Philip Fails the Exam

President Franklin D. Roosevelt got tired of smiling that big smile and decided to find out whether anybody was paying attention to what he was saying. As each person came up to him with extended hand, he flashed that big smile and said, “I murdered my grandmother this morni … More

There were great multitudes that followed Jesus everywhere He went because they did not want to miss the tremendous excitement of the “signs” which he did (vv. 1-4). They had just traveled along the northern shore of the sea of Galilee through rugged terrain to get to where He was. Jesus was determined to do something for these people. At the same time He uses this occasion to give His disciples what we can call a mid-term exam. They had seen the mighty power of God demonstrated many times and had themselves been on a ministry. Jesus uses this occasion to test their faith.

We can not be sure why, but He chose to examine Philip first but in this mid-term exam he gets a big “F.” He said to Philip, “How are we to buy bread so that these people may eat?” (v. 5) Jesus knew that Philip could not possibly answer His question as there were no stores nearby and they had very little money (v. 6). In other words, Philip is presented with a predicament that has no solution.

Philip said we don’t have enough money (v. 7). We can’t do this. He gave up in despair as he thought there was no way this problem could be met. At this point Jesus has the people sit down and He miraculously feeds them, having 12 baskets full left over (vv. 8-15). What do we do in similar situations? Feed the multitudes? Do we respond like Philip? Many times churches and individuals tell the missionaries they would like to help but they don’t have enough money to give. Jesus never asks us to start accumulating more before we begin to minister. All He wants is what we have now. We begin with what we have and let Him do the rest. We should give thanks to God for what we have, and He will make it go father than we can imagine.


God, please forgive me for being so much like Philip. Help me to see the multitudes who are lost and look for ways I can help to feed them spiritually

John 6:1-14 (English Standard Version)

After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, "Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?" He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, "Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little." One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?" Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, "Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost." So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, "This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!"

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