He Must Be Up To Something!

Title: He Must Be Up To Something!

Bible Book: John 6 : 6

Author: Sammy Burgess

Subject: Trust; Faith; Prayer; Patience



Have you ever tried to figure out what God was doing in your life? There are times in our lives that we don’t know what God is really up to. Here in our text we find an interesting verse of Scripture. {6:6}- “for He Himself knew what He would do”

This thought hit me some time ago as I was leaving the hospital. I had just prayed with a family that needed God to do something special in their lives. When I finished praying, God gave me “perfect peace” about the situation. As soon as I finished my prayer, God the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart in a still small voice as if to say; “I already know what is going to happen”.

I told the man (a deacon) that was with me, ‘God is up to something; I don’t know exactly what it is, but God is doing something; God is up to something in this situation’. God had put us in a position that we had nothing else to do but turn to Him and to trust Him.

In this familiar story that we have before us, I believe long before Jesus ever fed the 5,000; long before Jesus ever took that lunch from the young lad; long before panic set in with the disciples, Jesus already knew what He was going to do. {6:6}- “for He Himself knew what He would do”

You see, before Jesus ever performed this Miracle with His hands - He had already performed this Miracle in His heart. To put it in our terms - OUR LORD WAS UP TO SOMETHING!!

I admit that I have preached this Miracle time and time again. Every time I look at this one Miracle (that is found in all 4 Gospels) I am still amazed at what Jesus did. I am glad that not only did Jesus do the right thing, He already knew what He was going to do even before the people ever had their need. (This is a reminder that nothing catches our Lord off guard.)

I am still convinced that our Lord is still able to do the Supernatural. I am still convinced that there is nothing my Lord cannot do.

There are some of you in this building that need a Miracle in your life. You need the Lord to step into your impossible situation and do something that only He can do.

I want you to keep something in mind as we study this great Miracle here in our text. God has already seen your circumstance (even before you had a need); God has already looked ahead in your circumstance. So this tells me that God Must Be Up To Something. Don’t sell yourself short of a Miracle.

Let’s see what God allowed and what God did in this Miracle of the feeding of the 5,000.

I. The Scene That Demanded The Perception Of God

The scene is very plain. Jesus had traveled all the way across the Sea of Galilee to try to get some rest. A multitude of people was following Him for various reasons. Some wanted to listen to Him; some wanted to learn from Him; some wanted to look on Him; some were following Him just because they loved Him.

It had finally reached the point of the day when the people began to get restless. The stomachs of the people were growling. The people were depleted of their strength. They were tired and hungry. There was a great problem and something needed to be done.

Jesus had basically set before His disciples an impossible situation. Here is a desperate situation that the disciples had to face. (What these disciples needed was Divine Perception)

A. The Size Of The Multitude

(6:10) tells us that there were 5,000 in attendance. In the Gospel of Matthew {14:21} we are told that there were 5,000 men plus women and children. Someone has estimated that there were between 12,000 and 15,000 people.

We see the starving of the multitude. Now this crowd was hungry. They were starving. Jesus had preached a marvelous sermon, but it was past 12:00; it was getting into the late afternoon; and everybody wanted to eat.

This is a tremendous picture of a person that is without Christ. Just as this multitude was desperate for food, so is the person without Christ. A person who does not know the Lord Jesus is so hungry that they are turning to everything for satisfaction.

This reminds me that there may be some in this building that are hungry for something to satisfy your life. (Not the physical, but the spiritual.) There are so many that go to Church that are hungry. It does not show on the outside (they wouldn’t dare tell someone that they needed anything from God … they are too ashamed to admit it). But there is an emptiness in their life that needs to be filled.

1. Physical Needs

When this multitude followed Jesus, they were seeking for something. According to {6:2} this multitude of people was following Jesus “because they saw His Miracles which He did on them that were diseased.” {I truly believe that many of these people were seeking more than just physical food} - {I believe that they were seeking more than just more Miracles from Jesus.} There was something missing in their life.

The reason why I say this is because we are told how our Lord reacted to these people when He saw them. {Mark 6:34} says “And Jesus, when He came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and He began to teach them many things.”

In Marks account, you will discover that Jesus was trying to find some time for Himself. He was with-drawing from every one because He was very tired. But when He saw this great multitude, Luke tells us that “Jesus received them.”

We are told that Jesus was “moved with Compassion toward them.” This word “compassion” means “love in action”. It is seeing a need; then your heart is moved in the direction toward that need, and then doing something about it.

Jesus looked at these weary people; He looked into their hearts and He was moved toward their real need.

Listen to what Blaise Pascal said, a great philosopher: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person that can only be filled by God. There is in every human heart a hidden hunger for a right relationship with God, and that can only come through Jesus Christ.”

This world in which we live is filled with multitudes of people who have desperate needs. Sure, (1)- there are physical needs. Many people die of starvation each and every day. Many people; many children go to bed with nothing in their stomachs because there was no food on their family table.

2. Emotional Needs

There are people walking today on the streets that are desperate for acceptance; they are in need of love. They have a deep hurt; a deep wound in their heart that needs to heal. We need to care about these people and pray for them.

3. Spiritual Needs

But there is ONE NEED that every person has right now. There is the Spiritual need that needs to be filled. The problem with people is a heart problem.

As someone has said: “The heart of man’s problem is the problem of man’s heart.”

Now the condition that was seen was too great for these disciples to handle. Jesus was the only one that could meet this need they had in their life. (The size of the multitude was far too great for man.)

The Size Of The Multitude

B. The Sum Of The Money

Look at {6:5,6}- “When Jesus then lifted up His eyes, and saw a great company come unto Him, He saith unto Philip, When shall we buy bread, that these may eat? {6}-And this He said to prove him: for He Himself knew what He would do.”

Now Jesus wasn’t asking Philip questions to seek information. All Jesus was doing in this situation was testing Philip. This Situation may have taken the disciples by surprise - but it didn’t take Jesus by surprise.

Now Philip, thinking in the ‘human realm’ instead of the Divine realm - began to calculate what they needed. According to (6:7) Philip figured up that they needed about “two hundred pennyworth of bread” in order for everyone to have a small portion to eat.

I can imagine that these folks were not just hungry, they were (howngry). Now, to put this in our language, Philip was saying that he needed about ‘$20,000 to feed the multitude’.

[Think about something.] There was no “Chevron Gas Station” with snacks or a “Sub-way” sandwich place to feed this multitude. There was no grocery store in those days. Even if there were such a place, they wouldn’t have the food in stock for this type of crowd.

They lacked food

They were low on funds

Philip realized that there was no place that would have enough food to feed this great multitude. Philip also realized that they didn’t have enough time in one day to get up all the food they needed.

Now there is something else that is interesting that was taking place in this situation. In {6:8,9} we are told that Andrew finds in that great multitude, a little lad with a small lunch. He brings him before the Lord, but his doubt rises to the surface:

Look down at {6:9}- “There is a lad here, which hath five barely loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?”

There are 2 basic problems that are surfacing at this point of the story. (1)- There Was The Dilemma Before Them. Philip’s problem was that - he was trying to calculate without including Jesus Christ. (2)- There Was The Doubt Within Them. Andrew’s problem was that he might have found a problem that God couldn’t handle.

Philip was worried about the {multitude}. Andrew was worried about the {meal}.

What Jesus had done was He put His disciples in a predicament that had no human solution. (May I say again that they needed Diving Perception)

There was a lesson that Jesus was teaching His disciples that I believe that is worth learning. Jesus was going to teach His disciples that there will be times when you face a situation in your life that you cannot find the answer in the normal resources of human life.

Have you thought about the fact that these disciples had no reason to doubt. They had seen Jesus (turn water into wine) - (heal the noble’s son) - (heal the paralytic man). Yet they still doubted that Jesus could meet their immediate need.

I am convinced that sometimes people can be so slow to understand. They just can’t seem to comprehend what God is trying to teach them.

They remind me of a Sunday School teacher who was trying to illustrate to her class the dangers of drinking alcohol. She filled 2 glasses up - one with water, one with alcohol. Then she pulled out some earthworms she had dug up and dropped some of them into the water. The worms just swam around in that water and had a wonderful time. Then she dropped some of the earth-worms into the glass of alcohol, and those worms just curled up and died. The teacher then asked the question: ‘Tell me boys and girls; what does this teach us?’ … A little boy raised his hand and said; ‘I know what it teaches us … If you have worms just drink a lot of alcohol.’

I wonder how many of you are faced with a condition that is out of your control? You have no way of meeting that need you are facing. Are you facing an IMPOSSIBILITY?

You should understand that if Jesus took care of your situation in the past, you should not have problem believing that He will take care of your need in the present. Do you believe that God is able to meet your need? There is nothing that grieves the heart of God anymore than doubt.

I want to tell you that there are people here in this service that needs to understand that God wants to do some-thing in your life. He wants to teach you to depend on Him.

Learn this valuable lesson:



{Luke 18:27}- “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God”

{Isaiah 55:9}- “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

I would like to teach you a lesson that is worth learning. WHEN YOU GET TO THE PLACE WHERE YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO - REMEMBER GOD DOES!

You see, every problem you have is an opportunity for you to believe God and an opportunity for God to bless you.

II. The Solution That Displayed The Power Of God

In {6:7-9} we see something that is somewhat comical. (1)- Philip is running his fingers over his calculator, trying to figure out the funds; and he finally gets frustrated and says; “This Is Impossible. (2)- Andrew hears that there was a lad in the crowd that had a lunch. He looks at the ‘lad’, he looks at the ‘lunch’ and says; “This Is Illogical”.

The disciples came up with 2 suggestions as to how to handle this problem:

They wanted to send their problem away (Mark 6:34-36)

They wanted to work out this problem in their own way. {6:7}

They were missing the fact that Jesus was about to perform a Miracle right before their very eyes. They had forgotten that what they couldn’t do - Jesus could do.

I want you to think about something. Did you know that the Lord was more interested in their lack of faith instead of the lack of food? You see, “lack of food” never stops the Lord from working - but “lack of faith” can stop the Lord from working dead in His tracks.

What I want you to do for a just a moment is focus on how this problem was solved. You are about to discover that someone in that crowd was about to believe God in this impossible situation.

This little lad that was found in the crowd had a lunch that was just enough food for him to eat. It was a small lunch. “five barely loaves and two small fishes”. Notice what happened to this lunch; this small, insignificant lunch…

Keep in mind that Jesus “knew what He would do.” {Jesus knew that the lad was in the crowd.} - {Jesus knew that the lad had the lunch.} - {Jesus knew how much was in the bagged lunch.}

What happened to the lunch? We are going to see that what happened to this lunch Displayed the Great Power of God!

A. The Lunch Was Transferred To Jesus

The young lad had every right to keep his lunch. He had just enough to eat. He was hungry like the rest of the people. He could have hid his lunch - but he gave it to Jesus. This young lad dared to believe Jesus for a Miracle when nobody else did.

This young lad was about to discover - that he would have more to eat when Jesus took his lunch than he would have if he had kept it for himself.

B. The Lunch Was Transformed By Jesus

The “five barely loaves and two small fishes” was not a very big lunch at all. In fact, the “loaves” were “wafers that were flat, hard, and brittle; about the size of a small pancake because barely was the bread of the poor people. The “fish” refers “to a little pickled fish, much like a sardine”. This was not a big salmon or a great sea bass. This was just a very small “minnow”.

What does the lad do with the lunch that he had? He simply gives it to the Lord. This lad teaches us that ANYTHING THAT YOU TRANSFER TO JESUS CAN BE TRANSFORMED BY JESUS!

There is something that I would like for you to think about for just a moment. Even though the Lord knew what He was going to do, He gave the lad and the disciples the opportunity to believe Him. Jesus never forced the issue of the “lunch” being given to Him; it was the lad that freely gave the lunch to the Lord, because he knew the Lord could do something great with it.

Here were 12 disciples who were puzzled about this situation. They were worried about the food. They were worried about the funds.

Keep in mind that they had seen Jesus do Miracle after Miracle after Miracle, and they still doubted Jesus.

Yet, here was a lad who, more than likely had never seen Jesus perform one Miracle, yet he believed that Jesus could do the impossible.

There is one area in every one of us that ought to remain just like a child, and that is in the area of faith. (I honestly believe that for most Christians, when it comes to faith, they have gotten too big for their britches.)

I heard about a little boy who got into a heated argument with his sister about who was going to get the last brownie. Their mother overheard their heated discussion and came in to try to resolve the fuss.

Her 2 children, both extremely upset, both of them wanted that last brownie. So sensing the opportunity to teach a deeper spiritual truth, the mother looked at her children and asked them that “spiritual question” “What would Jesus do?” The little boy immediately answered; “That’s easy. Jesus would just break that brownie and make 5,000 more!”

That really does illustrate the kind of faith this little boy had. The lad had his eyes on the right Person.

The disciples saw the lack - the lad saw the Lord

The disciples saw the multitude - the lad saw the Master

The disciples saw a crowd - the lad saw the Christ

They missed the fact that Jesus was about to perform a Miracle right before their very eyes. May I say again that they forgotten that what they couldn’t do - Jesus could do.

The Lad giving the lunch to Jesus teaches us a great lesson; {Luke 6:38}- “Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give unto your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”

There are 2 lessons we must learn at this point of the story

Never doubt what God can do.

Never deny whatever God asks of you to give Him.

Do you need for God to do something big in your life? Do you need for God to do the impossible in your life? If so, there are 2 things worth remembering from this Miracle.

There Is No Problem Too Big For God To Solve. Philip’s answer was a good answer in that he was accurate; because there was not enough money to buy that kind of food. But it was a bad answer because Philip left Jesus out of the equation.


There Is No Person Too Small For God To Use. This lunch was a poor boy’s lunch. The lunch was small, and so was the lad. This lunch was only good to meet the immediate need of this little boy.

May I say again that this small lad was about to discover that he would have more to eat when Jesus took it than he would have if he had kept it for himself. This lad didn’t want the good thing, he wanted the best thing.

All God ever wants from us is to include Him in your figuring, in your dilemma, and He wants you to give Him what you have.

Don’t insult God by saying He cannot use you and use what you have. YOU MAY BE TOO BIG FOR GOD TO USE, BUT YOU WILL NEVER BE TOO SMALL FOR GOD TO USE!!!

God put them in an impossible situation, not to embarrass them, but to put their faith to the test; to strengthen their faith. Jesus was wanting to show them just how strong their faith really was.

Jesus was teaching them; “I don’t need much to help you in your situation; All I need is for you to put your trust in Me and give Me what you have to offer.”

There is a Song that is familiar to many of us:

“Little Is Much When God Is In It.”

You need to learn that THERE IS A MIRACLE IN THE MAKING!!! He must be up to something. He knows what He is doing. He has something in mind. He wants you to trust Him.

III. The Satisfaction That Declared The Provision Of God

There is more to this story that meets the eye. Jesus never performed Miracles to show off. There is more to this Miracle than just feeding 5,000 (plus women and children) and having 12 baskets left over: {6:11}- “And Jesus took the loaves; and when He had given thanks, He distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.”

Now watch this. The same Greek word for “giving thanks” is the same word that Jesus used for the Lord’s supper. It is the same word Jesus used when He blessed the bread at the Lord’s Supper.

There is a truth that is worth seeing: The Bread Jesus blessed at the feeding of the 5,000 was a picture of Jesus Himself. JESUS PERFORMED THIS MIRACLE TO ILLUSTRATE THAT “HE IS THE BREAD OF LIFE”

Look at {6:35}- “I am the Bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.”

This Miracle is much more than Jesus meeting the physical needs (which He can) - This Miracle is about Jesus being the “Bread of Life”.

This Miracle helps us to understand that Jesus relates to our personal life.

A. Jesus Is The Meaning Of Life

The people in that great multitude needed to know that Jesus Himself was all that they ever needed.

Look at {6:25-27}- “And when they had found Him on the other side of the sea, they said unto Him, Rabbi, when camest Thou hither? {26}- Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek Me, not because ye saw the Miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. {27}- Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.”

Remember back in {6:2} we were told that the multitude was following Christ because of the Miracles that He performed. But the people needed to see more than just Miracles, they needed to see the Master; the One who performed all the Miracles.

I am afraid that too many people are miracle mongers. They follow Christ as long as He continues to perform His Miracles.

My question is this: What if God stops performing Miracles around you? (What do you have then?) Or the real question would be: (Whom do you have left?)

B. Jesus Is The Measure Of Life

It is estimated that it would have taken 15 tons of food to feed that multitude. So what did Jesus do - He was about to teach them that if they would just look to Him, He could do 2 things for them:

Jesus is Sufficient for all their needs

Jesus will Satisfy the rest of their needs.

Jesus not only supplied their present needs - but He sent them home full. And then He told them to pick up the fragments that remained - and they saw that they have 12 baskets left over. (NOTE)> When the multitude left, they could say one thing about Jesus - HE’S MORE THAN ENOUGH!!

But what is in my heart right now is this truth. JESUS WAS UP TO SOMETHING BEFORE HE EVER PERFORMED THIS MIRACLE. {6:6}- “for He Himself knew what He would do”

Some of you need to understand that Jesus wants to do something for you right now. You have needs that only you and God know about. But He already knows what He wants to do for you. You must trust Him and believe Him right now, because - THERE IS A MIRACLE IN THE MAKING!! That Miracle may just be for you


There is a story from California involving a University with a Physics Professor. He was beginning his first day of the first semester of a brand new year and there was a freshman, who was a Christian and he loved Jesus Christ with all of his heart that walked into this physics class.

He was immediately confronted head on with his Christian convictions by the Physics Professor. The Professor said; “There are some of you that have come into this class with the old fashion thoughts of a God who is a Supernatural God; a God who can do anything; a God who works Miracles. I want you to get that thought out of your head and out of your heart right now.”

This Physics Professor reached over to the black board and got a piece of chalk. He said; “Science says and physics say that if I drop that chalk on the floor, that chalk is going to hit that floor. The chalk is going to break into literally hundreds of pieces. And all the praying you do to some God up in the sky who does not even exists won’t stop it one bit.” The Professor dropped that chalk; the chalk hit the floor, and it exploded into literally hundreds of pieces.

The Professor thought that this would convince every one of his students that there was no God. Once a week; all semester long, he would begin his class with that routine. He would challenge his students with that piece of chalk. Then he would deny that there was a God; he would drop that piece of chalk; the chalk would break into literally hundreds of pieces; and the class would be dismissed.

That Christian young man, that freshman, began to pray about the matter. God laid it on his heart to get some students together and begin to pray. Their prayer was that when that Professor dropped that chalk, some how it would break into hundreds of pieces and prove to the class and that professor that God is the God who is greater than all and greater than everything.

On the last day of the class, the professor got up and challenged the students again about their God. As the professor picked up that chalk, the young freshman stood and said: “Sir, I want it to be known that I believe that there is a God that is greater than Science and Physics.” The Professor couldn’t believe what he heard.

All of a sudden, the young freshman began to pray. “O God; Not for my sake, but for Your sake, to show these students and the Professor once and for all that You are a Mighty God, I want You to reveal Yourself, and I want You to be Glorified. Dear God, whatever else happens, don’t let that chalk break when it hits the floor.”

As that young freshman began to pray, the Professor got very angry. The Professor said, “Stop it; that’s enough. Stop that nonsense.” He pointed his finger at that young freshman, and when he did, the chalk slipped out of his hand and went up into the air. The students later testified that the chalk moved almost like it was in slow-motion, came down, hit the pants cuff of the Professor, rolled on to his shoe, rolled off his shoe, landed on the floor, and not one flick of the chalk came off.

The students began to applaud; the Professor got very upset and said; “That proves nothing.” The students stood up, began to file out the door, looked back at the professor, pointed toward heaven, and said; “Sir; take it up with Him.”

God may not tell you to do something of that nature. But you can rest assure that you can have confidence in a God who answers prayer.

You can pray with confidence for the Salvation of your lost loved one, your lost friend; {Psalms 126:6}.

You can pray for God to remove a mountain in your life; {Mark 11:22-24}.

You can pray for God to help you make right decisions and right choices; leading you in the right path; {Prov.3:5,6}.

You can pray for God to help you financially {Phil.4:19}.

You can pray for God to watch over your children; {Psalms 127,128}.

Some of you have nothing from God because you have stopped praying and believing that God was able to step in and meet your need.

Philip, Andrew and the disciples learned a tremendous lesson. (1)- The learned that they could look at their dilemma from an earthly view point, or (2)- they could look at their dilemma from an Heavenly view point. When they saw their problem from God’s perspective and calculated God into their situation, they realized that there was nothing too hard for God, and there was nothing too small for God to use.

Keep something in mind: Long before the disciples ever figured out the solution to this great problem - JESUS ALREADY KNEW WHAT HE WOULD DO!

We need to learn that we don’t have to fear or fret: HE MUST BE UP TO SOMETHING!

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