MONDAY SCHOOL for Pentecost, September 10, 2017. #5 – thoughts from the sermon Into The Neighborhood.
There’s been a great desire to explain away this miracle throughout history. There are literally are scholars who wrote that in the mountain side behind where Jesus was, the disciples had set up a secret bakery. And they’ve been baking bread all day.  So that when Jesus reached behind him, they put bread in His hands. And then He raised it up as if it came out of nowhere. I’m not kidding. That was how someone explained it.
A simpler explanation which you’ve heard before is that everybody else had packed a lunch and brought a lunch. And then didn’t eat it at lunch, so that everyone actually had food. They were just unwilling to share. So that when people saw what Jesus so generously did, all of a sudden they decided to make the choice of compassion. And they were also willing to share. And all of a sudden there was enough because everybody shared.
Now, that’s a very honest and thoughtful explanation. But here’s the problem with it from my view point. When I pack a lunch to go somewhere, I eat it in the car at 9:00 o’clock on the way to my destination. This is human nature. It’s the truth. But that’s one theory that they all had food. They just hadn’t brought it out. And so all of a sudden the generosity of Jesus inspired everyone. And friends, the generosity of Jesus should inspire us.
But I’m one who wants to believe in miracles. That when all seems hopeless, God is not limited in what God can do in the midst of a situation to help us. So all of a sudden, however it might happen, suddenly there is bread for everyone. Not only bread for everyone; Matthew says that this way they all ate and were satisfied and they took up 12 baskets full of left overs. Now, I don’t know if these were bushel baskets; I’m not quite sure the size of the baskets. But there were 12 baskets full of leftovers, 12 baskets full of broken pieces after everyone had everything they wanted. And there were 5,000 men plus that women and children.
What’s the point of all of this? I can see three things that are important. Here’s the first one. There was plenty. That’s why it goes into the details that 12 baskets of leftovers, there was plenty.
Do you believe that there is plenty? As you consider your own context, your own neighborhood, what is lacking? What is well provided?
What do people think they need in your neighborhood? Is your neighborhood caught up in materialism, the chasing after vanity and flashy, shallow luxury? What is really needed in your neighborhood?
Do you believe that God can provide what is really needed in your neighborhood?
 From Albert Schweitzer’s The Quest for the Historical Jesus. Cf. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Quest_of_the_Historical_Jesus
The photo “farm-1183991_1920” is by judymccleary and is from Pixabay.
This post is based on the sermon series Out of the Chair, Into the World at Kinmundy United Methodist Church.
Slides and audio for this message can be downloaded from http://www.disciplewalk.com/K_Sermons_June_Aug_2017.html
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.