In those days, the multitude being very great and having nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples to Him and said to them, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their own houses, they will faint on the way; for some of them have come from afar.”Then His disciples answered Him, “How can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness?” He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven.”
Let us look at Mark 8 for today’s devotion. In the first few verses, we read Jesus feeding a number of people. When I read that passage, one thing that really struck me was that our master is not only concerned about our spiritual hunger, but also our physical needs. IF all that mattered for Him was eternity and nothing else, then He would not have done all these miracles which satisfied His people’s immediate needs. Jesus had compassion on the misery of his people. He could not take it when they suffered. In the above verse, we read that Jesus had the same compassion on the multitude who have been with Him for past three days. Can you think that for three days they did not even think about food? Such was the presence of Jesus…. Satisfying not only their soul, but their body. They just wanted to be in His presence and listen to Him. That was their priority. Remember, it was not the people who reminded Jesus that they did not have food for three days. They did not even take time to think about that. But Jesus cared for them. He could have just sent them away satisfying their spiritual hunger. I love the verse which says ” And if I send them away hungry to their own houses, they will faint on the way; for some of them have come from afar.”
God is concerned about all the efforts that we take to be in the presence of God. He knows how far we have travelled to hear His word. He sees the time that we put into, for serving Him. He is concerned when we take efforts to do His will, even though we are weak and tired. Jesus knows that we might have to face challenges in our journey back and so He wants to satisfy us spiritually and physically. He sees the ups and downs in our way in advance and equips for the same. Oh, what a loving Master.
Another important thing that touched me was that, Jesus could have just fed those four thousand people by himself by doing some miracle. He could have just asked the wind to bring some manna like the old testament times. Why do you think He asked the disciples first? He expected the disciples to have the same compassion that Jesus had. The unfailing love towards his peoples. But He could not see that in the disciples. Remember, this is the same disciples who saw another greater miracle of feeding thousands of people with five loaves and two fishes.(Mark 6:38-44). They did not think that their master could do the same thing this time too. In both the feeding miracles, the disciples could just see the obstacles and not a God who could do the impossible. In the first feeding miracle, when Jesus asked them to feed the multitude, the excuse they gave was “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?” . Do you know what they said the second time,…“How can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness?”. If first time their excuse was money, the second time, it was their circumstance or place. This is my imagination…Jesus might have expected at least one disciple saying to Him..”Lord, here I saw someone having seven loaves of bread…IF you could do a miracle with 5 last time, I believe you could do the same this time too..”. But nobody said that.
When Jesus looks at us, He expects to see the same compassion He has for His loved ones, in our hearts too. He wants to see our heart ache when someone is financially struggling. He wants to see us offering a helping hand when someone is going through a tough time. Jesus expects us to pray sincerely for your neighbor when she is in sick-bed. He doesn’t need our help to do a miracle in someone’s life. But that is not the way heaven works. Heaven wants to see us taking the initiation and it will do wonders for us. Just like the disciples, what are the excuses that we give?…money, our situations, our circumstances…”I would have done a lot, if only I had a different life and a different circumstances”….What you and me have is enough for God to do a miracle. He did not take the people out of the wilderness to do the miracle. It was done with just seven loaves of bread in the desert. So what matters is just your willingness to be used. If you are ready to surrender yourself to Him, He will use you and me as a blessing to many, even in the wilderness, with the very little we have.