How often do we find that we learned something new, but failed to apply it in the very next opportunity given? Many of us are slow learners in life – but we have hope. One teacher never gives up! Today’s passage opens Jesus’ disciples’ eyes even as the hungry are fed. How would you like both in Worcester?
Jesus’ disciples had returned after their highly successful short-term mission. Jesus has yet to mourn the loss of his cousin, the beheaded John. A quiet time of rest for the laboring and the grieving is planned.
Yet, there is no rest for the weary as the crowds catch sight of Jesus. The following gathers strength and Jesus is filled with compassion for them and teaches them the precious truth of God’s kingdom.
However, all good things must end for the day. The disciples intend to send the crowds away as it gets late. The desert has no McDonalds or Subway to feed thousands. As the disciples look for solutions, Jesus challenges their worldview yet again. Jesus asks them to consider the impossible – they feed the crowds!
Jesus asks them to find out what food they have. With a one-man meal, five thousand men would soon be fed. The crowds sit in groups and one meal divides into many as God miraculously supplies food in the wilderness. Not only are all satisfied, there are 12 baskets of leftovers from that single- multiplied meal.
The point of the event was not to stop the natural and to expect miracles. If so, Jesus would not have rowed in, he would not have asked to pick up the leftovers. Rather, the supernatural provision was for a specific need at a specific time for a specific people. The goal is not to make us miracle workers, but to highlight and elevate the true God of both the natural and supernatural.
No one walking away that day doubted that this provision of food was from God. The symbolic parallel was to the Israelites’ eating the heavenly manna in the desert. Some of the crowd will pick it up the next day.
The lesson: the God who provided our needs yesterday is the same God who provides our needs today and will provide tomorrow. The point is not about the need, but about the nature of our God. Jesus is no ordinary deity among the idols, but the one true God. His nature extends far beyond our imagination.
Until we get to heaven, we have a glimpse of his power and compassion from the scriptures and his work in our lives. Let’s pick up our life-books to learn. And remember!