SPIRITUAL LAW AT WORK IN THE NATURAL WORLD.
By F. M. Perry, 8/23/01
Last evening Brother Walt Leaver presented a lesson citing from Scripture many instances of God assisting believers in the accomplishment of tasks which were considered impossible of accomplishment under the laws of the natural world. One instance which he cited was the feeding of more than five thousand people by Jesus and his disciples with an original natural supply of only five loaves of bread and two small fish. The accomplishment of this task is recorded in Matthew 14:13-21. Let us notice the initial elements of the task given to the disciples and the essential steps directed by Jesus to accomplish it.
1. Initial Elements of the Task.
A. God the Father, Through His Son Jesus Christ, Directed Believers to Take On a Task.
In a desert place on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, the disciples of Jesus had noticed the need for food by the multitude of people who had followed Jesus there. They said, The place is desolate, and the time is already past; so send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for them selves. But Jesus, the Son of God, said to them, They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat. The task, you give them something to eat, was originated by the Son of God from the Spiritual Realm.
B. The Task Was Deemed Impossible to Accomplish Under the Laws of the Natural World.
The disciples said to Jesus, We have here only five loaves and two fish. The disciples clearly thought, under the ambient circumstances of the natural world at that moment, that the task was impossible to accomplish.
These initial elements establish the boundaries of a typical problem of the Christian life concerning which Jesus was instructing his disciples on that day. The elements of this problem are that God, from His position in the Spiritual Realm, places tasks upon Christians which, from their position in the natural world, appear to be impossible to accomplish.
2. Essential Steps to Accomplishment of the Task.
A. First, Jesus Instructs the Disciples to Bring to Him All of the Natural World Provisions Available for the Task.
Jesus said to the disciples concerning the five loaves and the two fish, Bring them here to Me.
B. Then, Jesus Blesses the Provisions and Returns Them to the Disciples to Carry Out the Originally Assigned Task.
And ordering the multitude to recline on the grass, He took the five loaves and two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the multitudes, and they all ate and were satisfied. And they picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. And there were about five thousand men who ate, aside from women and children.
Note that the disciples were given by the Lord the task to feed the multitude, and that it was by the hands of the disciples that the multitude was fed. However it is clear that without the input of the Lord Jesus, the task appointed to the disciples could not have been done. Without instruction from Jesus to bring them here to Me, the disciples were obviously of the mind that, under the visible worldly circumstances, the task to feed the multitude was impossible to perform. Yet, with the invisible input of the Son of God, the disciples were enabled to accomplish an otherwise impossible task. The "visible worldly circumstances" under which the disciples had heretofore conducted their lives were in accordance with the God-given Natural Principles of the Material Universe. The "invisible input of the Son of God" was in accordance with God-given Spiritual Principles of the Spiritual Realm.
The exercise conducted by our Lord that day by the Sea of Galilee to feed the multitude of over five thousand people in a "supernatural" manner was, in fact, a "visual teaching aid" to instruct the Lord's disciples that they had to henceforth learn to live and operate not just in the natural world but also in the "supernatural" spiritual realm in partnership with the Lord Jesus Christ who functions as a part of the Spiritual Godhead.
The tasks given by the Lord to Christians to accomplish today as they live in the fleshly body on earth have essentially non-material spiritual objectives. Consider, for instance, the Christian's task involved in the Lord's Great Commission: Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20). The objective of this Commission is revealed by John in the statement, For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish,. but have eternal life. (John 3:16). The objective of the Lord's Great Commission to Christians is eternal spiritual life for receptive human beings in the non-material spiritual realm with God. Its achievement in the ministry of a Christian dwelling in the natural world is dependent upon the Christian's presentation of his meager fleshly provisions to Christ for spiritual augmentation to make possible that which is otherwise humanly impossible. Christians living in the flesh are called upon to become God's earthen vessels of mercy, but the justification from sin and sanctification enabling eternal spiritual life with God is contributed by the Christian's partner in ministry, Jesus Christ the Son of God.
The Biblical account of "the feeding of the five thousand" gives an excellent example of Spiritual Law at work in the Natural World. Without Christ's augmentation of limited Natural Law by the provisions of Spiritual Law, salvation from the degenerate human condition would be impossible.