2/20/17: See as Jesus Sees
The Bible records the story of a time when over 5,000 people were fed by Jesus with a meal that only started out with five loaves of bread and two fish. Now these “loaves” probably weren’t even loaves of bread as we would think of the sliced kind that we pick up in a supermarket. The loaves that day were probably more like dinner rolls about the size of a regular hamburger bun. To even break something that size into four, starting with five, you’d still only end up giving 20 people a piece large enough for a couple of bites. And dividing two fish (we may be talking anchovy-size here) would fill even fewer stomachs.
So as notable as this miracle was, a crucial subplot was working in the background. You see, this miracle occurred at the end of a missionary trip from which the disciples had just returned. After hearing the disciples’ exciting report about how they had preached, healed the sick, and cast out demons, Jesus must have seen that they needed to rest and possibly continue to debrief. However, as they tried to retire to a deserted place for this much-needed retreat, the multitudes discovered their whereabouts. Like persistent paparazzi, the crowd caught up to them desirous of Jesus’ attention.
Despite Jesus’ original plan for the disciples’ rest time, He saw that the people were like sheep without a shepherd and He had compassion on them. However, looking at the same crowd, the disciples saw something quite different. They saw an intrusion upon their time, and invasion of their privacy, and an imposition on their resources. As the day got later and later, they finally told Jesus, “This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late. Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat.” Mark 6:35b-36a (NKJ).
Jesus countered, “You give them something to eat.” Mark 6:37a (NKJ).
The disciple’s comeback showed that there was something they completely missed. “And they said to Him, ‘Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?’” (vs. 37b). Hungry people deserve compassion (what Jesus showed them), not a long walk to town (what the disciples had previously suggested). These were the same disciples who had just returned from
their ministry trip preaching, healing, and casting out demons. Was healing and demon-casting less difficult than the common, everyday event of feeding people?
People’s needs come in all shapes and sizes. Are we seeing the needs Jesus sees, or are we missing the chance to show our Lord’s compassion because we’re busy looking to do something we deem to be greater and more spectacular?
©2017 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.
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