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Summary: Jesus meets us in the dismal places in our lives and sustains us with the Bread of Life.

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A HEAVENLY MATH LESSON

MORE THAN FIVE THOUSAND PEOPLE GATHERED TO HEAR JESUS TEACH IN A DESOLATE PLACE. FOR THREE DAYS, HE TAUGHT IN THAT DESOLATE PLACE. BY THE THIRD DAY, THE PEOPLE BEGAN TO SHOW SIGNS OF WEAKNESS IN THIS DESOLATE PLACE. FOR THREE DAYS, THEY WERE THERE WITHOUT FRESH FOOD UNTIL JESUS HAS COMPASSION ON THEM.

JESUS ASKS THE DISCIPLES, "HOW MUCH BREAD DO YOU HAVE"? "SEVEN LOAVES", WAS THE REPLY. THEY ALSO HAD SOME FISH, BUT, SEVEN LOAVES OF BREAD AND A FEW FISH WOULD NOT FEED A CROWD OF OVER 4OOO PEOPLE. IT WOULD BE A MISERABLE ATTEMPT AT FEEDING THE MULTITUDE IN THIS DESOLATE PLACE.

JESUS IGNORED BEING IN A DESOLATE PLACE UNDER MISERABLE CIRCUMSTANCES. HE TOOK THEM AND AFTER HE GAVE THANKS TO GOD, HE BROKE THE BREAD AND FISH.

UP TO THIS POINT THINGS SEEM AS NORMAL AS THINGS ARE WHEN JESUS WAS INVOLVED. ADMIT IT, IT IS NOT OFTEN THAT 4000 OR MORE PEOPLE SHOW UP FOR A MEAL AT SOMEONE’S HOME. MAKING AN ALLOWANCE FOR THAT, THIS EVENT WAS MOSTLY NORMAL.

THE DISCIPLES FOUND SOMEONE WHO WAS WILLING TO SHARE THEIR FISH AND BREAD WITH OTHERS. NOTICE THAT HE USED WHAT WAS AVAILABLE. HE DIDN’T DEMAND A CERTAIN TYPE OR A CERTAIN TYPE OF BREAD. FURTHER, NOTICE THAT Jesus USED A SMALL AMOUNT, TOO SMALL BY NORMAL STANDARDS TO FEED SUCH A LARGE CROWD. JESUS USED THE MATERIALS AT HAND AND THE QUANTITY AT HAND TO ACCOMPLISH THIS MIRACLE. FISH AND BREAD WERE AVAILABLE AND THAT IS WHAT JESUS OFFERED THE MULTITUDE TO EAT.

THE DISCIPLES AND THE CROWDS ARE IN A DESOLATE PLACE, THEY ARE TIRED AND HUNGRY AND THEY NEED JESUS TO HELP THEM. I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, BUT SOMETHING DOESN’T SEEM RIGHT WITH THIS STORY. DO YOU SEE ANYTHING WRONG WITH THIS DESCRIPTION?

LET’S LOOK AT THE NUMBERS. THERE ARE FOUR THOUSAND OR MORE HUNGRY PEOPLE. JESUS HAS SEVEN LOAVES OF BREAD AND A FEW FISH TO OFFER ALL THESE PEOPLE IN THIS DESOLATE LOCATION. HOW CAN ALL THESE PEOPLE BE FED WITH ONLY SEVEN LOAVES OF BREAD? THE NUMBERS DON’T WORK. TOO MANY PEOPLE AND TOO LITTLE FOOD. THIS IS NOT RIGHT. JESUS IS GOING TO FAIL. HOW COULD JESUS BELIEVE THAT THIS PALTRY AMOUNT OF FOOD COULD FEED ALL THESE PEOPLE?

HOW MANY PEOPLE FIX YOUR THANKSGIVING DINNER, EAT, AND HAVE MORE FOOD LEFTOVER THAN YOU STARTED OUT WITH? HAS THIS EVER HAPPENED TO ANYONE HERE? I WOULD GUESS THAT NOT MANY OF US HERE TODAY HAVE HAD THIS OCCUR. IT HAPPENS TO JESUS TWICE IN MARK’S GOSPEL. FOR THE DISCIPLES, SEEING JESUS FEED HUGE CROWDS IS NOT UNUSUAL. IN THE GOSPELS, THE DISCIPLES REGULARLY SEE MIRACLES IN THE MINISTRY OF JESUS IN THE SAME WAY THAT WE EXPERIENCE NORMAL EVENTS IN OUR LIVES.

WHERE WE LIVE, WE EXPECT TO SEE THE LINE AT LUNCH SUNDAY’S FOR THE PANDA CHINESE RESTAURANT TO BE OUT THE DOOR AND INTO THE PARKING LOT. WE EXPECT TO SEE PEOPLE SITTING OUT IN FRONT OF THE COURTHOUSE BY THE STATUE OF HUEY LONG. WE EXPECT THAT WHEN WE DRIVE THROUGH THE COUNTRY WE ARE GOING TO GET BEHIND A WOOD TRUCK. WE HAVE GROWN ACCUSTOMED TO THESE THINGS HAPPENING IN OUR LIVES.

I IMAGINE THAT FOR THE DISCIPLES MIRACLES SUCH AS THESE WERE FREQUENT OCCURRENCES IN THEIR LIVES JUST LIKE THE NORMAL EVENTS OF OUR LIVES. THE POINT THAT MARK IS TRYING TO MAKE IS THIS, THE DISCIPLES WITNESS REPEATEDLY THE MIRACLES OF JESUS, YET THEY DON’T SEEM TO QUITE GET WHAT’S GOING ON.


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