Read Mark 6:30-44
Today's reading is filled with valuable lessons, for the apostles, for the people who were followers and for us.
1) The apostles were around Jesus and telling Him all that THEY had accomplished and taught. There is a sense of pride in this reporting. There would also be the chance that because of these accomplishments and teachings, there would be people who would desire to be near them and with them.
Do you desire to be near those who do the works of the Christ? Do you desire sound teaching from His Word?
2) Sensing this, Jesus sets up the scene that will follow by suggesting that the group "come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest for a while." This certainly was a good idea to the apostles for they had been dealing with the public for awhile and probably needed a break. So they hop in a boat and go to a secluded place by themselves. Do those who teach and preach sometimes seek a place of escape in order to re-energize the promptings of the Holy Spirit in our lives? Many become burnt out because they can't seem to discern when the Spirit is moving them to take a break. There have been times when I have suffered from this.
3) Many folks saw them leaving for this place of escape and pursued them on foot in order to be near them. After all, the works they had performed would lead those who had interest to pursue them and to witness and learn from their teachings and accomplishments. Do we pursue the teaching of the Christ? Do we set aside time to learn from Him or from someone who rightly divides His Word?
4) So when Jesus gets there, He sees the crowd that had gathered. He feels "compassion" for this gathering. Strongs concordance tells us that "compassion" is translated from σπλαγχνίζομαι, which means to have the bowels yearn, that is, (figuratively) feel sympathy, to pity: - have (be moved with) compassion. Jesus is moved by what he observes. He describes the crowd as being "like sheep without a shepherd." He then begins to teach them. Teachers and ministers, are you moved inside to bring truth to the people? Do you have a compassion for those who struggle to get into His Word? Jesus did.
5) As it got later, the apostles ask Jesus to send the people away so that they can get something to eat. The apostles themselves were probably getting hungry and they knew that they had food enough for themselves, but not for the crowd. The apostles initial response was to send the crowd away because it would be too expensive to feed them all. They had not yet learned that in Christ, all things are possible. Jesus astonishes them with His response, "You give them something to eat." Do we get overwhelmed or intimidated by what seems to be an impossible situation? Do we, like the apostles only see things through our own eyes without ever considering to see the situation through the eyes of Christ?
6) Jesus commands the group to sit in orderly groups of 50-100. Jesus is positioning them to be fed. I wonder if this group, as they were being positioned to be fed, were expecting anything from the five loaves and two fish that the disciples had? They had already been fed spiritually, would they now be filled physically? When we walk into the church or into a study, do you position yourself with the expectation that you will hear from God? Do you position yourself with the expectation to be fed? When we pray (and this is something I really struggle with), do we have the faith to expect an answer to our prayers?
7) So Jesus blesses the food that they do have and begins to feed the crowd of 5000 men who had gathered (not counting women and children). They all ate and were satisfied. They gathered more leftovers than the amount of food that they had when they started. In all of this we see Jesus fighting against the apostles resistance. Their excuses of being too tired, the food being too expensive were but excuses. Jesus is asking us to lay aside our objections and let Him be the Shepherd of our lives. He not provides for us what we need, but He asks us to provide for others who are in need. He is asking us to have the compassion that moves us to action. He is asking us to take what may seem insignificant and turn it into something miraculous.
Heavenly Father, first of all, break down our resistance. Help us to see the needs in others through your eyes rather than our own. Give the faith we need to do Your will, and not our own. Help us to position ourselves so that these works will made manifest in our own lives. May Your blessing overflow so that there are leftovers of blessing to share with others.
In Jesus' Name we pray.