Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.” The disciples replied, “Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?” Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?” They replied, “Seven loaves, and a few small fish.” So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces. He gave them to the disciples, who distributed the food to the crowd. They all ate as much as they wanted. Afterward, the disciples picked up seven large baskets of leftover food. There were 4,000 men who were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children. Matthew 15:32-38
“Watch out!” Jesus warned them. “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” At this they began to argue with each other because they hadn’t brought any bread. Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, “You have so little faith! Why are you arguing with each other about having no bread? Don’t you understand even yet? Don’t you remember the 5,000 I fed with five loaves, and the baskets of leftovers you picked up? Or the 4,000 I fed with seven loaves, and the large baskets of leftovers you picked up? Why can’t you understand that I’m not talking about bread? So again I say, ‘Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’” Then at last they understood that he wasn’t speaking about the yeast in bread, but about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Matthew 16:6-12
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval" .... The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world" .... Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:26-27, 33, 35
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2
As we conclude the week, let's go over what it means to "get it" in regard to the story of the feeding of the 5,000. In the story itself we see how difficult it was for the disciples to "get it." And then even after the experiences of the disciples in Matthew 9 & 14, their lack of comprehension continues as shown in the Matthew 15 & 16 passages above. With everything that happened it is hard for us to imagine that the disciples continuted not to "get it." When we add what Jesus says in John passage above to what he has already said in the Matthew passages above, we become aware of how pervasive (disciples and crowds) the lack of comprehension was and how difficult it must have been for Jesus to be surrounded by it day in and day out.
In the teaching of this week's Devotionals we have explored what it means for us as followers of Christ today to "get it" in regard to the story of the feeding of the 5,000. Here is a composite statement of understandings those who "get it" need to have: We need to face the circumstances of our lives with a divine expectation (hope) that lifts us beyond the limited possibilities of our own minds and resources. More specifically, we need to have the "Hope" that Jesus will always make a difference and fill all our moments and circumstances with his goodness. Christ is it - he is our life. Our lives must be his doing and his alone. This is the orientation of a follower of Christ who "gets it."
When we think of our need to "get it" in these terms we can be a little more sympathetic with the disciples. Becoming ones who "get it" and continue to "get it" is the daily challenge all followers of Christ face. The Romans passage above can help us with this immensely. Notice these two things: "present your bodies" and "renewing of your mind." "Present" has the idea of giving ourselves to Christ in an act of surrender (sacrifice) and "renewing of your mind" has the idea of keeping up to date in our surrender (staying on the alter) to Christ.
Lord, help me present myself to you in total surrender so that I really do "get it." Lord, help me to be one who continues to "get it" by keep up to date in my surrender through the renewal of my mind. Lord, you said, "The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world" and you also said “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." I come to you Lord for all that you are and all the difference you will make in my life.
Posted on Sat, April 18, 2015
by Alan Porter