By Kelly Shaw
Reading through the gospel of Mark, we read the account of the feeding of the 5,000. (Mark 6:30-44) Jesus had been teaching the multitude of people before Him for many hours.
As the day was far spent, the disciples urged Jesus to send them away to find food. But He told the disciples to look at what they had already been given and give it to Him. Then, miraculously, the five loaves and two fish fed more than 5,000 people.
Though the disciples have witnessed this intense miracle of seeing a very small amount of food feed a mass of people, they didn’t understand the spiritual principles behind it – all that we need is found in Christ!
We find it easy to give our mental ascent to this idea that Christ is all that we need. But we often live our lives in a very different way. Like us, the disciples left the twelve baskets of leftovers unchanged.
Right after the feeding of the 5,000, Mark records the account of Jesus walking on the water to the disciples out in the boat. As the wind ceased and the waves are stilled, the disciples are awestruck. Then Mark writes,
“For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.” Mark 6:52
The disciples weren’t able to understand the spiritual implications of what they had seen. They had become spiritually callous. Their hearts were not changed by what they had experienced.
The disciples had let unbelief slowly filter into their faith. They had let Jesus’ miraculous provision become just another event in their lives, rather than recognizing that the Lord of heaven and earth had done a creative miracle.
When we think of the disciples, we don’t often think of them with hard hearts like Pharaoh, spiritually dull and blind. Yet, they had let a little unbelief spoil their faith.
Sometimes it is hard to believe that God can do what we need, but we can’t give in to our unbelief. In Mark 8:13, Jesus took the disciples aside and told them not to be like the Pharisees because of their unbelief.
The Pharisees had wanted a sign and just before this Jesus had fed the 5,000 and the 4,000 with just a few loaves and fish. What more of a sign did they need!
We can read this story or even have a story of our own where Christ has provided in ways we could never have done. But alas, the very next activity we try again to do in our own strength.
We fail to grasp the all-sufficiency of Jesus!
How often do we read of the miracles, healings, signs and wonders that Jesus performed throughout the gospels – but they remain just words on a page.
We have to go beyond knowledge and have these words becomes a reservoir of faith for us to draw upon to see God working in our lives. Our perspective has to change! We need to understand,
“For without Me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Today we see many problems that need solutions. Most often we are taught the answers to our problems lie within us and our ability to bring about a change.
The problem with making ourselves the problem-solvers is that our knowledge, resources, and power are all limited. What do we do with a lost and dying world? What do we do with financial limitations? When we get to the end of what we can do, where do we go?
We work in the realm of the finite – a finite amount of time to fix the problem, a finite amount of resources to solve the problem and a finite amount of knowledge to find the solution. But God makes the impossible possible.
“With men it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”(Matthew 19:26) What we need is to live in the realm of the infinite! This is possible as we lean on God in faith.
God is pleased with us as we depend on Him to bring forth the solutions we need. (Hebrews 11:6) But we don’t just sit and do nothing. We need to do the things that He shows us and cooperate with Him.
We have the choice to see God at work and respond in faith. Moreover, for the problems we face, Jesus is only waiting for the invitation to come and bring hope where it all seems impossible. Believe Him for the impossible today!