Today’s account, apart from the resurrection of Jesus, is the only miracle recorded in all four gospels (Matthew 14:13-21, Luke 9:12-17, John 6:5-13). So put yourself in the place of one of the disciples as you read today. Keep in mind you have just been away serving for Christ and have just returned to your Teacher.
Remember, our last passage described in detail the death of Jesus’ cousin and the events that surrounded it. In addition, Matthew’s account leads us to believe that Jesus had just found out about the beheading of His cousin before the disciples returned. Take a moment and consider the demeanor of Jesus as you and the disciples approach Him.
As you gather around Jesus you and the other disciples can not keep from sharing all the stories and events that have taken place since you left in twos to preach repentance, drive out demons, anoint the sick with oil and heal (6:12-13). Not one of you asks Jesus how he has been or listens to what He has been doing while they were away. The crowd that has gathered doesn’t either. You, the disciples, and the crowd are all consumed with what you have done and what you need from Jesus, that everyone misses the opportunity to minister to the One you are following as He mourns over the loss of His loved one. Jesus did not make a big deal about not having everyone engage with His own sorrow, but instead invites you and the rest of the disciples to come away and rest.
Then, traveling by boat again, you get in with Jesus and head to a remote place. However, everyone sees you and runs ahead on foot to beat you to the other side. Can’t you just see Jesus telling the disciples to row a little slower? Take your time. Even causing the wind to stand still so that it can’t catch the sail. Jesus knew the you and the disciples needed to debrief from their ministry time they had as well as mourn the loss of His cousin.
What would you have shared on that boat trip with the Teacher?
As Jesus steps ashore, His compassion extends out to the crowds as He looks upon them as sheep without a shepherd. He teaches them and as evening approaches, you and the disciples are eager to get some more alone time with Jesus. One of the disciples suggest, or was it more of a command, Jesus send the crowds away so they can get something to eat. Instead, Jesus tells you to give them something to eat. What? You are just ready for them to go home so that you can get back in the boat and enjoy some more one on one time. You try to reason with Jesus and tell Him of the financial cost it is going to be in order to feed that many people. Seemingly, not even hearing a word you said, Jesus asks you, “How many loaves do you have? Go look.”
A little frustrated about this command, you walk around the crowd with the other disciples asking for food and bring back to Jesus five loaves and two fish. He then tells you to seat everyone in groups and blesses the bread. He stands there and keeps breaking it and giving it to you to pass out to the crowds. Jesus does the same with the fish. Then the bible states:
“Everyone ate and was filled” (Mark 6:42)
The disciples gather the leftovers and discover 12 baskets full of pieces of bread and fish. This will be significant in tomorrow’s passage. But for today, I need to reflect on how this passage looks in my own life.
A lot of times I am more like the disciples watching and waiting for the service to be over so that I can go home and be with Jesus alone and get my own things done. I do not look with compassion on those around me or think God will renew my strength through the eating of the bread and fish He provides.
By telling the disciples to give the crowd something to eat, He forces the disciples to engage with the crowd instead of just standing and being a bystander. Jesus asks me to do the same thing when I’m ready to go and I often choose to ignore it or push it off on someone else.
Forgive me Lord. Thank you Father for being the Bread of Life that fills. Give me this day my daily bread and may I be filled like never before. Thank you Father for your compassion on this sheep who often wanders around like she doesn’t have a Shepherd. Thank you for feeding me and know when I need to rest.