Overwhelming Yet Underwhelming
January 22, 2021
When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, "This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food." But Jesus said to them, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat." And they said to Him, "We have here only five loaves and two fish" (Matthew 14:15-17)
The disciples had been with Jesus for 2 years when this verbal exchange took place. They had seen Jesus perform many miraculous and powerful things in those 2 years: He turned water into wine, healed many people of disease, demons, and deformities, raised the dead, walked on water and calmed a storm tossed Sea of Galilee. His power was overwhelming, greater than any man in recorded history. And yet their faith in Jesus was quite underwhelming.
From John 6 we learn that Jesus questioned Philip earlier in the day, Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat? It was a test of Philip’s faith (6:6). This gave Philip most of the day to figure the problem out, and since he was from that area, he might have known where and how to secure the resources to feed the people. But the size of the crowd overwhelmed him (6:7) so much so that he figured half a year’s wages would not be able to buy enough food.
We are told in John 6:8 that Andrew found a boy who had a lunch of 5 barley loaves and 2 fish. But the large crowd and small lunch overwhelmed him as well, what are they among so many? (v. 9). This was a test of Andrew’s faith as well because He Himself (Jesus) knew what He would do (John 6:6). Later on that evening, the disciples came to Jesus requesting He send the crowd away to find food and lodging for themselves. Jesus said, They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat (Matthew 14:16). This was a test for all the disciples, which, at that point having all day to try to find a solution to the problem, were exasperated saying, We have here only five loaves and two fish (14:17).
Had you been a disciple then, what would your response have been to Jesus? I know it’s an unfair question to ask, so I’ll ask this one, “Because you are a disciple of Jesus now, what is your response to Jesus in the overwhelming issues, problems, and concerns today?” Are you confident Jesus is the sovereign Lord of all creation and is fully able to carry out His will and purpose on earth, or are you hesitant to put all of your faith into that one basket?
“Lord Jesus, when you asked the distressed father who brought his demon possessed boy to You for healing, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes’ he responded, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’ I know there are many of us like that father today. In our mind and heart we have an overwhelming belief that You can do all things, but when the rubber hits the road in our daily, practical lives, we tend to have an underwhelming faith. Lord, help our unbelief. Help us to be totally confident and committed to You no matter the future in our state and nation. To Your honor and glory I ask, Amen.”