Christ is “It”
We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord.
I Corinthians 4:5
By diverse paths and through varying experiences God’s men through the ages have arrived at the simple conclusion that what matters is Christ Himself, in doctrine, in experience, in preaching. We assume that everybody knows this, but here is our weakness. We assent to it theoretically, but we take it for granted and what we take for granted we never take seriously. We assume it but we ought to assert it. What we take as a matter of course we should be shouting from the housetops.
My own personal experience, reached through several stages, has arrived at the conviction with which I should have started – that the issue is simply Christ Himself. Familiar? Yes, but do we need anything so much these days as to familiarize ourselves with the familiar?
It is so perilously easy to preach less than Christ Himself – our own experience, a pet doctrine; a partial, fragmentary Gospel; a phase of Christ, a facet of His character instead of Himself, in whom all is included. This is “It,” “Christ Jesus the Lord” – Messiah, Mediator, Master.
Bread in the Wilderness
From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness.
“Bread in the wilderness” sounds as incongruous as “streams in the desert.” Remember the Old Testament complaint, “Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?” (Ps. 78:19). Indeed, no man could meet such an emergency, but our Lord did. With the five thousand, the miracle moved in three stages. There was a lack of bread. Jesus asked Philip, “Whence shall we buy bread that these may eat?” but He knew what He would do, as he always knew. Philip surmised that two hundred pennyworth of bread would not be enough. We are always “making an estimate,” like Philip, but we lave out the supernatural.
There was a little bread. Five loaves and two fishes amount to little, either in quantity or quality but “little is much if God is in it.” So a little bread became a lot of bread. There was a surplus of twelve basketfuls. God never deals niggardly. If each disciple gathered a basketful he had more than he started with!
And all because “there is a lad here.” His little in Jesus’ hands became a lot. No man can furnish a table in the wilderness, but Jesus and a boy can do it.