Love, Pray, Eat
Pray this ancient Jewish prayer today: “Blessed are You, Lord God of creation, who brings forth bread from the earth.”
Read Mark 6:30-44
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.
“Jesus provided rest for his disciples, truth for the waiting multitude, and food for these people. He was the Provider sent from God; for them and for us” (Ray Stedman). We must be forever grateful.
Today’s opening verses are significant because Mark specifies that Jesus’ “apostles” gather around him, whereas he previously refers to them as “the twelve” (4:10; 6:7) or simply as “his disciples” (6:1). After weeks of work since Jesus handed over increasing responsibility to them (6:7), they have a deepening corporate bond. Mark implies that Jesus’ closest followers have become his family (30, c.f. 3:7,35; 10:29). He also hints at their weariness and hunger (31) while Matthew, at this point, suggests Jesus grieves over his cousin’s murder (Matt. 14:13). All of this partly explains Jesus’ invitation to his companions to withdraw by boat for a secluded rest, perhaps to a favorite childhood Galilean refuge in the vicinity of Bethsaida (Luke 9:10). They don’t get it right, however (33). Their best-laid plans for a quiet picnic have to be remade as Jesus is moved with compassion when he finds that so many Galileans have guessed their destination.
I remember the hard work during weeks of Bolivian Scripture Union camps as a young mission volunteer. I got to that point where low blood-sugar levels caused frustration similar to that of the apostles, who now resort to snapping unsolicited instructions at Jesus (36). What they need is a very late lunch, but Jesus doesn’t respond as they want him to (37a). Imagine their mounting irritation as their energy levels plunge (37b). Now Jesus gives the instructions (38), and the biggest picnic lunch ever in Galilee gets underway (39). Mark hopes we laugh at the irony of this working lunch for ravenous disciples (43). More than that, he wants us to glimpse the openness of creation to a new kind of beginning through Christ as Jesus simply prays, then acts (41,42).
Jesus’ example of costly love includes feasting beyond imagining. What preconceptions do you need to let go of today to taste and see (Exod. 16:31; Isa. 55:2)?
Lord Jesus, in a world of self-help psychology and “you can do it” thinking, I am reminded that in all things I am truly and totally dependent on You.
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