Pastor Dale E. Locke
Week 5: Numbers Game
1. Read together our memory verse for this series: Ephesians 3:20-21 –Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we as or imagine, according to is power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen
2. One author writes: “Sometimes God shows up, and sometimes he shows off.”
In your opinion, what does that statement say about God? Do you find that statement to be true for you in your life? Why or why not?
3. Pastor Dale reiterated that miracles are the in-breaking of God’s coming kingdom, where the pain, loss and tragedy of humanity encounters the healing work of God. It is the uprising of the kingdom in this world.
Talk about what that statement means in your mind.
4. Read John 6:1-15 –
Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2 and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. 3 Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4 The Jewish Passover Festival was near.
5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up,9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there).11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
Discuss what you notice about this story in scripture.
5. Compare and contrast this miracle story about the loaves and fishes with the story we looked at last week about Lazarus’ resurrection.
6. Scholars believe that the estimated number of men being 5,000 is actually way lower than the actual number of people who had come to hear and see Jesus. They estimate that really the number, including women and children, may have been closer to 20,000! Imagine that many people gathered together – likely covering just over 6 acres of land.
How does feeding that many people with 5 barley loaves and 2 fishes change your idea of what this story is telling us about Jesus?
7. The story indicates that Jesus and his disciples had crossed to the far side of the Sea of Galilee, about eight miles away.
Do you think it was miraculous that so many people wanted to follow Jesus to be with him?
What does this tell you about all those people who were willing to go that distance (on foot, on donkey, by boat, etc) to be with Jesus?
8. What are you willing to do to be closer to Jesus? What keeps you from actively growing closer to Jesus? Share with your group if you are willing.
9. Talk about the other people in this story – Philip, Andrew, and the little boy. Re-read the scripture verses if needed.
What was each of their response to Jesus, and what does their response tell us about their faith in Jesus?
Their willingness to cooperate in Jesus’ plan to feed those who hunger?
10. “Never say someone else’s ‘no’ for them.”
What does this sentence mean to you?
11. Pastor Dale noted that the boy didn’t let what he didn’t have to offer get in the way of what he did have to offer.
What can we learn from the little boy?
About faith in accomplishing the impossible?
About giving what you have, even if it seems insignificant to you?
12. Pray together as a group, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what you need to give to Him and where you need to step forward to follow Jesus more closely. Ask for the heart to expect a miracle.