MARK 6 : 30 - 56
New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”
37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”
They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages[e]! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”
38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”
When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”
39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all.
42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.
Jesus Walks on the Water
45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
47 Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified.
Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.
53 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there.54 As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. 55 They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.
“And they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.”
It had been a long day for Jesus and His disciples. The apostles had just come back from their first mission trip, excited to tell Jesus all about the wonderful things they’d seen and done - but 5000 unexpected guests showed up for dinner! Jesus, ever the gracious host, miraculously provided dinner - so much provision that there were 12 baskets of leftovers! The disciples, already tired from the long day, were then ordered into a boat by Jesus to head out to Bethsaida ahead of Him, while He went up the mountain to pray. And finally, as if things couldn’t get worse, a storm came up without warning in the midst of a calm sea, and Mark says it wasn’t until the “fourth watch” that Jesus appeared on the scene. The last watch of the night; the darkest part of the night, just before dawn. They were worn out, tired, scared, - probably a bit confused about what had happened that day - and suddenly, Jesus showed up, entered the boat, and calmed the sea.
And Mark says, “they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered”. And then: “For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.”
This simple verdict in the midst of miracles: “for their heart was hardened”; it’s a show-stopper.
How many times have we not ‘considered’ the miracles in our own lives? How often is our own heart hardened to what God is doing because we haven’t considered all that He’s already done?
To consider means to “to think carefully about something; to ponder or reflect on”. It’s what we’re doing now; considering or reflecting on the meaning of this verse. Which is what we are being called to do, every day, about what God is doing all around us, in our lives and in the lives of others. Because when we don’t consider the miracles that surround us every day, our hearts become hardened to God around us, to God in us. Our faith stumbles because we haven’t reflected on the miracles of provision that God supplies endlessly to meet our needs; to the miracle of the loaves, of stilling the storm, of calming the sea.
Each day, we must ‘consider the miracle of the loaves’, the daily provision of Papa. Our call is to reflect on the good things God provides, to ponder His goodness, and give thanks for each and every provision He makes. If we consider God’s amazing provision each day, we won’t be “sore amazed” when Jesus comes out to meet us on the water. In the storms that inevitably come our way, we’ll be sure He is coming. We’ll be looking out over the water, watching for Him. We’ll be expecting Him, and in that holy expectation, our hearts, not hardened but soft with anticipation, will leap with joy when we catch sight of Him.
Consider what God is doing for you today. Ponder the miracles.
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