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As the new business of the section begins, Jesus is surrounded by the crowds that follow him from place to place. The day has grown late and the thousands have not eaten. Concerned, Jesus disciples come to Him: Send them away so they can go to buy food, they say.
Jesus refuses: You feed them! he commands.
Do you still not understand?|
Each of these stories address faith. The sections secret is found in the message of the loaves a message each believer must internalize if he or she is to walk with the Lord. The crowds have come to hear, and they are filled. The amazing thing about these dinners is not just the number fed, but the quantity of what was left. Marks point for us: the blessings of Jesus are not just sufficient, they are abundant, and that abundance applies to every aspect of life in Christ.
Immediately following the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus sends his disciples back across the lake so he might go off to pray. Jesus needs to feed himself. At evening, when a storm blows up on the lake, Jesus determines to walk out across the stormy lake to his disciples. He had seen them straining at the oars. Yet, when they see him, they cry out in terror. Climbing into the boat, he stills the storm. They are amazed because they had not understood the message of the loaves (vs. 51-52).
The disciples are not the only characters in this section that fail to understand Jesus and his power. The religious leaders fail to see, too. When the Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law challenge him because his disciples are not ceremonially clean when they eat, Jesus instructs them: it is not food that will make a man unclean, it is the evil a man might store in his heart. When the Pharisees seek a sign from heaven so that they might believe, Jesus refuses. Later, he warns his own disciples to beware of the yeasty teachings of the Pharisees. Regardless of his teachings, despite his servitude and miracles, these men refuse to see. They cannot will not see his compassion, his power, his authority.
Do you still not understand? he asked. Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And dont you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?
Twelve, they replied.
And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?
They answered, Seven.
He said to them, Do you still not understand?
Only one character in the section seems to get it. A foreigner, a heathen, a woman in an out-of-the-way country tracks him down when she learns Jesus is nearby. Her daughter is ill, possessed by an evil spirit. Running to him, she falls at his feet, pleading for his help.
Jesus, however, had been sent only to the children of Israel. His message and responsibility were to them. Others would come for the Gentiles. It is not right to take the childrens bread and toss it to their dogs, he says (7:28).
What are you hungry for?|
Are you hungry?
What are you hungry for? Jesus has it in abundance, packed down and overflowing. It all belongs to those who will hear the message of the loaves.
What are you praying for? He can provide it.
What do you need? Are you in danger, being tossed around in the squall of life? Not only can he still the storm, he can walk upon it, if need be, to be near you.
Have you heard the message of the loaves?
Have you claimed it? There are plenty of crumbs for every dog.
Cant you believe it? The Greek woman could, and Jesus is calling us to do the same.
HEARTLIGHT(R) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
Copyright © 1996-97, Heartlight, Inc., 8332 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX 78759.
1998 Karen Alexander. Used by permission.
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