Chip Stapleton Highland Presbyterian Church March 24th, 2020 Hunkered Down Devotions
Mark 8:1-10 The Voice (VOICE)
Once again a huge crowd had followed them, and they had nothing to eat. So Jesus called His disciples together.
Jesus: 2 These people have been with Me for three days without food. They’re hungry, and I am concerned for them. 3 If I try to send them home now, they’ll faint along the way because many of them have come a long, long way to hear and see Me.
Disciples: 4 Where can we find enough bread for these people in this desolate place?
Jesus: 5 How much bread do we have left?
Disciples: Seven rounds of flatbread.
6 So, as before, He commanded the people to sit down; and He took the rounds of flatbread, gave thanks for them, and broke them. His disciples took what He gave them and fed the people. 7 They also had a few small fish, which, after He had spoken a blessing, He likewise gave His followers to pass to the people. 8 When all had eaten their fill and they had gathered up the food that remained, seven baskets were full.
9 On this occasion, there were about 4,000 people who had eaten the food that Jesus provided. Jesus sent the crowd home; 10 then, immediately, He got into a boat with His disciples and sailed away.
Does the passage above sound familiar to you? But maybe the details aren’t quite what you remember them to be? If you have been following along with the Daily Lectionary, then just a few days ago, when we read Mark 6, you know that this is the second miraculous feeding story in just the span of a few chapters – and a relatively short period of time as well.
Sometimes we come across a section of scripture and we wonder, ‘Why is this in the Bible?’ It might be tempting to include this second feeding story in that list. After all, we know that not all of Jesus’ miracles are captured in the gospels and this story is, statistically at least, less impressive than the first feeding story (5,000 fed vs. 4,000 fed). But I think that would be missing the point.
For me, and I think for all of us, the power in this story is that it isn’t unique. Jesus had already shown his followers – and all of us – that he had the power to miraculously multiply a little bit of food to feed thousands of hungry followers. As I said, the first story was more spectacular, so in one way this story doesn’t ‘add’ anything to Jesus’ reputation or our understanding of his powers.
So, why is this story included in the Gospel of Mark? Why is there this repetition of miraculous feeding stories? It is because these stories – and Jesus’ miracles – aren’t about wowing the adoring crowd that followed him (or wowing us). Jesus’ miracle weren’t about proving his power. Jesus’ miracles weren’t about showing off.
Instead Jesus’ miracles were about doing whatever was necessary, in that time and in that place, to meet the needs of the people that were in front of him. Jesus wasn’t worried that this miracle wouldn’t be as ‘big’ as the last one, because that isn’t what it’s about.
Jesus miraculously provided for those that had been following him, because that was what was required to give them what they needed. It is as simple as that. Jesus does what is required to care for us. And, for me, that makes this ‘lesser’ miracle story one of the most comforting of all.
Sharing God’s Love,
Prayer: Jesus, you are the great provider. You care for us and look after us in every situation. You are not interested in showing off, but rather your only concern is for you’re your children, whom you love. Help us to respond to your love and care by using what we have – and allowing you to multiply what we offer – to help those in need around us. Amen.