Ethan Hansen

Pastor Ethan Hansen

My family loves summer in Alaska! We often say, “When the sun shines, you cannot beat this state.” We recently planted our high tunnel. My wife grows kale, beans, peas, asparagus and even corn in our high tunnel. Summer is a great time of the year. My sons and I and some friends plan to hang trusses today.

Planting and building remind me of the only miracle of Jesus recorded in all four gospels. The feeding of the 5,000 men plus women and children is recorded in Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9 and John 6. The fact it is recorded four times is very significant. What does this miracle teach us? Jesus Christ is the Great Shepherd Who always meets the spiritual and physical needs of His people.

Jesus and His disciples needed rest. Jesus said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31). They traveled to Bethsaida by boat on the Sea of Galilee- a distance of about four miles. A massive crowd of people followed on shore- a distance of about eight miles. Jesus is the strong, loving Shepherd. Mark 6:34 says, “When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd…”

What does a shepherd do? A shepherd tenderly cares for and provides for his sheep! That is what Jesus does for you and me. The situation was impossible. Their only resources were a little boy’s lunch. It consisted of five small biscuits and two sardines. Jesus took it and blessed it and broke it and multiplied it. He fed the massive crowd. “They all ate and were satisfied” (Mark 6:42). Twelve basketfuls were left over. This miracle teaches two great lessons….

First, Jesus is God. In the Old Testament the great prophet Elisha fed 100 men with 20 barley loaves and some grain in 2 Kings 4:42-44. Elisha’s servant asked, “What, will I set this before a hundred men (verse 43)?” His servant basically said, “This is not enough food for 100 men.” Elisha said, “They shall eat and have some left over” (verse 43).

The people of Israel were familiar with Elisha and this event. Jesus fed not 100 men but 5,000 men. Jesus fed them not with 20 barley loaves but with 5 barley loaves. Jesus is much more than a prophet. He is the Son of God. He is God’s Son come to die for our sins.

Second, Jesus always provides for His people. In Mark 6:34 Jesus “began to teach them many things.” He met their spiritual needs. He then fed the people. He met their physical needs.

The Bible teaches that we consist of two parts- body and soul. We have physical needs and spiritual needs. Jesus always meets the needs of His people.

Fathers provide for their children. 1 Timothy 5:8 says, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” God cares for His children! When we trust in Christ for salvation God becomes our Father. He is responsible to care for us. There may be times of leanness during which God tests us (Deuteronomy 8:2) but God always provides for His people.

Every good thing in life comes from God Himself. The apostle Paul said, “God did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17). God’s provision is evidence of His existence. As we work God provides for us.

It’s time to run. Trusses beckon and there are a few details left in the high tunnel to finish. It is amazing to serve a God Who meets our physical and spiritual needs!

Ethan Hansen is a pastor at Faith Bible Fellowship in Big Lake.

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