Luke 9: Fishing and Feeding with Jesus

Introduction: Jesus in Luke

Good morning everybody.
This year, we are reading through a certain book of the Bible – who knows what it is?
Yes, Luke.
It’s one of the 4 gospels about the life of Jesus.
 
The last month, we were in Luke chapter 8.
Two weeks ago, Heather told us how Jesus friends were in a small boat in a big storm.
They thought they were going to die, but Jesus stopped the storm!
 
Last week, Andrew told us a beautiful story.
There was a woman who had been very sick for 12 years, and a little girl, who died.
Jesus made the woman well again, and brought the little girl back to life.
 
 
Today we have another exciting story about Jesus from Luke chapter 9.
And we have a special guest to tell us the story.
one of Jesus’ closest friends
 
He is going to tell us how he first met Jesus, and then what happened in Luke 9.
he is going to share with us some lessons he learnt from Jesus.
We have with us today, all the way from Israel…– Simon Peter,
 
Just a moment, and I’ll see if he is ready.
 

Peter: The Big Catch – Luke 5:1-11

Good morning everybody.
My name is Simon, but most people call me Peter
I was born in a small town in Israel near a lake called Galilee.
I worked as a fisherman, like my brother Andrew, and my friends James and John.
one night, as usual, we went out on the lake in our boats.
 
We threw out our net, we waited a while, we pulled it back into the boat.
It was empty!
Threw the net out again.  waited, pulled it in-nothing!
we tried again.  And again. All night long
but every time, the net was empty. Not one fish!
 
 
The sun started to rise, and we came back to the beach.
We were washing our nets
We were tired, we were angry, it was a bad night.
Do you sometimes have those days at your work?
 
Then Jesus came with a big crowd of people.
Jesus was teaching them
he got into my boat so they could all hear better.
 
When he had finished talking to the crowd, he said to us,
go out further, let down your nets again to catch some fish.
 
We were professional fishermen.
Our fathers were professional fishermen.
We know this lake,
if we couldn’t catch fish here, nobody could
 
Go out again?
We thought that was pretty silly, crazy, hopeless,
we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing!
but Jesus seemed pretty sure, so I said
“if you say so Jesus, I will do it.”
 
Do you know what happened then?
 
The nets were so full of fish they began to tear!
We never caught so many fish before!
So much that the nets were nearly breaking, the boat nearly sinking!
 
That was when I realised, Jesus was not just an ordinary man.
We were amazed, and afraid – this man must be from God.[1]
 
 
What did I learn on that day?
Sometimes, Jesus asks us to do something that seems silly, it seems hopeless.
but when we obey Jesus, amazing things happen!
 

Peter: The Impossible Mission – Luke 9:1-6

I thought I wasn’t good enough to be around Jesus.
But Jesus said “don’t be afraid!..  Come with me, and learn to fish for people!”
 
So when we got back to shore,
We left our nets and our boats and our fishing, and we followed Jesus. (Luke 5:10-11)
We saw many amazing things.
Jesus made sick people well again,
people who had evil spirits or demons, he set them free.
And everywhere he went,
He told people about God’s new way of life.
 
 
A bit later, Jesus chose 12 of us to be his special friends. (Luke 6:12-16)
we were called the 12 disciples, or 12 apostles
 
one day, Jesus called us 12 together.
He said,
“You’ve been watching me for long enough.
you have seen me cast out demons and heal people and tell them the good news.
Now it’s your turn boys – go and do the same!”
 
What?!  Us?
Impossible!
We can’t do what you do Jesus!
 
“Yes, you can – I’ve given you the power”[2]
 
well, I remembered the day when we caught all those fish
I remembered what we learnt: when we obey Jesus, amazing things happen
 
Okay, we’d better pack our bags then.
Let’s see, we’ll need some spare clothes,
food to eat, money.
Maybe a sleeping bag and a tent if it’s cold at night…
 
No, says Jesus, you’ve got it all wrong.
I don’t want you to go trusting in your own strength.
 
All those things you rely on to give you comfort and security, to keep you safe –
leave them at home.
I want you to go out with nothing, no human help, and trust God to look after you
 
it’s in chapter 9 of Luke’s book:
 
1 One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. 2 Then he sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 “Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes.”
 
Luke 9:1-3.
 
So I put down my pack, and got ready to go.
What’s that in your pocket?  Said Jesus.
“My wallet – I need my credit cards and things”
he just looked at me, until I gave my wallet to him.
 
Okay, bye Jesus.
What’s that in your other pocket?  Jesus asked.
“My cellphone – if I get in trouble, I might need to ring my friends.”
“Peter, if you get in trouble, God will look after you”
 
I was just going out the door, and then I thought – my iPod!
No Peter, he said.
I want your ears to be open to hear the joy and the pain of people you meet.
And to hear the voice of God’s Spirit.
 
don’t worry, you’ll be fine.
Just trust in God.
off you go!
 
 
If God told you to go out like that – no food, money, no phone, no iPod,
How would you feel?
I was afraid
It was very scary
 
But we went out with nothing, just like Jesus said.
And you know what?
we found that Jesus was right
when we had nothing, God looked after us.
God gave us everything we needed
He sent people to give us food and a place to stay.
 
We learnt a lot on that trip.
We learnt what following Jesus is all about.
 
It means not trusting in our own strength.
Not relying on what we have, what we deserve, what we control.
But trusting in God
 
Following Jesus means letting go.
Leaving our heavy packs at home, like Jesus told us
having empty hands and open hearts
then we can receive the free gifts, the surprising wonderful gifts, that God wants to give us.
 
It’s an amazing way to live.
When we have nothing, God gives us everything.
Sometimes it’s scary, but it’s also wonderful – a bit like walking on water…
 

Peter: The 5000 Feed – Luke 9:10-17

When we 12 came back from our mission,
things were very busy – so many people coming and going, we hardly had time to eat (Mark 6:31)
so we got in our boat.
We went across the lake to a faraway place
We needed some quiet time alone with Jesus.
But the people followed us,
 
Let’s read what Luke wrote about that day
 
 10 When the apostles returned, they told Jesus everything they had done. Then he slipped quietly away with them toward the town of Bethsaida. 11 But the crowds found out where he was going, and they followed him. He welcomed them and taught them about the Kingdom of God, and he healed those who were sick.
 
 12 Late in the afternoon the twelve disciples came to him and said, “Send the crowds away to the nearby villages and farms, so they can find food and lodging for the night. There is nothing to eat here in this remote place.”
 
Luke 9:10-12
 
 
so there we were.
out in the middle of nowhere.
Jesus was teaching all the people
The sun started to get low.
I said to Jesus,
it’s getting late, the people are getting hungry.
you better finish off your teaching and send them away to get their dinner.
 
But Jesus said to us, “you feed them!”
What?  Us?
You can’t be serious!  Time for a reality check!
Have you seen how many people there are?
You told us to take no bread and no money.
And now you expect us to give all these people dinner?
Impossible!
 
Then a little boy came up. (John 6:9)
he gave us his lunch – five little rolls of bread, and two small fish.
well, that was very sweet – “thank you son, that’s so nice”
but not much help for the real problem: 5000 people – one crumb each!
 
But Jesus loved children.
he said, “that is all that we need.
Tell the people to sit down on the grass, ready to eat.”
 
It seemed crazy,
We were going to look like complete idiots if we told them to expect food.
but I remembered all those fish – when we obey Jesus, amazing things happen
I remembered how we went out and God looked after us – when we have nothing, God gives us everything.
 
So we did what Jesus said.
 
13 But Jesus said, “You feed them.”
 
   “But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Or are you expecting us to go and buy enough food for this whole crowd?” 14 For there were about 5,000 men there.
 
   Jesus replied, “Tell them to sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 So the people all sat down. 16 Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread and fish to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. 17 They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers!
 
Luke 9:13-17
 
Jesus took the five loaves and two fish.
He thanked God – like we do, before we eat.
He started breaking the bread into pieces.
He gave it to us to give to the people.
More and more kept coming!
 
Was Jesus hiding some bread up his sleeves, like a magician?
No – it was far too much food.
 
5000 men, many more women and children,
they all ate as much as they wanted – their stomachs were full!
 
It tasted good,
Like warm bread straight out of the oven.
And there were 12 baskets of bread left over!
 
 
What an amazing day.
You know what I learnt?[3]
 
I learnt that when our human strength runs out.
When things seem impossible.
when we are in a lonely wilderness place and we have nothing.
Jesus cares for us and he can fulfil our needs.[4]
 
I learnt that God is a Giver – a big, generous, giver.[5]
so many fish, that our nets were nearly breaking!
so much bread, we had 12 baskets left over!
 
 
And I learnt,
if we give the little ordinary things we have to Jesus.
Like that boy’s bread and fish.
He can use them for something amazing
Jesus can use our small gifts to bring big blessing for many people.
A blessing is like a gift from God.
 
In fact, sometimes we are like the bread.
Did you notice what Jesus did with the loaves?
He took them, he blessed them, broke them, and gave them, so people could eat.[6]
 
sometimes it’s like that in our lives
sometimes we feel like that bread that is being broken in pieces – life is painful
but often it is where we are broken, that God most uses us to help others.
When we are in the hands of Jesus – like the bread,
our brokenness can bring blessing and be a gift.
 
God uses our small gifts, and turns brokenness into blessing
 
And as I thought about it, here is the most important thing I learned.
Without bread or potatoes or rice – our bodies will die.
Jesus knows that, so he looks after us.
 
But Jesus didn’t just come to give us physical food.
He came to feed our heart and soul.
Jesus wants to give us living bread, so we will live forever with him.
 
Here’s what Jesus said in the book of John, after feeding the 5000 men:
 
“Don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. 
Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that I can give you. …
 
I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. 
Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. …
 
I am the living bread that came down from heaven.  Anyone who eats this bread will live forever.”
 
John 6:27, 35, 51
 
 
God is a Giver, and his biggest gift is Jesus: the Bread of Life
that’s the most important thing I learnt that day
thank you for inviting me.
 

Conclusion: Jesus Still Feeds Today

well, wasn’t that good hearing from Peter!
 
Some big lessons:
When we obey Jesus, amazing things happen!
When we are in need, when things seem impossible, God cares, God can help, God can provide.
When we have nothing, God gives us everything.
God can use the little things we give him, and even our painful experiences of our life.
God uses our small gifts, and turns brokenness into blessing
 
 
Most of all,
God is a Giver,
And Jesus is the Bread of Life
for some of you from Asia, you might say, Jesus is the Rice of Life![7]
 
 
Did you know, this feeding of the 5000 is the one miracle
that is in all four gospels (apart from the resurrection).[8]
 
God didn’t just provide for people like this 2000 years ago.
 
In the 1800s, there was a man called George Mueller (1805-1898) [9]
he ran a home for poor children with no parents,
 
One morning at breakfast time, they had no food.
300 hungry children, and nothing to eat.
But George trusted God to look after for them.
He said a prayer, “dear God, thank you for the food you are giving us.”
they all sat down.
They looked at their empty cups and empty plates.
 
There was a knock on the door.
George opened it,
a man was there with three trays full of bread.
Then came a second knock on the door.
A cart full of milk had broken down just outside, so the driver had to give the milk away!
 
Some of you may have stories about God looking after you in amazing ways like that.
 
 
When you are in a lonely desert place,
when you are in need and hungry,
you may ask,
does God care? Can God help me?[10]
 
Remember Peter and the fish.
Remember Jesus and the 5000 men.
Yes, God can!
 
—————————————————
Do you sometimes feel empty?
Maybe you worry about an empty stomach, or an empty bank account.
Or maybe your big problem is an empty heart and a hollow soul.
 
Right now, what are you most hungry for?
If it’s a physical need, like maybe money, a car, a house, a job.
God knows our needs – he can provide them.
 
Remember Peter’s nets nearly breaking with so many fish.
Remember the 12 baskets of leftover bread.
Remember George Mueller and the children
 
 
Or are you spiritually hungry?
Are you looking for living bread to feed your soul?
 
Well, it’s good to be hungry – hunger is a sign of health.[11]
 
Jesus said,
God blesses you who are hungry now,
for you will be satisfied.
Luke 6:21.[12]
 
 
We often try to feed our soul, fill our empty hearts, with many things
like money or movies, relationships, or even religion.
like spiritual junk food.
Maybe these taste nice for a while,
but if that’s all we eat, they just leave us more hungry.
 
 
A few weeks ago, Mike said that Asian people have two stomachs.
No matter what they eat, they are always hungry, until they get rice – is that right?
It’s like that for us spiritually.
 
In each of our hearts is a God-shaped hole.
only God can fill it. [13]
 
No matter what you try, your soul will always be hungry.
No matter where you look, your heart will never be satisfied,
until you get the true living bread of God
 
remember what Jesus said:
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. 
I am the bread of life.
Whoever comes to me will never be hungry.
John 6:35, 51
 
——————————–
 
Lynne: David, look at all these hungry people.  You’re the speaker, you better feed them.
 
David: what?  Me?  Over 100 people!  Impossible! 
All I’ve got is my own my lunch here.
a packet of Uncle Ben’s Express Rice, and a little can of tuna.
it mightn’t be enough for everyone.
Two or three grains of rice each …
 
Lynne: remember the little boy with his five loaves and two fish?
just give it to God, and see what he will do!
 
 

Questions

What lessons did Peter learn from Jesus?
 
Did God ever ask you to do something “impossible”?
 
Have you felt alone in the wilderness?
Did God meet your needs?
 
Have you experienced brokenness
that became a blessing to others?
 
What are you most hungry for?
            How do you try to fill this need?
 
Do you know God the Giver,
            and Jesus the Living Bread?
 


[1] in John 21, after the trauma of Jesus death, the disciples go back to their fishing.  Again, all night they caught nothing.  In the morning, Jesus called to them from the shore to cast their net on the right side of the boat, and again it was overwhelmingly full.  They then enjoyed a barbecue breakfast of fish and bread on the beach, before Jesus restored Peter from his failure.
[2] what the book of Acts is all about-the first Christians continuing to do what Jesus did, by the power of God’s Holy Spirit
[3] in Luke’s next paragraph, Peter declares that Jesus truly was the Messiah of God (Luke 9:18-20). 
[4] Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Mark 6:34  cf Psalm 23
[5] God gives a good measure, overflowing, running over-Luke 6:38
[6] The typical pattern with bread at a Jewish meal-see the Last Supper, and the road to Emmaus.  The significance of Jesus was seen as he breaks the bread.
[7] http://www.tellout.com/body/mystical4A2.htm
[8] In fact, the same sort of thing happened 1500 years earlier, the people of Israel spent 40 years in the desert, in the wilderness.  They were afraid they would starve-there was no food to eat.  But God sent bread from heaven.  Every day, when they woke up in the morning, there was bread called manna for them to eat on the ground.  (Exodus 16, Numbers 11).  At the end of the 40 years, Moses says to the people:
Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. 3 Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 8:2-3
There was a Jewish tradition that the Messiah would again bring manna in the last days, before a second exodus.  Pope Gregory the Great described manna as the “food of grace”, versus the “worldly efforts” of the “fleshpots of Egypt”. 
For other miraculous feedings, see 1 Kings 17:6ff, 19:6, where ravens brought Elijah bread and meat, and the widow’s grain and oil was multiplied; 2 Kings 4:1ff, where the widow’s oil was multiplied; 2 Kings 4:42-44, where Elisha fed 100 people with 20 loaves, with some left over, despite the doubts of his servant;
[9] See eg http://www.crossroad.to/Excerpts/books/faith/muller.htm, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_M%C3%BCller
[10] “Can God spread a table in the wilderness? Can he also give us bread?” Psalm 78:19-20
[11] Sometimes when people are very sick, They don’t eat, they don’t feel hungry, although  their body is thin and starving.  Sometimes teenage girls are like that-it’s called anorexia. Many people have spiritual anorexia : the soul is starving, but they don’t even feel hungry.(see Forever Feast by Paul Brand)
[12] God satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things Psalm 107:9
[13] “You have made us for yourself, o Lord, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you”, Augustine, Confessions.
“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself” (148/428)

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