(Note: Pastor Ben’s sermon series that runs all the way through Easter. It takes us on a 60 Day Journey with Jesus as he appeared in the letters of the New Testament. Through seeing Jesus in the letters of the New Testament we are learning how the way of Jesus was lived out in the early church which in turn will help us better live out the way of Jesus as his people today.
This week’s Devotionals are borrowed from a series from a few years ago where the life of Christ was explored through the Gospel of Mark. Our Devotional set for the week corresponds well with Pastor Ben’s emphasis from 1 & 2 Thessalonians. It should serve us well to see how the way of Jesus as he made it known when he was here manifests itself in the two letters to the Thessalonians.)
In those days, when there was again a large crowd and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples and said to them, “I feel compassion for the people because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come from a great distance.” And His disciples answered Him, “Where will anyone be able to find enough bread here in this desolate place to satisfy these people?” And He was asking them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven.” And He directed the people to sit down on the ground; and taking the seven loaves, He gave thanks and broke them, and started giving them to His disciples to serve to them, and they served them to the people. They also had a few small fish; and after He had blessed them, He ordered these to be served as well. And they ate and were satisfied; and they picked up seven large baskets full of what was left over of the broken pieces. About four thousand were there; and He sent them away. And immediately He entered the boat with His disciples and came to the district of Dalmanutha. Mark 8:1-10
Today’s thoughts from today’s verses:
We have been looking at the Life of Christ as presented in the Gospel of Mark for some time now. So far, one of the most recurring features of the ministry of Christ is the gathering of large crowds. This happens again and again over the lengthy period of time he spends ministering in the region of Galilee. Today’s passage begins with the words, “In those days” and it is to this period of time in Galilee that this is referring. It won’t be long, however, that they will leave the region of Galilee for Judea and on to Jerusalem (of course, it is here that everything will eventually culminate). Outside the region of Galilee supportive crowds will become less and less a part of the response to Christ and his ministry.
This is the second time a large crowd has followed and gathered around Jesus in a desolate area for a long enough time that supplies have virtually run out with no conventional way to replenish them. It occasions the second miraculous feeding of a very large and hungry crowd. The first time it was 5,000 and this time it is 4,000. We are told again that Jesus feels compassion for these people and their hunger. This is an important dynamic, but as in everything Jesus did, there are many other levels of things happening. One of the dynamics involved in this miracle is Jesus giving the crowds and his disciples a further opportunity to comprehend who he is and what he is all about.
Disciple making was a significant part of the earthly ministry of Jesus. Jesus longed for his disciples to be further along in their comprehension, but unfortunately the disciples moved along rather slowly in this regard. You can almost feel Jesus pulling for his disciples to have a breakthrough as the miracle unfolds with them so intimately involved with each part of it. Read through the passage again and with each part of the disciples involvement in the miracle, think about Jesus’ expectations for them. Jesus has great expectations for us as well. Comprehending Jesus fully is an essential part of following him and becoming an all-out disciple who lives fully for him. Comprehending Jesus is our emphasis this week as we move through the eighth chapter of the Gospel of Mark.
Today’s prayer response from today’s thoughts:
Lord, help me to hunger for you. I want to enter into a full awareness of who you are as I seek to be before you and experience your presence. I am so thankful that you called me to follow you and for how I am growing as your disciple. I know it has been slow going sometimes. Thank you for your patience and persistence with me. I am comprehending more and more. I am your creature and you are my Creator. You made me for your pleasure and glory. Here I am ready to enter into all that you are so that from my life comes all that you desire. Amen!