Summary: We’re sometimes slow to trust God even though He has always come through in the past.
A LESSON IN TRUSTING
“Be careful”, Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod”, (Mark 8: 15).
Here we have one of those recurring occasions that take place in the ministry of Jesus - the feeding of a large crowd of people. The people came from near and far to hear Jesus preach. It seems that the crowd was so intent on seeing and hearing Jesus that they were prepared to spent some time listening to him. The scripture states that the crowd had already been with Jesus three days. After three days of preaching and teaching Jesus is about to come to an end to his discourse with them. However, before Jesus dismisses the crowd, he is aware that they would now be very hungry, having been with him so long. Jesus wanted to do something about it.
Obviously, any food that had been brought by the people was exhausted. Some who had travelled a long distance and camped for those three days had run out of food. Jesus didn’t want any to go home hungry. Nor did he want to be responsible for the collapse of people on the way home because they had no refreshments on their return journey.
What to do? Jesus’ disciples were at a loss to solve the problem Jesus faced them with – feeding the crowd. All the disciples knew was that they were in a remote place without the means to provide food for so great a crowd.
It is Jesus who asks a question of the disciples, “How many loaves do you have?” The days spent in ministry had also exhausted the food supply of the disciples. And reaching into the sack, the disciples discovered that there were seven loaves and a few fish left. In Jesus hands, the loaves and fishes multiplied and fed the vast crowd. The crowd was satisfied! No only were the crowds satisfied, but the disciple’s food supply was also replenished by the seven baskets of broken pieces.
The disciples used what they had and it was more than sufficient in the hands of Jesus! Jesus can always use our ability and availability to meet the needs of others. As we give of ourselves in his service, Jesus replenishes, refreshes, and restores. God is debtor to no one.
It seems that the disciples were a bit ‘thick’. Mark tells us that the next day the disciples were with Jesus. When it came time for a meal break, it was discovered that they did not have enough food to feed them all. All they had with them for a meal was one loaf. One loaf to be shared amongst the disciples was not what you would describe as an adequate meal.
Jesus, tell the disciples, “Be careful. Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” The disciples were puzzled about what Jesus said. They thought it had something to do with their foolishness in not having enough food.
After Jesus had fed the 4,000, the Pharisees came to Jesus wanted another sign to verify who he was (v. 11). The disciples knew who he was and they needed no sign to verify who he was. Thus, Jesus cautions them, “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” We know that yeast is the agent of change, causing the bread to rise. With regard to the Pharisees and the Herodians, the yeast was their corrupting influence on people concerning Jesus, creating disbelief in him.
The disciple’s at that mealtime were faced with failure, failure to trust in Jesus. Jesus says as much when he questions the disciples concerning the many time he fed the crowds. He was able to do the impossible on many occasions – supplying food to the people with much leftover. On one occasion twelve baskets left over, and on the most recent occasion that the disciples had witnessed, seven baskets were left over,
The disciples’ one loaf would have been sufficient in the hands of Jesus to feed them all. That was a certainty!
The disciple’s had failed to realise that every problem has a solution. The solution to every problem is to be found in Jesus himself. Moreover, when we know Jesus and who he is, there is no reason to doubt that he wont supply an answer to any problem. The disciple’s should have realised that Jesus had provided for people’s need in the past – ‘Was the disciples’ clear need any less?’
The disciples had witnessed the mercies of God in Christ. Should they have doubted that Jesus would not provide for them? “New every morning, thy mercies I see”. Each time the Lord answers our need, provides a solution, we are encouraged to trust him to help us to solve our next problem when it becomes apparent.