That Was Then; This Is Now
Lord God, You are the one, true source of all life and wisdom. Feed me from Your Word now, I pray.
Read Mark 8:1-13
 During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said,  “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat.  If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.”  His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”  “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked. “Seven,” they replied.  He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people, and they did so.  They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them.  The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.  About four thousand were present. After he had sent them away,  he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha.  The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven.  He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.”  Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow did Jesus demonstrate his compassion for the crowd?
Mark 8 begins: “During those days.” Jesus is still traveling and doesn’t return to Israel proper until v. 13. This feeding miracle is similar to the feeding of the five thousand (6:30-44). We can compare the two. In ch. 6, Jesus is replicating the miraculous feeding of Israel in the wilderness (Exod. ch. 16). This time it is four thousand people who must be mostly Gentiles, like the Syro-Phoenician woman (7:24-30) who got a few crumbs beneath the Master’s table. In both incidents Jesus has drawn great crowds who are very hungry. He is compassionate, and enlists the disciples’ help to address the great need. In both cases the food available is grossly inadequate for the task, but Jesus triumphs in completely satisfying their hunger. This time the loaves and baskets of leftovers number seven (5,8), hinting at completeness when God visits the Gentiles. This time, it is unnecessary to say they are sheep without a shepherd. The Gentiles were not God’s chosen people, though Jesus is about to draw them in. What irony that the Pharisees still fail to understand, and still want a sign (11-13)!
Is there someone to whom you can show the Lord’s compassion today? If so, do it. Praise God for the provision.
Gracious Lord, I thank You that Your love and Your care extend to all people, regardless of who they are.
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