Never Doubt Jesus

'Lost and Found' by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission.
“Lost and Found” by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission.

November 20, 2022

Gospel – 4/24/30 – John 6:1-15

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee.
A large crowd followed him,
because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.
Jesus went up on the mountain,
and there he sat down with his disciples.
The Jewish feast of Passover was near.
When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,
he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”
He said this to test him,
because he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him,
“Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough
for each of them to have a little.”
One of his disciples,
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;
but what good are these for so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.”
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place.
So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed them to those who were reclining,
and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
“Gather the fragments left over,
so that nothing will be wasted.”
So they collected them,
and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments
from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said,
“This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.”
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off
to make him king,
he withdrew again to the mountain alone.

I remember when I was 16 y/o, with newly minted driver’s license, going to see a girl I met in another town. It had been raining profusely. I had a summertime curfew, which meant 11 pm – not 10 pm. I was always pushing the envelope, so I was late leaving the young lady’s home to get in by curfew. I knew there was a shortcut which could save some time.

So off the highway I went and onto a road that went from blacktop to dirt road very quickly. Once it went to dirt it became a quagmire with deep ruts and thick mud. Now, it was possible to get stuck and work your way out. Then you could get STUCK and could be missing until someone in the future happened across the sad scene of your demise. I got STUCK.

My dad, my hero, the only person I truly feared in life, was an Iron Worker. He worked normally in the Golden Triangle – Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange – and got up at 3:30 am to go to work. So, he went to bed early. It was way past early when I got STUCK.

As I sat there pondering my fate – call home or be a memory to those who knew me – I came to the realization I was too young to fade away.

There were no cellphones in those days – no pagers either – but I digress. I remembered passing a house as I headed into the quagmire so I began walking back that direction. I saw a light on in the house and bravely went up to knock on the door. I asked to make a collect call (that’ll mess with some young minds).

My mom answered and I explained the situation – fighting the temptation to say I’d been kidnapped. She said she’d get my dad. I explained where I was and he said to stay put (I guess that was his attempt at humor).

When he showed up my expectation was I would be given the look that said I should be embarrassed to be alive. Instead, he never looked at me. He got out, hitched up his pants and surveyed the situation. He then walked over, got in the truck and – I swear to you – started it and began to drive forward. The same truck I couldn’t get to move.

And he kept driving until the lights disappeared around a bend up ahead. As I waited, I couldn’t help but worry he got stuck up ahead. Now, I had lost my father.

Moments later I see the light coming back around the bend. I quickly moved his truck back and out of the way and he drove by and stopped.

I stand in awe – this was my hero – as once again he steps out, hitches up his pants – as only Joe Stanley could, and finally looks at me.

My expectation was to be told my brain should be put to use occasionally.

Instead, my dad’s face broke into a smile (seen as often as the Sasquatch) and he said, “I bet you didn’t think I could do that.”

I’m sorry you didn’t get to meet him. He was amazing.

Today, the Apostles think they are STUCK. Too late in the day, too many people, very little food and no money to buy food.

What can they do? Just like me, they ask their “daddy” (Jesus) to save them.

And Jesus does. I don’t care “how” you think he did it – HE did it. And there were left overs.

I can almost see Jesus hitching up his robe and saying, “I bet you didn’t think I could do that.”

My dad was as close to Jesus as I knew in my life. I never should have doubted him.

We should never doubt Jesus

At least that’s what I heard Him say…

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