Feeding 4000

This is written by Bethany Johnson. She has serious holiday blues following her New Zealand travels.

Mark 8:1-21

Jesus feeds the four thousand
8 During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, 2 'I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. 3 If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.'

4 His disciples answered, 'But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?'

5 'How many loaves do you have?' Jesus asked.

'Seven,' they replied.

6 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people, and they did so. 7 They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. 8 The people ate and were satisfied. Afterwards the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 9 About four thousand were present. After he had sent them away, 10 he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha.

11 The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. 12 He sighed deeply and said, 'Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.' 13 Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.

The yeast of the Pharisees and Herod
14 The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 15 'Be careful,' Jesus warned them. 'Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.'

16 They discussed this with one another and said, 'It is because we have no bread.'

17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: 'Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't you remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?'

'Twelve,' they replied.

20 'And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?'

They answered, 'Seven.'

21 He said to them, 'Do you still not understand?'

Reflection

This miracle is full of hope and reassurance. There are inevitably seemingly impossible situations in life and it can be easy to lose hope and not see a way forward. But this story reminds us that Jesus will work a miracle in these situations. All we need to do is offer up whatever we have to him and he will multiply it over and over.

4 'But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?'

Despite Jesus having already fed 5000 from 5 loaves and 2 fish, the disciples still don't get it. Jesus even calls them to him, as if he is willing them on to remember and have faith that it can be done again (1).

Once the disciples offer up the bread and fish, Jesus gives thanks and then asks them to distribute the food to the people (7). Notice that Jesus waits for the disciples to offer the bread and fish before performing the miracle, rather than just going ahead and feeding everyone.
Jesus loves to involve us.

So when you face a seemingly impossible situation, take a moment. Think about what you can offer up to God. No matter how small it may be, give thanks and then pray. Ask Jesus to take what you have and multiply it. He's probably done it before in your life, so have faith that he can do it again.

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