The Forgetful Followers of Christ
Mark 8:1–10 1In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, 2I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: 3And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far. 4And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness? 5And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven. 6And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. 7And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. 8So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. 9And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away. 10And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha.
Where are we going to get food to feed so many? That is what the disciples ask the Lord that day.
There were at least four thousand present and hardly any food and there ain’t a Micky D’s nearby. They only had seven loaves and a few small fish. How can helping this crowd possibly happen?
Now don’t you want to holler at those disciples and say, “hold on just a minute fellas, just a mere six months ago, Jesus fed a bigger crowd with less and ya’ll were there to see it”. I ain’t a math expert but this time Jesus had a smaller crowd and more with which to work!
Mark 8:6–7 6And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. 7And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them.
After Jesus made them all sit and prayed, he began to break the bread. He broke and broke and the more he broke the more bread they had. Four thousand people and a Filet O Fish for everybody, minus the tartar sauce of course.
Mark 8:8 So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets.
Not only did everyone eat but they were “filled”. Lidell Scott’s Greek Lexicon defines that word to mean “fattened”. Everybody waddled away that day rubbing their bellies.
Here are my morning thoughts.
They had less people than the previous feeding of the multitude and more with which Jesus could work. Only six months had past since the feeding of the five thousand.
Why in this world didn’t those disciples remember what Jesus had done?
He had already proven his power.
He had already shown he cared.
Jesus had recently fed more with less and yet these disciples never figured the compassion and capabilities of their Lord into the equation.
Why did those disciples ask, “From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?”
Why did they consider the power and past workings of Christ? Perhaps a better question could be, why don’t we?
Here is my theory, it involves a different place, a different space and different people. Here is what I mean.
A Different Place
The location was different. The scenery had changed. I suppose a landmark might have sparked a memory if the location had been the same. There is something about the changes of our situations that causes us to not apply our past to our present. I believe we must be intentional with our memories to prevent panic and forgetting our Lord’s faithful past.
A Different Space
It had been three days and he hadn’t performed a miracle. There was a different space of time. In the previous feeding of the multitude they only waited a day. I guess they thought than if he was going to do the bread breaking miracle, he would have already done it.
It is important for all of his disciples to remember that his delays are not denials.
A Different People
The folks he fed in our reading were Gentiles, the recipients of the first feeding were Jews. Perhaps his disciples thought that Jesus only does miracles for his own people. Maybe they were prejudiced in their assessments, judgmental in their view of the crowd. Is it possible that past partakers of his mercy could forget that is his way? Oh yes, unfortunately so!
So, what’s the point Bald Believer?
We must forsake this pattern of forgetfulness that the Lord’s disciples keep demonstrating.
We must make ourselves remember his power and his faithful past.
We must make ourselves reminders, so we keep applying the principles of faith to our new circumstances.
And I would encourage us to all remember that his compassion extends to all, specifically those with the greatest need of his mercy. He has love and an appreciation for every person of every shade. He loves you and has mercy despite the mistakes you’ve made. What he has done for others he can do for you! It might not be the exact same miracle or in the same time frame, but his love remains the same.