A sermon recently delivered a message on Feeding the Five Thousand from Mark 6:30-44. It is a passage we have all heard several times over if you have spent any time in church. If not, no worries I’ll break it down through this time together.
Grab your Cup of Joe and settle in.
Just for reference, this story along with Feeding of the Four Thousand is found in all four gospels. Here is the location in the other three Feeding the Five Thousand: Matthew 14:13-2, Luke 9:10-17, John 6:1-14. Feeding of the Four Thousand is just beyond in all passages.
As I was listening to this passage of scripture, something new came to mind. It is this…as the disciples passed out the fish and loaves was their faith little and grew as they saw the miracle unfold?
At this point in the gospel the disciples are still working out who Jesus is, I mean REALLY is. They are still walking and growing spiritually alongside Jesus. Remember Christianity is not a race but a lifetime path. The disciples demonstrate this throughout this passage.
Jesus used miracles to demonstrate His deity and clearly taking two fish and five loaves of bread to feed five thousand men would classify as a miracle in my book. I struggle to adjust portions when cooking for a known amount of people I invited for dinner.
In this passage, we find Jesus, disciples, five thousand people who have come to see Jesus from many nearby cities at the Sea of Galilee, and only two fish and five loaves of bread they found, according to John, from a little boy.
Let me set the scene a little more. These people are following Jesus to the Sea because they saw or have heard of the healing miracles he performed in the previous town. The disciples were with Jesus then too. The people following Jesus clearly believed something was special about Him as did the disciples but the question remains- to what extent?
What extent do we believe Jesus is special? Do we know, I mean REALLY know, Him?
It is the Passover Feast, which is why it was important to feed the people and not merely speak to them and send them on their way or any number of ways it could have played out. Jesus and the disciples recognized the need.
Doesn’t He always take care of our needs?
The disciples thought to go and take a measly 200 denarii and buy bread to feed them something. There were no plans or faith that Jesus, their Rabbi who just miraculously performed healing miracles, would sustain their hunger on His own deity. After all of the previous miracles the disciples did not then reply, here you go rabbi, I have faith you will do great miracles with this little amount of food. They said we have only five loaves and two fish.
Jesus takes the measly bit of food that would satisfy three or four people today and blesses and breaks the food and hands it out to the disciples in twelves baskets. So here come 12 baskets, one for each disciple, suddenly full of food.
At this point what are the disciples thinking? Have you ever thought about it?
Why is my basket so full, did I get most or all of the food? Do the other baskets have any to hand out? Were they comparing and judging bounty? Were they relying on faith and miracles?
Do we rely on the foundation of faith in our lives?
Do we take whatever God has given us and see scarcity instead of blessings and miracles?
Here is where my ponderings get going. Did the disciples start with little faith as they passed out the bread? I see it going something like this. The disciples pass out to the first row of men only a small piece of bread and a bite of fish. Sparse is the name of this game because seriously how is this measly basket going to feed even the next two rows let alone the masses awaiting their feast. Ha, feast, this won’t even dull the hunger pangs.
John 6:35 says, “And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
Do we believe this? Does our life reflect our belief or our lack of faith? Did the disciples demonstrate this at the beginning of feeding the five thousand…I don’t think so.
The passage plays out in my mind like this… the five thousand men were instructed to and sitting in groups of fifty or one hundred. As the disciples made their way to the next group I think their faith picked up. I think disbelief at how the bread and fish continued to pour out among their feast guests settled in as they continued from group to group.
Wouldn’t you be amazed?
If there are fifty to one hundred people per group of five thousand total there are roughly fifty to seventy-five groups. The disciples possibly only have 4-7 groups of their own to feed. Not too many groups but they are full of people and only one basket.
How many communion trays go around our congregation of significantly less people?
In my mind, I can visualize the disciples growing in their faith as they witness and participate in this miracle! How miraculous is our providing God! I think by the end they are bewildered and awe struck by the Son of God they follow and learn from. Were they thinking now about how boundless our Sovereign Lord and Savior is?
Do we not do this in our own lives? Do we not begin a task, journey, or trial and think, “How Lord?”
Do we not enjoy hindsight and say, “What a mighty and awesome God we serve, here is my testimony on what He has done or is doing in my life?”
I think this day was just like this for the disciples. Just as we walk with God, learn about Him more intimately, growing in our faith, so did the disciples.
Here is my point.
If the disciples, the very eyewitnesses to our beloved Jesus and gospel grew in their faith daily, messed up daily, can’t we? Have grace with yourselves my friends. This is a journey. Just as you grow deeper in your earthly relationships, so do you in Christ and your relationship with the Father. He loves you, cares about you. Knows your needs just as in this passage and will care for you.
Again, I repeat, does our God-breathed scripture not read, John 6:35 “And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
As you get to know Him more intimately, your faith will grow too. Allow Him to come into your life and work miracles. Unload your burdens on Him for His yoke is light.
1 Peter 5:6-7, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
He cares for you.
My coffee needs a refill, until next time.