Scripture: John 6:6, ‘He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.’
Observations: John chapter 6 finds Jesus back in Galilee, where Jesus decides to cross the Sea of Galilee. John doesn’t give us any reasons why, but on the other side a large crowd gathers and Jesus turns to Philip and asks, ‘Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat? (v5)’ John tells us that Jesus was ‘testing him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.’ The word for ‘test’ in the Greek is used 38 times in the New Testament, 19 times it is translated as ‘to tempt’ and 19 times it is translated as ‘to test.’ The context determines if it is used in a positive sense or a negative one. Obviously Jesus wasn’t trying to tempt Philip to sin, rather he was testing whether Philip would look at the problem at hand only from a human perspective, or from God’s. It’s not surprising that this early on in Jesus’ ministry Philip (v7), as well as Andrew (v8-9), see the problem insurmountable. The truth is, Jesus isn’t so much testing them, as teaching them what God is capable of.
Application: How often do we look at problems or challenges from merely a human perspective, rather than from God’s perspective? We ask, ‘Am I able to achieve this?’ rather than ‘What does God want to achieve in this situation?’ The disciples didn’t think feeding 5,000 people was possible, but Jesus proved that for God (and for his Chosen One) nothing is possible. The truth is that it’s not the strength of our faith that matters, but the strength of the One in whom we put our faith. God is able to do immeasurably more than what we can imagine (Eph 3:20). Today look at your problems with the eyes of faith, and trust that God is able to do what seems impossible to you.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, it’s so easy to be just like everyone else and only believe in the things that we can see and touch and do by our own strength and ingenuity. But Lord, I don’t want to be like everyone else, because I believe in You and in Your power and presence with me through Your Holy Spirit. Lord, help me not to put my faith in myself, but in You. Lord, help me trust in You, that You can do the impossible. Lord, help me see what You want to do today, rather than just what I can do. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.