Something really struck a chord with me today. In the business of driving from one job to the other, I spent my lunch hour at my favorite bookstore. I cozied up in a comfy chair and read through Luke 9 and the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. Let me set the scene for you:
In Luke 9:1 Jesus has just given His 12 disciples authority and power to cast out demons and cure diseases. He commissions them to preach the news of God’s kingdom and heal the sick.
The chapter continues and the disciples leave Jesus.
“Commissioned, they left. They traveled from town to town telling the latest news of God, the Message and curing people everywhere they went.” (verse 6)
In verse 10 the disciples return. They’re excited, awed, amazed and they can’t wait to tell Jesus all they had done. Jesus-excited for them and wanting to hear every detail- took them away “off by themselves, near the town called Bethsaida.” (verse 10)
Imagine here, how incredibly EXCITED the disciples were to see Jesus again and to tell Him, and each other all that they had seen and done with the authority and power Jesus had given them. They go off quietly to celebrate together and talk, when verse 11 brings a surprise.
“… the crowds got wind of it [the disciples and Jesus going quietly to Bethsaida together] and followed.”
Put yourself in the scene. As a disciple, you’re excited. Sooooooo excited to tell someone you LOVE about the amazing, incredible and inspiring things you’ve done and seen. The dead being raised, the sick being healed, the blind seeing, people hearing the message and changing their eternal futures from DEATH to LIFE!
Then, before you get the chance to speak of your excitement, you’re interrupted.
Those people be trippin’
But Jesus, “…graciously welcomed them and talked to them about the kingdom of God. Those who needed healing, he healed.” (verse11)
Thousands of desperate, lonely, searching souls had gathered to hear Jesus speak. They wanted to see Him, to hear Him, to be healed by Him. And Jesus graciously welcomed them.
The disciples had just returned from going out a trip ministering to people who were desperate, lonely and searching. Then, suddenly, thousands of people were coming to them that were desperate, lonely and searching.
Coincidence? I think not. I think Jesus wanted them to see the obvious opportunity here.
The day is drawing to an end and the Twelve say to Jesus, “Dismiss the crowd so they can go to the farms or villages around here and get a room for the night and a bite to eat. We’re out in the middle of nowhere.” (verse 12)
I can picture Jesus cocking an eyebrow here with a small smile on His face. Wondering to himself, “Where is your excitement ? Don’t you see what MORE we can do?” Then He says:
“You feed them,” Jesus said (verse 13)
In other words: You. Feed. Them. You do it.
Which also seems to imply: You can. You have the power.
The disciples leave Jesus, come back and say:
“We couldn’t scrape up more than five loaves of bread and a couple of fish- unless, of course, you want us to go to town ourselves and buy food for everybody.” (verse 13-14)
This intrigues me. Look at how the disciples reply to Jesus. Can you hear the sarcasm in their voices? Their excitement to minister has died. They looked around and found 5 loaves & 2 fish. As if to say “This is all we can do”. Theres more than 5,000 people in the crowd.
This is that “something that struck a chord with me today”.
How many of us do what God tells us to do, but it seems as though the way we’ve done it isn’t the way He intended at all? I know I’ve done it. And it’s frustrating. The disciples are exhausted and frustrated. They want time to themselves, but instead they’re told to feed thousands of people. I have no doubt that when Jesus told his disciples to feed the 5,000, He literally meant:
“Boys, you ministered to people all over the country and you were excited about all that happened. I know you’re tired, but you’re not done yet. Don’t you see this obvious opportunity to feed these hungry souls spiritually and physically? You have the power to feed these guys, are you gonna use it?”
He was talking spiritually. The disciples were thinking physically.
Then, Jesus made the spiritual physical.
Imagine Jesus pausing a moment before He continues.
“Sit them down in groups of about fifty.” (verse 14)
The disciples do what He said. Jesus then takes the 5 loaves and the 2 fish in his hands:
“[He] lifted His face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke and gave the bread and fish to the disciples to hand out to the crowd.” (verse 15)
If I were a disciple I would have faced palmed right then and there.
Ohhhh JESUS, we could have done that?
Over 5,000 mouths were fed that evening. Not only that, but the BEST part is that after everyone was fed, “twelve baskets of leftovers were gathered up.” (verse 17)
I have no doubt in my mind that a basket was given to each disciple to remind them of what had happened that day. To make the spiritual physical.
When you feel as though you know you’ve done what Jesus has asked you to do, but it doesn’t seem as though you’ve done what he wanted me to do, remember this.
As humans, we get so caught up in the physical. But there is so much MORE that Jesus wants us to see, sometimes, we need supernatural power to see the obvious.