“When Jesus then lifted up His eyes, and saw a great company come unto Him, He saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? Philip answered Him…There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?... They gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.” (John 6:5; 7; 9; 13).
Our Lord’s greatest working in our lives begins with similar inquiries to Philip’s question, “What are they among so many?” Seemingly insufficient supply, strength, motivation, condition and circumstance become the seedbed of a bountiful harvest of grace in those who remember God’s declaration to the Apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (II Corinthians 12:9).
Had there been a plentiful measure of loaves and fish on hand in this scene recorded by the Apostle John, there would have been no plentiful measure of grace to report. The event would not be included in the pages of Scripture. Since, however, the story begins with insufficiency and ends with twelve baskets of leftovers, John provides for us a blessed affirmation of God’s sufficiency “made perfect” in insufficiency.
Doubtless, we all find the question pertinent in various arenas of life: “What are they among so many?” If we have trusted the Lord Jesus and are seeking His glory and will, His presence provides our answer. “They” are the holy means by which our Savior reveals the glory of God in unexpected and unimaginable ways. Such works are often accomplished quietly – John does not record great excitement or fanfare during the event of the feeding. They also happen according to God’s way and timing. They happen nevertheless as we realize the truth that the appearance of insufficiency provides opportunity for faith in the reality of our Lord’s working to reveal His superabundant sufficiency…
“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”