Read Mark 8:1-13

During those days, another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.” . . . 

He told the people to sit down of the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people . . . They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. . . . After he had sent them away, he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha.

The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given it.” Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.

 

Jesus had come to the region of the Decapolis, named for ten cities on the east side of the Jordan. The area was largely Gentile and worshiped the Roman emperor and associated gods. In a place not previously impacted by the faith of nearby Israel, Jesus drew a crowd of four thousand — a crowd intensely interested in what He had to say. They were so invested in hearing His teaching that they stayed for three days — long after the food they had brought along ran out.

These people asked no questions and made no demands. They came to listen and be taught, and they were fed miraculously. Even after three days, these people were so hungry for Jesus’ teaching that he had to send them on their way.

Jesus sailed to the other side of the Sea of Galilee into what should have been much more fertile ground for His Message. There He was greeted by a group of Pharisees. They wanted answers to all their questions and demanded a miracle before they would be willing to listen to Him. As a result, they were fed neither physically nor spiritually. Jesus got back into the boat and went over to the other side.

What this passage says to me is that when I’m willing to come away from my everyday tasks and concerns and invest some real time just listening to Jesus, I’ll be fed — sometimes miraculously. But if I want all my questions answered or demand a miraculous demonstration before I’m willing to listen to what Jesus wants to teach me, He will simply get back into the boat and go where people are hungry for His Word.

Here Jesus is showing me that as His disciple, I’m to listen to His guidance, take what I have, give thanks to God for it, and leave it to Him to stretch it to meet the needs of those around me. If the need is great, there will be other disciples to help distribute what He provides.

I notice that Jesus gave thanks for the bread, and then also for the fish. I think He wants me to be thankful for every part of what he provides, and then to take what He gives me and share it.

Father, please help me not to think about trying to meet demands, but to trust in Your unending supply of whatever is needed. Help me to listen more and talk less. I ask it in Jesus’ name and for His sake. Amen.