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July 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. ‘This is a remote place,’ they said, ‘and it’s already very late. Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.’ But he answered, ‘You give them something to eat.’ They said to him, ‘That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?’”—Mark 6:35–37 (NIV)
Before we talk about today’s highlighted verses, let’s take a few steps back to look at the context! Just a few verses earlier, Jesus commissioned His disciples to proclaim the kingdom of God to the lost sheep of Israel (Mark 6:7; Matthew 10:6-7). After this, we read in Mark 6:30–31 (NIV) that they “gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’” However, the people still saw them and ran ahead to meet them at their destination. When Jesus arrived and saw the large crowd, “like sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6:34 NIV), He had compassion on them and began to teach them!
Jesus and His disciples still hadn’t eaten or rested, and neither had the people! Our society has affectionately termed the word “hangry” for situations like this. I think of those long days at an amusement park, a sporting event, or some kind of competition where long, hot hours in groups of people coupled with an extended period of time without food creates multiple hangry monsters. Suddenly, crankiness, annoyance, and disinterestedness levels rise.
Perhaps this is what the huge crowd of 5,000+ people following Jesus were feeling around this time, making today’s Scripture more understandable in light of the situation the disciples found themselves in. Their offer of sending the people away to nearby villages so they can buy food to eat seems to be the only plausible solution, yet Jesus’ response to them entirely contradicts what they suggested. Instead, Jesus tells them to feed them!
Not only were the disciples tired and hungry themselves, but they also probably didn’t feel the same compassion as Jesus did for the people. Although they had just returned from their first commission in which Jesus commanded them to essentially be compassionate and servant-hearted while proclaiming the kingdom of God, they had no interest in serving or providing for this crowd of lost people.
From Jesus’ response, we can see that an essential part of our relationship with the Lord is being willing to suffer and trust Him when things seem difficult, impossible, and confusing. When we trust Him regardless of whether we understand or feel like it or not, we can obey Him in every scenario, love Him through our willing obedience, and serve others with that love and compassion! After all, Jesus came to love and serve us in the most sacrificial way possible, so we in turn should love and serve Him and others sacrificially as well!
Pause: In what ways have you forgotten to love the Lord by loving and serving others sacrificially?
Practice: Think of ways you can be more others-centered today and come up with at least two ways to put them into practice.
Pray: Father, when life gets tiring and I need more of You, please fill me with Your Spirit so I can trust You through the process of getting rest while also serving others well. I need You Jesus, and I cannot serve or love You and others effectively without first and foremost prioritizing my time with You. Help me to practice that today and every day! I love You Lord, Amen.
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.