Good morning everyone. Today’s Devotion is written by Ricky Michalski. He has given us a great preparatory look at our Bible text that we will use this Sunday at The Way at 3:16pm. I hope you can be there to worship with us and dig into the Word. He has some great thoughts…enjoy!
30 The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns, and got there ahead of them. 34 As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a lonely place, and the hour is now late; 36 send them away, to go into the country and villages round about and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?” 38 And he said to them, “How many loaves have you? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down by companies upon the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.
The feeding of the five thousand is, like the whole book of Mark, about the further and gradual revelation of who Jesus is. The people of his day have no true king, no true prophet to follow since John died, and everyone has their own idea of what the Kingdom of Heaven looks like, their own idea of how and why to live according to God's will. When Jesus sees this desperation, and the fact that they are now looking to him for some kind of direction, He has deep compassion on them, and out of this compassion He dramatically alters the course of His disciples' day, as well as the crowd that followed.
When we read this account today, we ask a lot of why's. Why did Jesus do it just like that, asking for food before supplying it? Why did he need to start with five loaves and two fish at all? What was he really trying to teach his disciples, and if such generous provision is no problem to him, why does he let us struggle with so much material deprivation? It's important to recognize the symbolic significance of the story. Looking back through the cross and resurrection, we can't help but see a foreshadowing of the Lord's Supper. He takes the loaves and blesses and breaks them, distributing life that multiplies among all who look to Him for deliverance.
It's meaningful that Jesus, the one who Mark is putting forward as the true anointed Israelite, is one who rules not by force, like Herod or the Roman kings, but by an overflow of love -- or, as the author of Hebrews puts it, not by an external appearance of power but "by the power of an indestructible life" (Hebrews 7:16). True love and true power go together; they're inseparable, being central characteristics of the one who is the source of all good things. The world often sees love and its expressions, the decisions it guides, as signs of weakness. Those who follow the way of the crucified King know that what often appears as weakness is actually a far greater strength than what the world can imagine. The multiplication of food is just a small indication of something far greater to come. Jesus came not just to fix particular little problems the world faces, but to remake the whole world in his image.