Summary: The disciples had been with Jesus for a while. They reported all the wonders and miracles they performed. They participated the the miraculous feeding of the 5000, yet they failed to recognize Him when He walked on the water towards them. The disciples f
DO WE PASS THE TEST?
Have We Learned the Lesson of the Loaves?
I chose this morning to begin reading about how the disciples gathered together with Jesus. They had just heard about the beheading of John the Baptist. We can imagine the sadness they were experiencing, and perhaps too, a little fearful. But they were also I think, feeling pretty good about how things had been going for them. For the scriptures tell us they “reported to Him (Jesus) all that they had done and taught. Or perhaps, they wanted some affirmation for the work they were doing… Some recognition for their efforts?
Aren’t there many of us who are act and feel the same way. When we feel we are doing God’s work, don’t we sometimes want someone to notice, to say, good job and don’t we want that somebody to be someone whom we know to be a solid Christian? Someone to whom we may look up to and admire?
With all that was going on at that time, I think I would want to have known I was ok and to let Jesus know I was really trying to do the things He had sent me out to accomplish. Also, we know from the scriptures, that there was some competition among the apostles from time to time and perhaps they wanted to make sure they got credit for their efforts?
Or perhaps, as they had been scattered throughout the country doing the work of Christ, it was simply good to get back together for mutual fellowship. It was hard work and though we know they had their differences, they were united in their love for Jesus.
Jesus recognized they had been very busy and needed some rest. Even here, they were busy, there we so many people… so busy in fact, they hadn’t even had time enough to eat. So He suggested they go off together to quiet place.
So, they get into a boat and go to a quiet, solitary place. But nothing doing. They were recognized people must have known the spot they were headed because the scripture tell us they got there ahead of them! The Bible tells us they “RAN” there together from all the cities!
So here we are, the apostles and Jesus go ashore to find all these people waiting for them.
How many of us, after a long days work or activity are anxious to get home, or just go someplace quiet for at least a few minutes of rest and solitude? You finally get a moment, maybe just get settled into your most comfortable chair and the telephone rings, or a neighbor stops by unannounced, or your spouse reminds you your were going out that evening or…..
I don’t know about you, but all too often my first response would be, oh no! Now what?
But look at Jesus response. He had COMPASSION on them. He recognized they were like sheep without a Sheppard and he began to teach them.
All this time of course, the apostles are right there with Jesus. They too, are being taught. And they are about to be given another lesson.
It gets late, and the apostles come to Jesus. They know this place is a long way for the local stores and suggest Jesus send the people out to buy themselves something to eat. But Jesus says “YOU give them something to eat.”
Jesus, who sent them out into the country to do miracles and healings and teachings, which they accomplished, tells them YOU do it!
Their response sounds almost like they are angry or put out or it’s the “oh no what now” reaction. The scriptures don’t seem to indicate that they didn’t have the money. It’s more like they didn’t want to spend all that money for these people, or for this reason… Sound familiar…? How easy it is for us to spend money on those things we consider important, those things that bring us pleasure. But how hard it seems for us to put money into the offertory plate, to support the work of God in our community and it the world. After all, it’s our hard earned money isn’t it? Is it? Really?
Jesus doesn’t flinch, doesn’t miss a beat. He asks the disciples, “How many loaves do you have?”
They look around and find they have five loaves of bread and two fish.
Jesus is involved in teaching His disciples at this moment. He is involving them in the next miracle that is about to take place. He has sent the disciples to look for food.
Next, Jesus directs the Disciples to have everyone sit down in small groups. So the disciples must have gone throughout the crowds encouraging them to sit in groups. Remember, there we well over 5000 people there, for the scripture say the number of “men” who had eaten were 5000. There were also women and children.