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Taking God Seriously

Jesus asks me to do something. It seems outrageous. It seems impossible. Are you serious, I ask? Seriously, you want me to do what, I challenge?

This is crazy. There are over 5,000 men, not counting women and children. Jesus wanted His disciples to feed them all when they had no food. They would, through the power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

When his disciples thought this had gone on long enough—it was now quite late in the day—they interrupted: “We are a long way out in the country, and it’s very late. Pronounce a benediction and send these folks off so they can get some supper.”

Jesus said, “You do it. Fix supper for them.”

They replied, “Are you serious? You want us to go spend a fortune on food for their supper?” | Mark 6:35-37

Here are the key ideas:

  1. The disciples had two suggestions for solving the problem: either send the people away to find their own food, or raise enough money to buy a bit of bread for everybody. As far as the disciples were concerned, they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and nothing could be done! With that kind of approach, they would have made ideal committee members! Someone has defined a committee as a group of people who individually can do nothing and collectively decide that nothing can be done.
  2. Jesus looked at the situation, not as a problem, but as an opportunity to trust the Father and glorify His name. An effective disciple of Jesus is someone who sees potential in problems and is willing to act by faith. Acting on the basis of human wisdom, His disciples saw the problem but not the potential. Fortunately, Jesus came to bring good news. Jesus knows that God (His Father) is in a good mood. Jesus trusted God.
  3. How many times God’s people have complained, “If we only had enough money, we could do something!” Two hundred pence (denarii) would be the equivalent of a year’s wages for the average laborer! The first step is not to measure our resources, but to determine God’s will and trust Him to meet the need.
  4. It was Andrew who found the boy with the lunch. The Master had the people sit down in organized groups on the green grass, quite a contrast to Herod’s glittering sensual feast. Jesus took the little lunch, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples to distribute to the hungry people. The miracle took place in His hands, not in theirs; for whatever we give to Him, He can bless and multiply. We are not manufacturers; we are only distributors.
  5. John tells us that Jesus used this miracle as the basis for a sermon on “the bread of life”. After all, He did not perform miracles just to meet human needs, though that was important. Jesus wanted each miracle to be a revelation of Himself, a sermon in action. For the most part, the people were amazed at the miracles, appreciated the help He gave them, but failed to get the spiritual message.
  6. They wanted the gift but not the Giver, the enjoyment of physical blessings but not the enrichment of spiritual blessings. This is sad. Am I like that?