At the outset of the Gospel reading, we discover that John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, had been brutally, viciously murdered by King Herod; the disciples had just returned from their most recent missionary journey; and the crowd so pressed on Jesus and His disciples (Mark 6) that He called His disciples to “withdraw privately to a solitary place.” Jesus knew the power and importance of prayer and He wanted to commune with His Heavenly Father. He needed to be refreshed, fortified and strengthened for the ministry challenges He would be facing. And He wanted time, alone, with His disciples in order to prepare them for the gospel ministry they would be undertaking in His name and by His power.
It wasn’t long afterward, though, that the people discovered where Jesus was and a few at a time, then by the dozens and hundreds and, finally, by the thousands they came to Jesus. When He looked at the crowds, He had compassion on them. Jesus shared the Father’s love; preached to them about the Kingdom of God; and healed their sick.
The hours sped by and the evening approached. His disciples asked Him to send the crowds away so the people could find food for themselves in the neighboring towns and villages. Instead, Jesus told the disciples to feed the people. They protested – “We don’t have anything to feed them and wouldn’t be able to find anything because we are in a remote place! We don’t have the money to buy enough for everyone to have even a bite of food!” They told Him what they didn’t have; He asked them what they did have.
They found and brought to Him a boy with his small lunch – five pieces of bread and two little fish. Jesus took the meager offering, lifted it to heaven, prayed with thanks and distributed it to the twelve disciples telling them, in turn, to distribute it to the people. They did so, and when everyone had eaten (5,000 men – not including women and children), the same disciples picked up twelve baskets full of “leftovers!” (Some scholars think that 15,000 or more may have been fed – enough people to fill eitherWichita’s downtown Intrust Bank Arena or all the venues in the Century II building!)
This fabulous miracle of Jesus showed His compassion, power, and ability to completely supply the needs of the people. It also showed Him to be the Bread of Life!
In our world today, we face nearly overwhelming human need and, like the disciples, we have a tendency to tell God what we can’t do rather than believing what He can do through us! He calls us to bring to Him what we do have – our time, talents and treasure. When we place them in His hands, He is able to miraculously multiply them in order to accomplish His purpose and will through us. We are Blessed to be a Blessing! That’s why (and how) we are joyfully involved in serving Jesus through serving those around us. LoveWichita, the Lord’s Diner, Thrivent Builds, assisting those who have recently suffered through fires, floods, tornados and other natural disasters are all ways in which we can be the instruments of our Lord’s compassion.
God does miraculous things through those who faithfully obey Christ’s command, accept His call to serve and place themselves and their offerings in His almighty hands!
See you in church this next weekend!
Blessings in Christ,