Before I preach on Sunday’s, I pray. More often than not, I pray that the Spirit would give us eyes to see great and glorious truths in the Bible and then live in light of what we’ve seen. That is, I do not aim in my preaching to merely help our congregation gain intellectual weight. I’m not after a simple transfer of information. I want us to see amazing truths that change our lives.
At times, people hear sermons and they leave wondering what they should go “do” in order to apply what they’ve heard. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Biblical preaching convicts, encourages, challenges, and calls us to action.
On Sunday, however, one of the things I wanted people to “do” is to go home and “do” nothing. Instead, I wanted them to sit down, think about Jesus feeding the 5,000, and be stunned.
Sometimes, we simply need to stand in awe of Jesus.
The Feeding of the 5,000
When it comes to Jesus feeding the multitudes in John 6 (cf. Matthew 14; Mark 6; Luke 9), there are a lot of amazing things to see. In fact, there are some challenging calls to action when you see these glorious truths.
In the age of the Reformation, older exegetes made important applications. John Calvin reminded us that just as Jesus gave thanks for food, we should give thanks to God who provides from above. Wolfgang Musculus picked up on Jesus’ intimacy with his people. As Christ sat and rested with his disciples, so Jesus loves to be with us today. Johannes Brenz noted how the story reminds us that Jesus takes note of our needs even before we ask for anything.
These ancient applications are helpful. I’d add that we should learn to live lives of compassion, imitating our compassionate Savior. We should move out to meet practical needs around us, just as Jesus fed the hungry crowds. These are helpful things to learn from the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000.
Now, there are deeper realities at play here. Jesus will use this event as a launching pad to talk about himself as the Bread of Life. The multiplying of a basket of bread filled bellies, but if the crowds will feed (i.e. believe) on Jesus, they’ll live forever. That seems to be the larger point of the narrative in John 6.
Just Stand in Awe
With all that stated, however, one of the things I wanted my church to do after the sermon was simply go home and marvel at their Lord. That’s what I did at various points during the week as I prepared to preach. I simply marveled and stood in awe of the compassion and power of Jesus.
When is the last time you sat back and simply pondered the greatness of God? The magnificence of Jesus? The power of the Spirit? The wonder of grace? The depth of mercy? I do not think it is healthy to walk away from sermons or Bible study and only concern yourself with doing something in response. Don’t get me wrong. I think the Bible calls us to action, and we live in light of the Bible’s teaching. But sometimes, I think we need to simply be awestruck by what we find in Holy Writ.
So, that’s what I’m calling for today. Pray and ask the Spirit to move your heart and mind to stand in awe of Jesus.
We need more awestruck moments.
We need more marveling.