7 Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.” 8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, 9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?”
Philip answered Him,
Philip responds purely on the horizontal level. His concern was only what the marketplace could do about the situation. It did not occur to him that Jesus could solve the problem.
“Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them,
A silver denarius was a Roman coin about a day’s wage for an individual so the total amount was quite a sum of money. This would be about 8 months of wages. Philip’s calculation was that it was impossible to meet the need for food. Philip saw the situation as hopeless because he only looked at the situation from human viewpoint. If we only look within ourselves we do not learn to trust God’s provisions, which come without human resource.
Philip’s calculation was accurate but futile. There was no need to go beyond the prohibitive price. He could only produce figures that contained no answer. Jesus wanted Philip to face the hopelessness and the impossibility of the situation at hand.
that every one of them may have a little.”
Philip implied that it was impossible to find sufficient food for thousands of people that late at night. This statement indicated his lack of faith in what Christ could do in the situation.
One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him,
Andrew went into the crowd to see how much food he could find there.
“There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish,
All the food Andrew found was a boy’s lunch of five barley loaves and two small fish. Barley was the food for the poor.
I don’t know what the disciples did to pry this boy’s lunch from him. It must have been quite some task.
but what are they among so many?”
Andrew doubted the value of his own suggestion. The amount of food the lad had was for maybe two people. Andrew’s faith was not great at this time. He failed Jesus’ test of faith. Jesus confronted Philip with a test of faith and he failed the test. Philip looked at the human resources around him and found no solution to the problem of feeding the 5,000 men. Both Philip and Andrew failed the test of faith.
Jesus will show Andrew His superiority to statistical impossibilities. He will show the answer to the question “what are they among so many?” Andrew left Jesus out of his calculations.
We should not look at God through our own limitations.
Philip and Andrew did not have a solution to the problem of feeding the 5,000 men but they only pointed to its impossibility. Unbelief was infectious in both Philip and Andrew. They had a blind spot to the wonder of who and what Jesus is and could do. Yet, in the face of their lack of faith, God provided according to the riches of His grace rather than the poverty of their faith
It is possible to be blind to the glory of what Christ can do. There is a helplessness and hopelessness of unbelief among some people. Believers should not look at God through our own limitations. Focus on difficulties can hide what God can do.
Failure to exercise faith is at the core of much failure to live the Christian life today. We rely on human calculation rather than what God can do.