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. John 6:5–6
God always knows what He is going to do. He always has a perfect plan for our lives. Always. In the passage above, we read a snippet from the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish. Jesus knew He was going to multiply the few loaves and fish they had and feed over five thousand people. But before He did this, He wanted to test Philip, and so He did. Why does Jesus test Philip and why does He test us at times?
It’s not that Jesus is curious about what Philip will say. And it’s not that He is just playing games with Philip. Rather, He is seizing this opportunity to let Philip manifest His faith. So, in fact, this “testing” of Philip was a gift to him because it gave Philip the opportunity to pass the test.
The test was to let Philip act on faith rather than just on human logic alone. Sure, it’s good to be logical. But very often the wisdom of God supersedes human logic. In other words, it brings logic to a whole new level. It brings it to a level where faith in God is brought into the equation.
So, Philip, in that moment, was being called to offer a solution given the fact that the Son of God was there with them. And he fails the test. He points out that two hundred days’ wages would not be enough to feed the crowd. But Andrew somewhat comes to the rescue. Andrew states that there is a boy who has a few loaves and some fish. Unfortunately, he adds, “but what good are these for so many?”
This little spark of faith in Andrew, however, is enough faith for Jesus to have the crowds recline and to perform the miracle of the multiplication of the food. It seems that Andrew at least had a small insight into the fact that these few loaves and fish were important to mention. Jesus takes this from Andrew and takes care of the rest.
Reflect, today, upon the precious gift of even a little faith. So often we find ourselves in difficult situations where we don’t know what to do. We should strive to have at least a little faith so that Jesus has something to work with. No, we may not have the full picture of what He wants to do, but we should at least have a small inkling of the direction God is leading. If we can at least manifest this little faith then we too will pass the test.