Apart from the resurrection of Jesus, only the miracle of the loaves and fishes excites all the gospel writers so that none of them feels Christ’s story is told without it. An exciting missionary adventure of teaching and miracles was dashed by news that John the Baptizer was assassinated. In an effort to achieve some rest and relaxation, Christ and His disciples retired across Galilee. It was the backdrop for an incredibly timeless human story that many of us first heard as children. Of all the gospel writers, only John writes that Jesus, “already had in mind what he was going to do” (John 6:6).
I. The Things We Have in Mind
The disciples, even though they had witnessed many miracles in the preceding days, were frustrated when Jesus suggested feeding the multitude. They were a long way from any place to buy food and feeding five thousand people would be a costly exercise, they reasoned. As yet, they did not know what the sovereign Christ “had in mind to do.” Life is full of far-fetched demands for which our resources seem inadequate. The disciples, according to Matthew, Mark, and Luke, would have sent the people away hungry. Jesus, on the other hand, says, “Whoever comes to Me I will never drive away” (John 6:37).
Still, in a variety of ways we say, “Send them away.” Such is our mindset.
In 2 Kings 4 there is a telling account of a sick young prince who seeks his father’s help. His father, the king, orders a servant, “Carry him to his mother!” “Send him away!” Too many men in our generation echo that when it comes to providing leadership at home: “Leave it to my wife,” they say by their silent abdication; or worse, “Leave it to the media to teach them life’s important values about morality, language, relationships, and absolutes.”
Similarly, thousands call themselves friends of the church, yet do a naked nothing for her. They forfeit opportunities to make a positive difference in Christ’s name, leaving others to carry the load. Their cry of non-involvement says, “Don’t bother us. Send the needy away!” So, Christ’s call still echoes, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few” (Luke 10:2).
Abortion is not unlike that. It’s attempt to quickly escape a difficult situation at the cost of a child’s life, to, “Send it away,” so to speak, misses something wonderful Christ “has in mind.” Imagine how different the history of Europe would have been in this century had Churchill’s unmarried mother chosen to abort him.
Suicide, the second highest cause of death among U.S. young people, is the ultimate wishing away. Curt Cobain and Margeaux Hemingway are but two well-known examples. Others wish themselves away. David, forsaken by a fair weather friend, wanted out: “Oh, that I could fly away” he exclaims, (cf. Psalms 55:6). Jeremiah’s congregation nearly drove him crazy and he wept, “I wish I could get away from them” (cf. Jeremiah 9:2Jonah, called to preach in Nineveh, ran away.
“The people grumbled against Moses” (Exodus 15:24). Now, they grumbled against Christ and the potential of five thousand new disciples, of all things. Complaining is nothing new. It is an age old way of running from a problem when we have closed our mind to the possibilities Christ “already has in mind.”
Philip griped. “Eight months’ wages,” he said, would not be enough. His was the failed faith of the bottom line that always comes up short. We see it in various forms. People with undersized faith complain and run away when something is not to their liking. They miss what Christ “has in mind.” How often in church history, I wonder, has revival been forfeited because we evangelicals ran, rather than standing for the message we claim to hold so dear?
John Milton’s Satan learned that you can run but you cannot hide; for you will always take yourself with you:
“Infinite woe and infinite despair:
Which way I fly is hell; myself am hell!”
Even Satan realizes we run most often from ourselves and blame it on others. David and Jeremiah stayed. Jonah went to Nineveh. Churchill was born, and the world has seen at least something of what God, “Already had in mind.”
II. The Things Christ Had in Mind!
I like Andrew. He was different from the other disciples. Of all the disciples, he is my favorite, because Andrew is a bringer. He brought Peter to Jesus. I’m quite certain that when he did that, Andrew had no idea Christ would look behind the rough exterior of Peter and see not only a Galilean fisherman but one who had in him the makings of the rock on whose confession His church would be founded. That is how Christ is. He sees not only the actualities in us, He also sees the possibilities. Bringers discover the amazing miracles that Christ “already has in mind.” Now, while the rest complain about the high cost of groceries, Andrew brings a wee boy with a lunch. It was not much. In his own way Andrew says, “It ain’t much, but it’s all I got.” All he could find was all Christ needed. Five barley loaves and two small fishes were the seeds of this great miracle.
I would rather bring than complain any day, wouldn’t you? Last week an executive in one of the high rise buildings near our church brought her troubled secretary to our midweek Tuesday Noon Boost service. The secretary heard the message and realized her need to receive Christ. She asked the Lord to come into her life and take control. The changes in her life, already remarkable, have taken great courage. It is exciting to witness the progress she is making. Who knows all that Christ “already has in mind” for her? So far, He alone does.
Once someone came to Michelangelo chipping away with his chisel at a huge shapeless piece of rock. He asked the sculptor what he was doing. “I am releasing the angel imprisoned in this marble,” he answered. Christ is the only one who can see the hidden greatness in every one of us, and in every one we bring to Him. How many have you brought to Jesus?
The disciples discovered that Christ always has a positive, constructive plan in mind. Their ideas, on the on the hand, were divisive: “Get rid of them!” Had the Lord followed their advice, this miracle would never have happened. The church’s missionary march would have ended on a Galilean hillside. We would not have heard the gospel. In opposition to that, Christ’s way says, “Work with me and the bad always gets better.” Bring Him all you have, and He multiplies it. That is how Christ’s kingdom grows; and we grow. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit” (John 15:5). Don’t you know that as Philip watched that boy’s lunch multiply, and as he helped pick up the left-overs, he resolved never to worry about money again!
Does some situation in your life seem hopeless? Have you considered, “The things Christ has in mind?”
III. How Do We Discover the Things Christ Has in Mind?
As one reads the four gospel accounts there are three vital life principles behind the records of this miracle. Christ has them in mind for us to learn. Philip and the others missed them that day. Andrew did not.
First: Believe in God and in His Son Christ Jesus. Believe in who He is; and in what He has done for you. Remember His great salvation, provided with you in mind. He died with you in mind. Every time you feel like running away, or wonder if a situation is impossible, remember God, “Already has in mind what he is going to do.”
Second: Believe in yourself. Not in a selfish, humanistic way but in the spiritual, theological way Christ believes in you. Everything is possible for him who believes” (Mark 9:23). By God’s grace, we can do anything we need to do. You were born to live with faith. Everything is possible!” Jesus says there are no impossibilities! Are there difficulties? Yes. Occasionally. Always they represent opportunities in disguise.
Third: Believe in your future. A miracle awaits you just around the corner any time a challenge seems insurmountable. “I know the plans I have for you,” the Lord says, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). Christ has in mind to save you from your sins and from your situations, and bless your life in ways as yet undreamed. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). It was what God had in mind at the incarnation, and what His Son, Jesus, had in mind when He took your place on the cross at Calvary.
Wherever you are today, or wherever you find yourself tomorrow, remember this: Christ “already has in mind what he is going to do” with you and for you, and it is all good. Stay close to Him and you shall soon declare with David’s ultimate certainty, “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalms 23:6).
The difficult moments along life’s way are merely your testing places. John records Jesus’ motivation: “He asked this only to test Philip, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.” When we believe in Him, in ourselves, and in working with Him we always discover the wonderful future He “already has in mind.”

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