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February 28th: Give “It” to God

Today we have another wonderful devotional from Ann Schwarm. I would love to show you another picture from the Holy Land but a church is likely parked on top of it and I didn't get a good picture.




Scripture:  Mark 6:30-56


Give “It” to God

Today’s scripture reading has three well-known stories—Jesus Feeds 5,000, Jesus Walks on Water & Jesus Heals All Who Touch Him.  For this devotional, let’s take a look at the first one, Jesus Feeds 5,000.


The story of Jesus feeding the multitudes is a familiar one.  It appears in all four gospels (Mattthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-39; Luke 9:10-17 & John 6:1-15).  That alone emphasizes the importance of the event.  Only the feeding of the masses and the resurrection are included by all four gospel writers. 

It starts with Jesus and his disciples simply wanting to catch their breaths, rest for a bit.  Jesus had just learned of the death of his friend, John the Baptist (vs. 27) and the apostles had just returned from an early missionary journey reporting back to Jesus what they had taught and what they had done (vs. 30).  They sought “a quite place” to get some rest (vs.31).


However, the day did not unfold as had first been hoped.  By this time in Jesus ministry, he had become well-known as “many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot…and got there ahead of them.” (vs. 33).  Jesus was no doubt exhausted and most probably sad at the tragic death of his friend.  The disciples, new to traveling about to share the good news, were road weary, as well.  But, Jesus’ reaction was not that of annoyance but instead of compassion.  He recognized that these were people who “were like sheep without a shepherd,” so he settled in and “began teaching them many things” (vs 32.).


As day turned to evening, stomachs must have started to rumble.  Jesus knew that he was going to use this opportunity to further build the disciples’ faith, preparing them to carry on after his death and resurrection.  He sent them in search of food.  “How much food do you have?...Go and find out.” (vs. 38).  In this same story as told by John we get an interesting detail.  In verse 6:8-9a., John writes “Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up.  ‘There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish.’”


Pondering this scene, I wonder…how old is the boy?  One commentator called him “a lad.”  So, late elementary or junior high by our standards.  Whose dinner was he offering?  That which was brought along by his mom for herself and her children?  Not dad’s, for sure.  Custom was such that in this setting the men would sit together segregated from the women and children.  That is why the feeding of the 5,000 was probably more like the feeding of the 15,000-20,000 since women and children were not part of the count.  Did the lad just hop up and run to meet Andrew sensing the need?  Did his mom send him?  If she didn’t, what did she think of his spontaneous offer of their pitiful small dinner. After all, they were common people as denoted by the type of bread, barley buns.      


In this story, I consider this young boy to be a hero.  Whether he made the offer on his own or at the request of his mother, he offered what he had, not knowing what would happen next.  We know what happened, though.  The miracle!  The Lord took what the boy offered, blessed it, gave thanks and distributed it to the people who ate until they were full leaving 12 baskets of bread and fish leftover.   


Whenever I wonder whether what I have to offer is good enough or even enough, I hope I remember the boy with the five barley loaves and two fish.  He offered what he had, not counting the cost nor worrying about the results.  God is in control.  Give “it” to Him and watch for a miracle.


Questions:

1.      When has your day been interrupted like the day was for Jesus and his disciples in this passage?  How did you react? 

2.      What do you think you would have thought or done had you been one of the disciples when Jesus told you to go find out how much food there was available?

3.     What do you have to offer to ________ (fill in the blank) that you deem “not enough”?  How does this scripture change the way you see that opportunity?


Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for challenging us, blessing us and fulfilling all of our needs.  Help us to see opportunities to use our time, talents and treasures to serve you.  Let us be like the young boy who stepped up and gave willingly.  In your name we pray, Amen.


Fun Facts:

In researching to write this devotional, I learned some interesting, trivia worthy, information.

1.      Why 12 baskets?  Commentators agree that the number 12 represents the 12 tribes of Israel and also stand for the 12 disciples.

2.     Feeding of 5,000 or is it 4,000?  It is both. 

3.     The feeding of the 5,000 took place near Bethsaida, close to the Sea of Galilee where a Jewish crowd was served from five loaves and two fish with 12 baskets leftover. 

4.     The feeding of the 4,000 took place in the region of the Gerasenes, in the region around the Decapolis, serving Gentiles in this setting with seven loaves and a few little fish, with 7 large baskets leftover.

5.     Feeding of the 5,000, as noted above, is in all four gospels.

6.     Feeding of the 4,000 is only in Matthew and Mark. 

 

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