Jesus feeds the five thousand

This is written by Camilla Cross who has been at St Mary's for 6 years. She is wife to Tom, mother to Jago, and trying to balance motherhood, work and everything in between.

Mark  6:30-44

Jesus feeds the five thousand
30 The apostles gathered round 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 recognised 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! 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 told them to make 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.

Reflection

Can you imagine travelling with Jesus as a disciple, what an experience! Can you also imagine the exhaustion of constantly being on the go and followed by many people?! The feeding of the 5000 happened at a time when the disciples were looking for rest, they were not expecting so many followers to find them and they were not expecting a miracle.

Jesus' followers were like sheep, they follow their shepherd loyally. The followers expected to be replenished spiritually by Jesus, but did they expect a miracle?!

Our expectations and prayers are often far too small or modest and we focus on asking for the solution we can see. Similarly - the disciples were doubtful because they couldn't see a 'realistic' way to feed so many. Whereas, Jesus looked at the needs of the people and then looked at God's greatness for the solution.

My husband broke his back in a skiing accident. We prayed for a project to keep him busy for the three months he was due to take off work. Instead, the Lord healed his back miraculously. How stupid did we feel?! And how small were our expectations?!

We need to trust the Lord and expect he will provide for our every need. In John 6:35 Jesus says 'I am the bread of life', it is important to keep our focus on Jesus for every sustenance.

Are there times when you pray without expectation? Or focus too much about what is in front of us as a solution to prayer?

Do you trust Jesus to provide for you as your shepherd?

Pray

Lord, help me to be expectant for miracles beyond my imagination.
May I refrain from guessing how you might answer my prayers.
May I TRUST that you will provide for my every need, spiritually and physically.
Jesus help me to be your sheep, you are my shepherd.

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