For out of His fullness (abundance) we all received (John. 1:16)
The story of the feeding of the five thousand is the one miracle of
Christ that is recorded in all four Gospels. One of the significant points of the miracle
is the proof that it furnishes that Christ is able to give over and above all our needs.
Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five
barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten" (John. 6:13). Christ gives
out of His abundance. His supply never runs out and that which He furnishes is abundantly
superior to anything we can get here on earth.
When He spoke to the woman at the well, He said to her, "Whoever
drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give
him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain
of water springing up into everlasting life" (John. 4:13,14). The water from this
world never satisfies. All of its resources can never satisfy the thirsting soul.
"For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of
living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no
water" (Jer. 2:13).
I tried the broken cisterns, Lord,
But ah! the waters failed!
E’en as I stooped to drink they’d fled,
And mocked me as I wailed.
The younger son journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his
possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine
in that land, and he began to be in want. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with
the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything, and he said, "How many of
my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with
hunger" (Luke. 15:13-17)! The Lord Jesus said, "I am the bread of life. He who
comes to Me shall never hunger (John. 6:35).
We are thankful for the freedom that we have in this country, but that
freedom fades into insignificance compared to the freedom that Christ gives. Although we
might be free from the oppression of the government, we are really slaves to sin. Jesus
said, "Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin" (John. 8:34). Before we came to
Christ, we realized the terrible bondage of sin. It grips us like a vise and binds us in
chains. But Christ gives liberty such as this world can never give. "So if the Son
liberates you then you are really and unquestionably free" (John. 8:36).
Because Christ is able to give us water to satisfy our thirst forever,
because He feeds us to the full to satisfy our eternal hunger, because He liberates us
with a liberty that can never be removed, we enjoy in Him life to its abundance. He said,
"I came that they (My sheep) may have and enjoy life, and have it in
abundance—to the full, till it overflows" (John. 10:10).
When each of us examines our life we soon become aware that when Christ
forgave us and cleansed us from our sins we experienced the grace of God in its abundance.
We continue to experience that grace day after day in our life. We become aware that His
grace is abundant and can never be exhausted. We have learned that "by the one
man’s offense (Adam) death reigned through the one, much more those who receive
abundance or overflowing of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life
through the One, Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:17). Summarizing his own life, Paul stated it
in this manner, "Although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent
man,…the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant (beyond measuring), with faith
and love which are in Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 1:13,14).
If His grace has been superabounding so also has been His mercy. Peter,
who experienced bitter times of failure in his life, could say, "Blessed be the God
and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten
again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1
Pet. 1:3). You and I have sinned so many times that we deserve to be without any hope
whatsoever. His boundless mercy enables us to look beyond the hopeless ash heaps of this
world to the bright and endless beauties of that eternal hope, made possible by the
resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
How vast, how full, how free,
The mercy of our God!
Proclaim the blessed news around
And spread it all abroad
Blessed, blessed news; Mercy e’en for thee,
Flowing from the heart of God,
So vast, so full, so free!
In his delightful commentary on Ephesians, Bill MacDonald describes the
superabundance of God in Christ as found in 3:20. He says "the extent of His ability
is seen in the manner in which Paul pyramids words to describe superabundant
Able to do
Able do what we ask
Able to do what we think
Able to do what we ask or think
Able to do all that we ask or think
Able to do above all that we ask or think
Able to do abundantly above all that we ask or think
Able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think
FOR IT PLEASED THE FATHER THAT IN HIM ALL THE FULLNESS SHOULD
DWELL…FOR IN HIM DWELLS ALL THE FULLNESS OF THE GODHEAD BODILY (Col. 1:19, 2:9).