But he answered, “You give them something to eat.” Mark 6, verse 37.
Think about those six words: you give them something to eat. They’re command, question, empowerment and charter, challenge and mystery.
As you know by now, we’re in the story of the five loaves and two fish. It’s the one in which Jesus feeds 5000 men. Did you know that it was just men who were counted? If you didn’t, that means that Jesus actually fed many, many more than just 5000. Chances are the number was between twenty and thirty thousand or more (if you include women and children). It wasn’t the disciples who did the miracle; they punted to Jesus. And Jesus didn’t punt: he picked up the ball and threw a touchdown. But enough of my football analogy.
Before Jesus went all Roger Staubach, however, He commanded, questioned, empowered, and challenged His disciples while all the while keeping up the mystery of His crazy ministry.
Time to think about it again: Jesus commanded the twelve tired men to give thirty thousand hungry, dirty, loud strangers something to eat. In a few verses, we learn that the disciples respond in logic (and a little whining) instead of in faith. But in reality they did what we would do. If my boss told me to go feed thirty thousand people, my first response to him would be an incredulous “how.” Yet Jesus commanded them to do it anyway. Do you wonder why? Maybe He was commanding them that, because they had just spent time in remote areas doing healing and miracles, they should continue to rely on their faith to feed the hungry group. He told them to have faith. How would you or I respond to that?
In the same verse, he questioned them. More to the point, he forced them to question themselves. “How are we gonna do that?” “What does He mean?” I’m sure Peter, James, and John had some go-to defensive posture just like we would have but do you think they honestly tried to noodle what Jesus was telling them to do, or did they simply see only the natural, earthly aspects of it? My money is on door number two.
Yet Jesus empowered them. When He commands, He gives us all we need to do something. He told the disciples to give the people food. He knew what they didn’t (and what we wouldn’t either): everything we need can be found in Jesus through faith. Faith can produce food. Faith can heal. Faith can help and give hope. Faith is our bridge to forever. Jesus knew this, and whether the disciples knew it or not, He was giving them all they needed to finish the job.
And finally, in those same words, Jesus challenged them. He gave them a hefty order: feed thirty thousand strangers. We soon learn that there are only five loaves of barley bread and a couple of puny fish. He was testing them but, more than that, I think He was challenging them to stretch their faith, to lean on it to produce more than just some magic trick. As we’ll see, they weren’t up to it.
But Jesus was and that’s more important. Tell me: does Jesus command, question, empower and challenge you with His mysterious ways? Do you read these words and find He’s telling you things you never thought were possible?
Lord, I’m scary amazed at how You use the supernatural in the natural world. Thank You for commanding, questioning, empowering and challenging me here today.
Read Mark 6, verses 30-44.