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Jesus Tests the Faith of His Disciples

July 15, 2021

Trust in the provision of the Lord

Jesus Tests the Faith of His Disciples

“And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.’ But he answered them, ‘You give them something to eat.’ And they said to him, ‘Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat? And he said to them, ‘How many loaves do you have? Go and see.’ And when they had found out, they said, ‘Five, and two fish.’ Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.” - Mark 6:35-44

Yesterday, Jesus demonstrated his compassion as the crowd infringed upon his respite with the disciples. Instead of jumping back into the boat and shoving off to find true solace, he acted as a good shepherd and stayed to teach the people. It seems he spoke for a very long time, so long in fact that the disciples grew concerned about the crowd getting hungry. Remember, these people had travelled many miles by foot to get to Jesus. Back then, there was not a restaurant on every corner; people either carried food with them or ate when they got home. Clearly, the disciples were worried about the crowd having the energy to return home before dinnertime.

As usual, Jesus had a very different plan than the disciples. Rather than sending the crowds away, he told the twelve to feed them. He knew this command would shock and challenge them, but he was teaching them what it means to live as a disciple of the Lord. These men had witnessed many, many miracles at this point in Jesus’ ministry. They had seen a girl raised from the dead and a man set free from a legion of demons. They had seen Jesus calm the wind and the waves. They had also experienced God’s provision during their own mission. Remember how Jesus sent them out – two by two, no extra tunic, and no extra food. These men had to depend upon the kindness of strangers and the provision of the Lord. Now, Jesus was calling them to look beyond themselves once more.

Sadly, the disciples were much like us. They were so slow to learn and tended to rely on their own resources and abilities. They questioned Jesus and likely even muttered some things behind his back. They reported there were only five loaves (the size of dinner rolls) and two fish. That was not even enough to feed Jesus and the disciples, let alone a crowd of thousands! Thankfully, Jesus did not do math like the disciples. He was not worried about money or the lack thereof. Jesus took the bread and the fish, said a blessing, and told the disciples to distribute the food. Before they knew it, every single person had eaten and was satisfied. That word “satisfied” is quite significant. They didn’t just eat enough to tide them over until they got home; these people all ate a hearty meal. Their bellies were full. Jesus provided abundantly for their needs!

If that was not miraculous enough, those five loaves and two fish turned into such abundance that all twelve disciples picked up a basket full of leftovers. Did they once again marvel at the mighty works of Jesus? Would they have faith for the next test? Will we?

Reflect and Respond:
Think of a time when the Lord provided abundantly for you. Spend some time praising him for his perfect provision in your life. Next time a need arises, remember what he has done and resolve to trust him to work again! We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


Related Resource:

Trusting God

Why is trust so difficult? Unlike all the broken promises of this world, God’s redeeming promises are absolute, trustworthy, and true. The covenants of God afford us with abundant reasons to trust God with his plan for our lives. Trusting God: Redeeming Promises of the Word explores the six major redeeming promises of God found in his Word. Learn more about God’s commitment to his people, the nature of a covenant, and how you can find your security in being a child of God’s redeeming promises. Learn more about God’s promises today.




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