stories is that of the ministry of Bill Bright and his "Campus Crusade for Christ." A "happy pagan" at age 23 and the son of wealth who partied nightly at Los Angeles' Coconut Grove nightclub he was anything but a Christian. Then one day God's unseen hand reached into his car and parked it in a church parking lot. He went in, shaken, and knelt at the Altar and made a contract with God in which he promised, "I am your slave forever." After fifty-eight years of miraculous ministry, Bill Bright received his eternal reward last week.
Some of us may have first come to understand the gospel through Dr. Bright's "Four Spiritual Laws." Or, perhaps we learned how to lead others into faith in Christ by making these four basic points: (1) God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life, (2) that sin separates us from God, (3) that Jesus' Cross is the only provision to forgive our sin, (4) and that each person must individually receive Christ as Savior and Lord. Miraculously, college students and millions of others have prayed the accompanying prayer to receive Christ through this simple plan.
God can perform miraculous things through small beginnings. The Little Lunch of a Little Lad fed over five thousand men, and no telling how many women and children. A simple prayer will hopefully raise up a man who is terribly sick, The unseen hand of God can take over the steering wheel of a car, and in this room you have heard the Gospel proclaimed. Perhaps the most ordinary and ongoing miracle is out hearing God speak through the hearing of the stories and the proclamation of the Word.
The greatest miracle in today's text was not so much the feeding of the masses, but that Jesus was able to preach to these throngs of people, many of whom regrouped after the Resurrection to form the first Church.
Likewise, during this worship hour the unseen hand and still small voice, has touched our souls. Also, in our Sunday School classes teachers have reached hearts with the life changing message. We have this very morning experienced a contemporary miracle right here in our church. Or, did we miss it?
a sermon synopsis
by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor