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You Give Them Something to Eat

August 26, 2012 Series: Gospel of Mark

Topic: Faith Passage: Mark 6:30–44

This is, without a doubt, one of the most popular and well known stories in the bible. If you think about it you can picture the scene in your mind: Jesus, with his perfectly combed hair sitting picnic style with 5000 people (only about 40 in view) while everyone politely eats their bread. We love this story; even non-Christians love this story. Many see it as the beginning of mercy ministry-providing for the needs of the poor. Social Justice.

As Christians we are to feed and protect the poor and the needy. But the church is not just a food bank and a place for meeting only physical needs. Care in the church can’t be disconnected from the truth of Jesus-the good news that can save a person’s soul. That’s what Jesus is after. Jesus greatest concern is the eternal care of the souls of men. This is not a mercy ministry lesson-it’s far more. This is about the word of God-Jesus, the Bread of Life, revealing who He is and showing us that all of our needs are satisfied in Him. Jesus is Lord of all!

So what do we learn about Jesus in this passage? I want to point out 3 things:

1. Jesus Had Compassion
a. Disciples need for rest (vs. 31)
i. Ministry is hard work.
1. Ministry work is people work. Engaging, listening, teaching,praying,discerning,often being opposed. Emotionally, mentally and evenphysicallydraining.
2. Important to rest; to steal away to be refreshed; to relationally reconnect.
ii. Jesus idea of rest is different than ours
1. We think of rest as an earned vacation; a clean break from the work; isolation.
2. For Jesus rest was time with him; time in preparation for morework(refreshing,enjoying the gift of sleep, reading, games, family time, etc);evenunexpected work.
b. Peoples need for a shepherd
i. Jesus didn’t expect to meet a crowd. They left to be alone.
1. But when He saw them He had compassion (vs.34)
2. They were like a sheep without a shepherd.
3. Jesus quoting Moses from Numbers 27:15-17

“Moses spoke to the LORD, saying, “Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the LORD may not be as sheep that have no shepherd.”

ii. Jesus is the answer to Moses prayer.
1. Not compassion because of hunger.
2. Not compassion because of poor pastoral leadership.
3. Compassion because they’re lost and bound for hell and eternal death.
4. And He is the answer! So he teaches them (vs. 34).

We don’t know what the disciples are doing while Jesus is teaching the 5000 but we do know what they do when it gets close to dinner time. “Jesus, we’re in the middle of nowhere and it’s getting late. I think it’s time to call it a day so these fine people can get themselves something to eat.” (vs. 35) Always thinking of others first. Actually, this is me. Can you relate to this?

Some of you know that Siobhan and I have a weekly date night, and sometimes we’ll go to the Y and enjoy the hot tub for a while. But this sometimes creates a problem. If you know my wife, you know that she’s a magnet for a conversation with a stranger. She has a compassionate heart and isn’t afraid of breaking the ice and people feel safe with her and so they talk. My expectation of “date night” is that it involves the 2 of us-that’s all (and same for her). But she’s more mature than me and she’s looking for an opportunity to introduce people to Jesus.

But over the years, to my shame, I’ve wasted many opportunities to share the gospel because of my selfishness; even anger toward her because she wasn’t focusing on me on our date night. And instead of sharing the gospel with someone I’ve ended the evening in repentance. I had categorized my life and ministry didn’t fit in on date night. I’m just like the disciples. But aren’t you glad that Jesus is patient with us. The next thing we learn about Jesus is what He expects of His disciples because He instructs them.

The disciples have returned to Jesus exhausted, they were on their way to the wilderness for some R&R, they were met by 5000 men who Jesus began teaching and now it’s getting late and no one has any food. A case could be made that the disciples were using wisdom. But as usual, Jesus sees past the physical issues and into the greater issue; and He wants His disciples to do the same.

2. Jesus Gives Instruction
a. Jesus: You give them something to eat.
i. This is a command
ii. Training disciples: Jesus chose to give His disciples a major role in His ministry
iii. Don’t send them away, you have what they need.
b. Disciples: We’ve got nothing to give (vs. 37)
i. Good! That’s what I want to hear.
1. That’s where He wants us to live-reality.
2. Say with Paul: Boast in weakness.
ii. What do you have? How many loaves? Give it to me.
1. Give Him your everything, which is really nothing.
iii. Do you feel inadequate, unprepared, ill-equipped, fearful or weak when it comestotalking about Jesus? Good. Bring it.
c. Why don’t we see more spiritual activity?
i. I think because we are too earthly minded. We either forget or we don’t reallybelievethat our God created everything.
ii. Our lives are set up so that we don’t need faith. Unless we want to be effective.
iii. When we step out in faith, in our weakness, we’re vulnerable but we’ll seeJesus move in power.
d. If not for Jesus this command would be cruel-so let’s look at the rest of the story.

3. Jesus Is Our Provision
a. Jesus took the 5 loaves and 2 fish and looked to heaven
i. Jesus continues to instruct through His example.
ii. He looked to His heavenly Father in dependence for the impossible.
iii. This is the life of the believer-Dependence on Him for the impossible.
b. He blessed and broke the loaves.
i. This is His message
ii. Jesus is the bread of life that would be broke so that we could be blessed
c. He multiplied it.
i. He took what was not enough and made it more than enough.
ii. Jesus was broken on the cross and die for the sins of the world.
iii. Rose from the dead and returned to heaven where he now reigns.
iv. And He commissioned His disciples and sent the Holy Spirit and promised never toleave them.
v. And the blessing of the Bread of Life-Jesus-continues to multiply
d. Everyone who ate was satisfied
i. And all who eat of His bread will be satisfied.
ii. We were created to worship God but through sin we became sheep without ashepherd waiting to be devoured.
iii. But someone stepped out in faith. Someone like you who can’t change the heart orcreate new life; someone who didn’t have all the answers; someone who hadsomething else to do; someone somewhere laid down their life in weakness, trustinginthe power of Jesus so that you could hear about the Bread of Life and be satisfied.

I want to tell you about the sacrifice of 2 men I recently read about. I’m taking this account from Matt Papa who recently wrote a song about these 2 men:

It was the early 1700’s in Germany when John Leonard Dober and David Nitschman first heard about the island. They were at church on an ordinary Sunday morning and the pastor was speaking about a place in the West Indies where there had never been any gospel witness. He told of man who lived on this island who was an atheist slave owner with about 3000 slaves, all of whom would live and die there without a chance to ever hear of Jesus. Deeply disturbed by what they heard, these two men in their early 20’s made the decision to go to this place to reach these slaves with the gospel.

Their plan: sell themselves into slavery so that they could be among these men. Sell themselves into slavery! These guys…they weren’t heading on a short term mission trip. These men left to go and live and suffer as slaves and they had no idea if they would ever come back. Their families and friends were in large part all against their decision and yet John and David prepared to go.

And so the story goes, these two young men arrive at the pier to board the ship. Their families and friends all there to say good bye-they were sure they would never see them again. The men boarded the ship and set out and as the gap between the shoe and the ship widened the two men linked arms and one of them raised his hand and shouted across the gap, these final words: “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering.”

The point of this story isn’t that you need to move to the West Indies in order to live a life of faith and dependence on Jesus. You don’t have to sell yourself into slavery in order to see the power of God work through you. But what we do need to do is heed the call. We have all been given instructions. Every disciple of Christ has been called to a life of service: Go, make disciples. If you are a Christian you’re already a slave.

Here’s the question for us: “What are you doing right now that requires faith?” F. Chan, Crazy Love. Who are you talking to about Christ? Who do you need to talk to about Christ? How are you using your time? Money? What dreams and ambitions do you have to reach the lost? This can’t be an option for us.

Why did Jesus perform this miracle? It wasn’t to put on a show and draw a crowd. It wasn’t even primarily to feed people. It was to show His redemptive power. It was to reveal the very heart of God to restore this broken world. Jesus is renewing the world and we get to be a part of it.