Each of the four Evangelists records the events in today’s Gospel reading. Be sure to take time to read these accounts in Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9 and John 6!
At the outset of Mark 6, we read that Jesus had given His disciples power and authority and sent them out to the surrounding towns and villages in order to preach repentance, anoint and heal the sick, and cast out demons. Now the disciples returned from their missionary journey and the people followed them back to Jesus. The crowd so pressed on Jesus and His disciples that He called the disciples to “withdraw privately to a solitary place.” (Mark 6: 31) 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.
The people saw Jesus and His disciples depart and watched where they were going. A few at a time, then by the dozens and hundreds and, finally, by the thousands they came to Jesus. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them… He was “touched to the core” because “they were like sheep without a shepherd.” (Mark 6: 34) Jesus shared the Father’s love; preached to them about the Kingdom of God; and healed their sick.
The hours sped by and evening approached. His disciples urged 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, but 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, but Jesus asked them what they did have.
They found and brought to Him five pieces of bread and two fish. Jesus took the meager offering, lifted it to heaven, prayed with thanks and gave it back 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 either Wichita’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. Most importantly, it showed Him to be the true Bread of Life sent by our Heavenly Father!
In our world today, we face nearly overwhelming human need and, like Jesus’ disciples, we have a tendency to tell God what we can’t do rather than believing what He can do through us! We must guard against our own sin – the sin of unbelief (that God cannot provide for our needs and the needs of others); the sin of greed (not helping those in need with the resources that God has already given to us); the sin of “uncompassionate hearts” (not caring about the human need we see all around us). Jesus, our Bread of Life, forgives our sin and calls us to bring to Him what He has given to us – 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!
God does miraculous things through us when we faithfully obey Christ’s command, accept His call to serve, and place ourselves and our offerings in His almighty hands!
See you in church!
Blessings in Christ,