Monday, April 30th. Mark 8:1-10

In those days when there was again a great crowd without anything to eat, he called his disciples and said to them, ‘I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way—and some of them have come from a great distance.’ His disciples replied, ‘How can one feed these people with bread here in the desert?’ He asked them, ‘How many loaves do you have?’ They said, ‘Seven.’

 

Then he ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground; and he took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute; and they distributed them to the crowd. They had also a few small fish; and after blessing them, he ordered that these too should be distributed. They ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. Now there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha. Mark 8:1-10

 

Reading this passage immediately gives us a sense of deja vu all over again.  We’ve seen this before.  This is not the first time that Jesus has fed a crowd on a hillside.

 

Not only is the miraculous feeding of the 5000 the only miracle that appears in all four gospels, both Mark and Matthew repeat it with this account of the feeding of the 4000.  Clearly it is an important, and revealing, story.

 

We can’t help notice the numerology.  Five loaves + two fish = 7, the perfect number, in the first story.  Seven loaves = 7 in this one.  12 baskets of leftovers in the first story = the 12 tribes of Israel.  7 baskets of leftovers in this one.

 

We can’t help but notice the lack of creativity on the part of the disciples.  We can excuse them the first time around for wanting to send the crowds away to find food on their own but not this time.  They’ve been there before.  They’ve already forgotten what Jesus can do with a few loaves and fish.

 

We can’t help but notice the compassion of Jesus.  In both feeding stories, the disciples look at a huge hungry crowd and see a problem too big to be solved.  Jesus looks at the same crowd and has compassion for them.  He eventually sends them away but he sends them away on a full stomach with plenty of leftovers to bring with them.

 

And that is the part we forget about.  We notice so much but we also forget the crowd.  We forget that couple over there.  They barely survive in their lives.  They haven’t eaten for three days but that isn’t terribly unusual.  Most of the population of Israel lived at a barely sustainable level of life.  But they had heard about Jesus so they made the trip to find him and hear him speak.

 

What they heard was so compelling that they stuck around for three days.  He gave them hope.  He spoke of a new way of being.  He spoke of love in ways they had never heard.  He spoke without divisions, without rancor.  He gave them a vision of God’s good and gracious will for all.  And then, at the end, he fed them with miraculous food so that they would not go away hungry.

 

When we see the couple in the crowd, the persons among the people, the trees not just the forest, then we see with compassion.  For this is how Jesus sees us.

 

Let us pray:  Gracious Lord, we are hungry for the vision of life that you brought to hungry crowds.  We are hungry for food which truly satisfies rather than the junk food that we too eagerly settle for.  Like the disciples, we sometimes only see problems but, like the crowds, we also come to you for that which only you can give.  Thank you for our daily bread.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

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3 Responses to “Monday, April 30th. Mark 8:1-10”

  1. kirk129 Says:

    Very Good devotion

  2. Tyrone Says:

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    Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!

  3. Alisia Says:

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