If you ask a group of Sunday School children to list the miracles of Jesus you might not hear any of them say, “delivering of the demoniac at Garasene.” You most likely hear them report to you about the feeding of the 5000 or helping a lame man walk or a blind man see. These and many other miracles of Jesus are at the core of our teaching and understanding about the ministry of Jesus.
Today as I journeyed through Mark Chapter 6 I came to one such miracle, The Feeding of the Five Thousand. The miracle is one of amazing size and scope. Five thousand men, not to mention the women and children who might have been gathered also have been listening to Jesus. The crowd was not a surprise, it seems that everywhere Jesus goes he draws a crowd. After a time, Mark does not tell us how much time, the disciples were getting hungry. They came to Jesus and said, “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” (Mark 6:35b-36)
His response was direct and simple, “You give them something to eat.” The men to whom he spoke were the disciples who had just returned from their first short term mission trip. These men had been out preaching the good news, driving out demons, anointing the ill and healing them. No doubt looking at one another they said to him, “Where are we going to get that kind of money?” -They missed it.- They missed the power of God that had been at work in their lives just days before as they did miraculous things by the power of God.
Here is how Mark tells the rest of this account:
38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.” When they found out, they said, “Five–and two fish.” 39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.
Mark 6:38-44 (NIV)
From this scene Mark jumps to another amazing miracle of Jesus. Jesus sends his disciples away by boat and tells them he will catch up with them later. On their way accross the lake they run into a head wind which makes the going very hard.
47 When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed,
Mark 6:47-51 (NIV)
Once again he calms the waters around his disciples.(see also Mark 4:35) Once again they are amazed at his power and authority. Lets take a look at the next verse, the verse that caught me by surprise. “ for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened. “Mark 6:52 -They missed it- They missed about the loaves? why? their hearts were hardened.
This simple verse amazed me, how could you miss the amazing miracle of the loaves, but that your heart was hardened. This begs the simple, question for me, “What have I missed?” What miracles of God have their been in my life that I have failed to see, to understand and rejoice over…. because my heart was hardened.
I pray that the Lord of the Church would soften my heart to see His amazing hand at work in my life. As I write this I am having a particularly hard week and I need to open wide my eyes to see God’s hand, trusting on the promise of God to Jeremiah:
13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD,
Jeremiah 29:13-14a (NIV)