Monday, February 19, 2024

Bread Crumbs


I’m always amazed at how God never misses a detail.  Whether it’s knowing every star by name, the number of hairs on your head, or chasing down the one lost sheep, it seems nothing is too trivial for His attention.  Another place we see this is when Jesus fed the 5,000 in John 6.  Once everyone had their fill, He told His disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.”  Why bother with the crumbs?  Why not just let the birds scavenge the leftovers?  We don’t have a definitive answer, but today’s study seeks to uncover some possible reasons.


John 6:12 - “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.”


Things to think about:

·       We all know how He took 5 barley loaves and 2 small fish to feed 5,000 men (and scholars estimate the number could have actually been closer to three times that many counting women and children).

·       So why bother with the leftovers?  Couldn’t He just whip up another miracle as the need arose?

·       Everything God gives us is precious and not to be wasted

o   This principle goes way beyond the way God meets our material needs. Think about things like:

§  His grace, mercy, patience, forgiveness

§  How can we be better stewards of these gifts?

·       God’s nature is to be extravagant and to have our cups brimming to overflowing

o   Just because there’s a lot doesn’t mean we ignore the rest of the blessing once our personal needs are met

·       There were twelve basketfuls picked up, one for each disciple

o   The servant’s needs are always met

o   If you’ve ever been on a mission trip, how were your needs met while you were serving others?

·       There are a lot of people in the world that are left behind, overlooked, and forgotten

o   Who are the “crumbs” in your sphere of influence?

o   How do you think God would have us act towards them?

o   How do we make sure that “none are wasted”?

o   Small acts of kindness fill up baskets of changed lives

Monday, February 12, 2024

The Power of Questions


When words are printed in red in the Bible, I tend to pay more attention.  After all, if Jesus said it, there’s something to be learned!  As I have been reading those red-letter words in the Gospel of John, I noticed that Jesus often uses questions.  Let’s look at three questions He asked and see what we can learn from His model.


John 1:38 – What do you want?

John 5:6 – Do you want to get well?

John 18:4 – Who is it you want?


Things to think about:

·       I guess the first thing to say about Jesus’s questions is He wasn’t actually seeking information.  As the omniscient Son of God, He already knew the answers.  The questions were more for the benefit of who He was asking.

o   Why are questions effective tools to drive a deeper discussion?

·       The first question in John 1:38, What do you want?, was posed to His first disciples.  They were following Him after John the Baptist pointed at Him and said Jesus was the Lamb of God.

o   They were curious about where He was staying and wanted to spend some time with Him

o   Everyone comes to Jesus with their own motivations.  Are you merely curious or are you after something deeper?

·       The second question, Do you want to get well? was asked of the invalid who was always missing out on the chance to get in the healing waters near the temple. 

o   The man was disabled for 38 years and Jesus wants to know if he wants to get well???

§  Mankind has a disease much worse than this poor man, a terminal illness called Sin.  God will not force Himself on us but rather asks if we want to be healed.  Only those who say Yes can pick up their mats and walk into eternal life

·       The third question, Who is it you want?, is the most important one. 

o   It is the essence of Christianity because Christianity is about Who

o   This happened when He was being arrested and Judas identified Him as the man they were in search of

o   They replied, Jesus of Nazareth” to which He responded, “I am He.”  They fell to the ground and again He asked, “Who is it you want?

·       The question for everyone ever born is the same one, “Who is it you want?

o   Do you want yourself and to have your way?

o   Do you want others and their affection and approval?

o   Or do you want the living Son of God Who came to take away your sin so you can be with Him for eternity?