John 6:1-7 : After these things, Jesus went away to the other side of the sea of Galilee, which is also called the Sea of Tiberias. A great multitude followed him, because they saw his signs which he did on those who were sick. Jesus went up into the mountain, and he sat there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Jesus therefore lifting up his eyes, and seeing that a great multitude was coming to him, said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat?” This he said to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that everyone of them may receive a little.”
Fear is blinding. When we start focusing on our fears, it becomes nearly impossible to be objective and reasonable. Food is the physical issue in this passage. Last time we talked about food it was when the Samaritan crowd was about to interfere with the disciples eating plans. As before, the solution was to focus on higher, more important things to God. Jesus has several things to say about food and working for it making it a significant theme in the book of John.
Here, Jesus gives Philip a test question. He asks where they should buy bread to feed the crowd. It was a leading question. Jesus didn’t intend to buy anything. Think about this for a moment. The crowd was following Jesus because of His miraculous power. Evidently, Philip and the other disciples were getting their focus off of Jesus and His obvious ability to do anything at any time.
Sometimes, as God’s servants in our work, families and at church, we can get our mental focus shifted off of the spiritual and onto the physical things that surround the spiritual activity. We need test questions like this to show us where we stand right now. It isn’t recorded that Jesus scolded Philip for his answer. Jesus was going to give a real-life example by performing a food miracle. Later, in acts, Philip becomes an amazing example of a tool of God with which He could do any miraculous thing He wanted. But today, Philip was in discipleship school.
In my flesh, I am a man like Philip, I can see how he should have answered, however. He should have said something like: “Jesus, You know we don’t have enough money or time to go into town and buy all the bread we need. Tell me what you want me to do and I will do it.” Unfortunately, I have said the same kind of thing Philip said in my anxious moments recently. I am very thankful that Jesus took the time to make it clear that a focus on money and resources is not the way to live life as a Christian. I know that we are responsible for finances, but we should trust that God will provide what we need Him when He asks us to serve Him.