Daily Readings: Psalm 50; Isaiah 49:1-12; Mark 6:30-44
Mark 6:30 – The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” 32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.” When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”
39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand. (NIV)
The feeding of the multitude is one of the most well known miracle stories found in the Bible, and for good reason. The feeding of the five-thousand is the only miracle, apart from the resurrection, that is found in all four Gospels. In addition, the Gospels of Mark and Matthew also record a second miraculous feeding (Mark 8:1-9; Matthew 15:32-39). There are many lessons to be learned from the miraculous feeding, but Jesus’ response always gets my attention: “You give them something to eat.” (Matthew 14;16; Mark 6:37; Luke 9:13)
This question confronts me, and it causes me to ask myself: “Do I look to Jesus for strength, or as a crutch?” In other words, do I want Jesus to do for me, and for others, what I am capable of doing if I would only seek the strength from Jesus. Faith in Jesus should move us forward, and allow for us to tackle the difficult issues of life. Christians should never sit back and say – “I wish God would do something about …” When we talk like that, God responds, “You do something about it.”
Let’s be quick to seek strength from our relationship with Jesus, but let us also be quick to respond to the needs of others that surround us.