John 6:5-6 “When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, ‘Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?’ He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.”
John reveals a detail not noted in the other gospel accounts of the feeding of the 5000. Jesus was aware of the need to find food for this crowd even before his disciples were. He was the one who pointed it out to them and got them thinking about it. That shouldn’t surprise us, because he is the all-knowing Son of God.
Maybe it doesn’t occur to us that the same holds true in our own time of need. You or I may be surprised to learn that we suffer from a serious medical condition, or that we are losing our job, or that our home or car requires some unreasonably expensive repair. Or if we had some suspicions that something was wrong, we still feel some shock and disappointment when our worst fears are confirmed. We feel rattled. Our confidence is shaken. We get depressed or angry about our bad fortune. But our Savior is not surprised by the mess in which we find ourselves. He saw it coming all along. He knew long before we ever suspected.
Our initial reaction to that news may be, “Then why didn’t he do something to stop it?” And we are disappointed with God. But that is the reaction of unbelief and the sinful flesh, not of faith. Faith sees God’s promise, “He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.”
You can trust Jesus to provide, because he always has a plan. Long ago, even before time began, the Lord anticipated the problem of sin, and he had a plan. In his first letter, Peter tells us that Jesus was chosen to be the Lamb of sacrifice whose blood redeems us from our sin “before the creation of the world.” Paul assured the Christians in Ephesus that God “chose us in him (that is Jesus) before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight” (1:4). He saw our need, and he had a plan to save us, before we even existed.
That foresight doesn’t stop at our salvation. Jesus “had in mind what he was going to do” to feed the 5000. He has in mind what he is going to do for our needs. You and I are already living in his plan, and he is in control of our lives, though this may difficult for us to see, because we can’t see how it all turns out as he does. Still, you can trust Jesus to provide, because he has a plan.