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T. Austin Sparks - Messages.

12 Baskets Full! | Print |



        "He himself knew what He would do ." [John 6:6.]


¶ Jesus has a plan to meet your need. When Jesus met the need of this great crowd, they were filled! Jesus has for you "Fullness'"; He came to give Life , and  "Life more Abundantly" [John 10:10.]

                            Abundant Life, the Saviors gift to me

                            Abundant Life - Complete security;

                            All this and more, Christ offers so much more

                            For you who've tried and failed

                            Come Live Abundantly.


                "This is a desert Place" [Matthew 14:15.]


¶  How real is the experience, that, this world appears to have everything until you get on the escalator to go up and discover that it goes down to a "desert place".  What a world of loneliness and emptiness we live in; brokenness all around us and people wandering through life in despair as though they were in a "desert place".

¶ Before a person comes to the Lord it is like having only one little throw away basket with only a little bit in it, that is slowly turning to mush.  How empty this natural existence really is, it is a little bit of sweetness that in a very short while comes to a sour end , and quiet often the "sour" element can be experienced in various levels of intensity throughout the entire existence and term of this natural Human life.

¶ Is anyone untouched today by some soul ravaging sorrow of a broken family, broken relationship, terminal illness, tragedy, violence or any other of the many blights that come upon all of humanity without exception ? Unless there can be found another "Life", truly the whole gambit of this existence is "a desert place" ; the grave is an endless desert.

¶ The Lord didn't turn this empty place into a holiday resort so the people could "kick back" and have a party ; because they would still have to go back and live in the "real world" .  In the real world there will always be many occasions of emptiness and a need to face , trials and difficulties, heartaches and disappointments that sometimes can be so severe that the inward soul of man can break.

¶ Jesus displayed the glorious truth that he has the power to produce "completeness" and "Fullness" in the midst of a soul rending wilderness experience. This great multitude of people found themselves in the major dilemma of being in a desert place, and seriously lacking; but Jesus was there, and the people returned home having experienced the greatness of The Lord that they will never forget, finding in Him a solid answer for all of life at every turn.

¶ Travelling through the barren deserts of this world , we can often find that we haven't got the resource to handle the need, and that what has come upon us has the power to destroy us, but there is one who came, not to take us out of the "desert" but to deliver us from its power and cause us to abound in His "completeness" and "fullness": Jesus is never without a rich supply for every need , He is the Lord of heaven and Earth! There is no lack with Him! He turned the water into wine, and turns the darkness into light. No , don't expect Him to take you out of the desert. The Lord doesn't miraculously remove our problems so that we skate through and simply say: "what a lucky escape" . Paul sought The Lord three times that his problem "thorn in the flesh" might be gone, but he was promised twelve baskets full of grace sufficient in the wilderness!  He didn't remove Job's problem but prepared a table of wonderful revelation in his wilderness and when job was ready to come to the table The Lord opened up wonders to him that changed him forever.

¶ The Lord can supply all your need according to his riches in glory, causing you to go on rejoicing in the "fullness" and Completeness" that He has provided for you, and others who are learning the truth about this empty world can see you enjoying an Oasis of life and "fullness" in the midst of your difficulties and seek to know how you have found such a resource, in such a waste howling wilderness!


¶ The term "12 baskets full" represents - Holding in store "fullness" and the number "12" in Biblical terms represents "Completeness" IE, 12 Tribes of Israel; 12 Apostles; 12 foundations in the Heavenly new Jerusalem; 12 "manner of fruits" on the tree of Life in the new Heaven and the new Earth for the "Healing of Nations" and of course there are many natural examples such as, 12 months make a complete year, 12 basic colors that constitute pure light, The human cell has twelve biochemical salts: The twelve ganglions in the human body: The twelve semitones derived from the seven notes of the scale etc.


               The Christian has 12 Baskets Full of Completeness .


 9 For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.  10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: [Colossians 2:9-10.]

¶ What a wonderful reality that in Christ a believer is made complete because they are in Him who is the fullness of God ! Now that is 12 baskets full of Blessing and Riches that cannot be put into words! Paul sounds out the greatness when he declared to the saints at Corinth;

    21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;  22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;  23 And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's. [1 Corinthians 3:21-23.]

¶ There is a mystery of greatness in this admonition of the apostle Paul; he declares that ALL things belong to the saints, even Paul himself, and what about "the World" and "Death" Is death mine ? My body is surely going to die if I go before The Lord's coming, but is death my possession to do with it whatever I like ? - A resounding Yes , Death hasn't got hold of me, I have got hold of it, and death is swallowed up in victory in Christ, in whom I am quickened with His Eternal Life! Christ who is Lord of Heaven and Earth and all existence took upon himself everything about the human race that brings it into death , and for all those who trust in Him, He flattened death into non-existence,  and Jesus hands to us the champion  status of Victory over death at the end of physical life here on earth and also Victory over the law of sin and death which works in our physical members now. In these two realities death does not possess the believer but the believer is in possession and command over death and such a commanding position is in Christ! Paul expressed on one occasion his longing to step through death (physical only) and be with The Lord whose greatness thrilled him beyond words. That desire is expressed in the following words to the Church at Philippi -  23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better. [Philippians 1: 23.]


      "They were as sheep without a Shepherd" [Mark 6:34.]


¶ After this miraculous supply of all their need, the people wanted to make Him their King . Jesus was teaching them of "The Kingdom of God" but  This world is a lost world with a hostile demeanor against God and Jesus didn't come to be King over such a fallen Kingdom of sin, sickness, death and emptiness ; he came to be our Shepherd and bring us into a Kingdom of "12 Baskets full"   for all Eternity!

 "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard nor entered into the heart of man the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him" [1 Corinthians 2:9.] David declared  "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want" [Psalm 23:1.] and in that Psalm, David also says of this shepherd "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies, Thou anoinest my head with oil, my cup runneth over" . With what love and greatness did Jesus demonstrate that He is The Lord and what a table of fullness did He provide in the wilderness!

¶ When The Lord touches any situation he brings "completeness" to that need or difficulty, and the measure of such can only be described in the vastness of grace and provision as issued out of the boys lunch of 5 barley loaves and 2 small fishes which fed anything upwards of 5000 - 8000 people, and at the end all were filled and they gathered up a token of that feast of completeness , 12 baskets full. Note: the figure of 5000 mentioned in the passage was in reference to men only and so with the reference made to "women and children" it can only be estimated, the total amount of hungry people that were completely satisfied by The Lord's provision on that day. We will be completely satisfied as we look to Jesus and depend on Him for his lovingkindness and provision.


      "The Passover, a feast of the Jews was nigh."  [John 6:4.]


¶ What a demonstration Jesus gave with unmistakable evidence that He is the one in whom alone may be found a feast of great things and that He is indeed, the true "Passover Lamb" that in "type" brought the Children of Israel out of severe bondage into glorious liberty, celebration and the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey ! O what a message of Encouragement there is for us in this incident of Christ's power to turn our powerless emptiness into satisfying fullness . Whatever our desperate need, this Precious Lamb of God slain for you and me from the foundation of the World, has such Heavenly power , that he can fill your heart and need and problem with fulfillment of blessing and joy of His goodness just like he did for all that multitude, whose needs were impossible to meet.

                  "Can God furnish a table in the Wilderness?" [Psalm 78:19.]

¶ As Israel questioned God's ability to meet their need in such impossible circumstances, It is not hard to imagine this question coming in the hearts of the disciples as Jesus began to look to Heaven and give thanks for this boy's lunch to feed well above 5000 people. Just as The Lord provided abundantly for the children of Israel in their trek across vast nothingness towards the "promised land" so likewise The Lord wonderfully "furnished a table" of a great feast for all this people in the wilderness of Matthew 14. Yes! Jesus is able to furnish a table for you and me in any empty "desert" we may have occasion to pass through; do not doubt that,   Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever [Hebrews 13:8.] He will have compassion on you just like he did, with that great multitude with the all inclusive love, that it didn't matter who was in that multitude or what state of need, wretchedness or problem any were in, they all "tasted of The Lord that He is Gracious" and were "filled".


¶ In our emptiness and need we can be much discouraged and tend to give up and in the fret turn aside to self and sin , but His call is to cast all our care upon Him, for as Peter proved; "He cares for You"! There is no need that He has not seen and has not got the power to FILL that need, or situation with lasting Heavenly blessing


                             Real answers only come from heaven .


¶  12 baskets full could have only come from Heaven and the truth is that we are all sunk if our help doesn't come from above . All earthly Endeavour and effort to solve our needs and problems only result in consolations that produce disintegration , decay and rot; we need to look up , as Jesus did.

¶ In the account of the feeding of the 5000 in Matthew we read,  "And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven , he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples and the disciples to the multitude". [Matthew 14:19]

¶ Joni Erikson Tada, though paralyzed from the neck down has experienced with great Joy the wonderful heavenly blessing that the Lord of Glory has poured into her and through her to countless thousands of hungry souls wandering in the barren fields of this lost World!

¶ What an experience of completeness and fullness this sister has experienced in being a channel of such great blessing to so many. Her "desert place" was an extreme place indeed, with great barrenness in the physical realm and yet with such smallness and in the meager portion that her life had now become, and with the huge limitations that now assailed her, she yielded all up to Jesus (Just as in this Bible account) and Jesus has once again turned very little into huge blessing for Joni and 12 baskets full of precious blessing for many who have heard her speak, sing or read her books.


                             Abundance  In a Wilderness .


¶ On another occasion Jesus fed 4000 and his disciples said to Jesus,  "From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?" [Mark 8:4.]

How wonderfully satisfying it is to know The Lord and that, in a wilderness!

¶ A wilderness is a "solitary" place, a place of nothingness . How easily a person can feel "solitary" and alone in this world, feeling at a "nothing" point in life with many needs and no one with the power to fill that need; The true lover of your soul with all of its sorrows, joys, longings and hopes is Jesus , He is the friend you can't do without and can do everything with!    "There is a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother" [Proverbs 18:24.] and this friend is a friend that "loveth at all times" [Proverbs 17:17.] His Love is an  "everlasting love" [Jeremiah 31:3.] The outstanding individual in the New testament that demonstrates this great love of Christ is the Apostle Paul; this man called "Saul of Tarsus" was indeed the most bitter and vengeful hater of Christ and Christians you could ever possibly meet and yet out of all the writers of the New Testament there are none that come anywhere close to the beautiful and powerful expressions of the love of Christ , that are penned by the apostle Paul. How beautiful are the words of that old Hymn "It passeth knowledge that dear love of thine, my Savior Jesus yet these lips of mine would of thy love in all its length and breadth - Its height and depth its everlasting strength, my soul shall sing."


        "We have here but five loaves..." [Matthew 14:17.]


"But my problem is a real hard one..."

"But my sin has been too much..."

"But I have rejected Christ over and over and now it is too late..."

¶ The Disciples stalled at the mountain called "but" . The Lord said to the disciples "bring them hither to me" so the disciples brought the "mountain" to the Lord and He promptly produced a wonderfully engineered "Highway" of great provision and blessing! If we would only bring our cares and woes to Jesus , and be cast upon Him for all our needs we will see great blessing. Have you brought all your mountains to Jesus? Don't hesitate and doubt His love for you and His care to turn any impossible emptiness into 12 baskets full of His goodness and Grace and blessing and recovery for the journey home contented and in touch with The Lord and His completeness for every issue.

Jesus Loves You.

God Bless .