John 6:5-6 NKJV — Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.
John 6:7 NKJV — Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”
Jesus could have simply told Philip what He was going to do.
Instead, He used this test to teach.
Jesus wanted to give all these people what they needed, and knew how He was going to supply the need.
But from Philip’s perspective it was an impossible task.
Matthew 19:26 KJV — But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
In this provision of a meal for thousands, Jesus was giving a lesson in trust.
He wanted them to understand how loving and faithful God is.
God doesn’t give a task and fail to give His servants that which is needful to accomplish the task.
The Lord knows exactly what is required and He can do the “impossible” to provide for it.
We see such truth throughout scripture:
Abraham and Sarah having a son in their old age. Genesis 21:5
An entire nation of people being fed by God daily from a food never seen before and never eaten again once they reached the Promised Land. Exodus 16:15, Joshua 5:12
Joshua asking God to hold time so they could completely defeat the five armies who were attacking the people Gibeon, the people he promised to protect. Joshua 10:13
Three men living through being thrown into a furnace so hot those who took them died from exposure. Daniel 3:22
Times of testings are often opportunities to learn.
This is the theme for the book of Job.
God allowed him to be tested in extreme ways and in the end Job said:
Job 42:2 NKJV — “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.
You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.”
Job’s test brought him far greater understanding of God and a clearer view of himself.
We see the disciples experience a different type of test in the Gospel of Luke.
1 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. 2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. 3 And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece. 6 And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.
Luke 9:1-3, 6 KJV
The disciples were able to do all Jesus had instructed them to do.
God was faithful to provide all their needs.
Jesus made sure to explain that living in this world as a follower of Christ would not be easy, but the entire Bible tells us God is faithful.
Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV — “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
Matthew 10:34-39 KJV
Following Christ will be just that, walking through trials and tribulations, being misunderstood and yet continually living completely surrendered to the will of God.
While having incredible peace and comfort knowing Who has called us, and trusting He will provide for that which He has told us to do.
With such an understanding, we can grow daily in the knowledge of God and gain a clearer view of ourselves.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit which teaches and convicts us of sin. Lord, please continue to help us to learn about You and ourselves. Please help us to grow in our relationship with You daily, that we might love and trust You wholeheartedly. Thank You that You understand us far better than we understand ourselves. Thank You for the tests that teach. I love You, Jesus. Thank You for first loving me. Amen.