For three days a crowd of 4000 listened attentively to what Jesus was saying.
Naturally, even though the words they heard were heavenly, they physically
became quite hungry.
Jesus was concerned about them, and He addressed his disciples concerning the food. Their answer was far from being uplifting: "What do you expect us to do about it? Buy food out here in the desert?" (Mark 8:4, MSG) Their faith was lacking. They had no idea how to feed so many people, especially being so far away from civilization. It was impossible.
Since when is Jesus unreasonable? And He didn't give up. He never does! He asked them: "'How much bread do you have?' 'Seven loaves,' they said." (Mark 8:5, MSG) They also had a few fish, but still it was way too little to feed such a huge crowd. Yet Jesus gave thanks, took the seven small breads and broke them into pieces.
Interestingly enough, Jesus is not the one who distributed the food. The actual miracle happened while the disciples were handing it out. Their baskets never became empty! Seven loaves and a few fish were more than enough to feed a crowd of 4000! Impossible, but true! The disciples experienced our Heavenly Father big time, for, "The crowd ate its fill. Seven sacks of leftovers were collected." (Mark 8:8, MSG)
The disciples should by now have been confident that their Heavenly Father was able to provide for them. They were barely in the boat, however, when they began to quarrel about who was responsible for forgetting the leftover bread. They had not yet learned anything about the multiplication of food, and Jesus had to remind them about the miracle they had just experienced. He concluded: "Do you still not get it?" (Mark 8:21b, MSG)
When they arrived at Bethsaida, Jesus healed the blindness of someone in need. The disciples had seen with their very own eyes that God could provide for all needs: food, healing, shelter and love. Nonetheless, six days later, the disciples had a lapse of memory. A man addressing Jesus said: "Teacher, I brought my mute son, made speechless by a demon, to you. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and goes stiff as a board. I told your disciples, hoping they could deliver him, but they couldn't." (Mark 9:17b-18, MSG)
How come we forget the essentials so easily?
The first century Christian church was alive and well, broadcasting the Good News that all needs can be provided: healing, forgiveness and food. They had no doubt about this, and if we have any doubt about how they believed, all we need to do is consult the book of Acts!
As centuries flew by, all that Christians had learned in that first century seemed to evaporate. Healings became a sporadic experience, with the focus being only on salvation. They seemed to forget that salvation and healing go hand in hand: "Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness." (Matt 9:35, NIV2)
Some may say: "Naturally this is Jesus that we are talking about. But we are not Jesus. Only Jesus can heal!"
Again we forgot what the Bible says: "Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven." (Jas 5:14-15, NIV2)
Even Jesus confirms this: "Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." (John 14:12, NIV2)
Through Jesus, in faith, healing will occur. No doubt about it! There is nothing that can stop us when we depend on our Heavenly Father. May we never forget this ever again!
A colleague of mine was in deep trouble. She was filled with anxiety because an upset mother had written her a nasty email, demanding to meet with her that same day after school. This particular parent was quite renowned of being difficult, and I told my colleague that I would pray for her. "Please do so," she told me, even though she wasn't a Christian.
I prayed on and off until the meeting was over, and during that time, peace from heaven filled my heart.
The next day, a very astonished colleague came to me. Everything had gone perfectly well. Despite how nasty the tone of the email had been, during the meeting, she had not been criticized at all.
"Prayer works," I told her. She couldn't disagree with that! That day she received a glimpse of how much our Heavenly Father cares for her.
Truly, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matt 19:26, NIV2)
Do we believe this?
And to think that this devotional started with only seven loaves of bread and some fish...
The Illustrator: This daily newsletter is dedicated to encouraging everyone to look towards Jesus as the source of all the solutions to our problems. It contains a daily inspirational story, a Bible verse and encouraging messages. HTML and plain text versions available.
The Nugget: Published three times a week, this newsletter features inspirational devotionals and mini-sermons dedicated to drawing mankind closer to each other and to Christ.