Mark – God is On Our Side!
I don’t have to wonder too much how the disciples felt after a “ministry tour” of helping people in all kinds of ways by the power and authority of Jesus. I can hear them tell of all the ways they were able to help people see the need to repent and turn to God. Can you imagine coming back to the One who sent them and telling Him, face to face, in person, excitedly how it went? Can you see the smile of Jesus as He listens? I passionately tell my family and friends about a tour of ministry or mission trip that was beyond our capabilities and out of our comfort zones and their eyes kind of glaze over ready for my exuberance to settle down. Why? Not because they don’t care, it’s because I am very excited as I spray a fire hose of stories at them all at once. (Trying to control that!)
I can imagine Jesus, sitting on the grass, listening to his disciples, all talking at once, as they tell their stories. “AND do you know what happened next?” “Oh Jesus, it was so amazing!” “Jesus, because of what you put in us we could actually help people like you do!”
THEN, as they are still telling, (don’t let this slip by you as we read this passage), Jesus, while still listening to their hearts to what God did in and through them, He looks in their tired eyes and says…”LET’S REST AWHILE.” The “people ministry”, (helping lost souls return to God), was overwhelming. Jesus knew that even though the disciples were excited, a tired was soon going to wash over them soon unless they “got away to a quiet place to rest”. However, the people followed them to this place.
What trumped Jesus’ compassion for his workers, was His ongoing, relentless compassion for those who needed what He had to offer…Life.
Is it because the disciples were tired and overwhelmed that they retorted, “Send them away…”? We can imagine this feeling when people want more than we have left to give. But here we have an example of Jesus still providing what is needed in “people ministry” situations that tax our human systems. He teaches those He has invited to HIS work that HE is on our side. HE will provide. HE will find rest for you at the right time. But for now…
“YOU feed them.” says Jesus to his weary disciples. “What?” Can you see the eyes roll? Can you hear the voice inflection when they ask, “With what”? However, I am so impressed with the disciples, even though ready to rest, were obedient to the Master. They were looking forward to a “get away for awhile” with Him, but instead were asked to be obedient in yet another ministry task. The result? They experienced another grand, only God can do, miracle of power, compassion, and love. They experienced, in person, that God is definitely on our side!
Mark 6, NLT
Jesus Feeds Five Thousand
30 The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. 31 Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.
32 So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone. 33 But many people recognized them and saw them leaving, and people from many towns ran ahead along the shore and got there ahead of them. 34 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
35 Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. 36 Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat.”
37 But Jesus said, “You feed them.”
“With what?” they asked. “We’d have to work for months to earn enough money to buy food for all these people!”
38 “How much bread do you have?” he asked. “Go and find out.”
They came back and reported, “We have five loaves of bread and two fish.”
39 Then Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of fifty or a hundred.
41 Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share. 42 They all ate as much as they wanted, 43 and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftover bread and fish. 44 A total of 5,000 men and their families were fed.
Maybe you are the one in ministry who needs rest. Ask God to guide you. He will provide. He is on your side. Ask for His timing. Until that time of rest, “rest” in Him each morning before you begin your day. Trust and obey.
Maybe you are one of the people who needs what Jesus has to offer and you need help finding Him. Don’t let anyone or any situation or circumstance keep you from asking for help. RUN for help. Ask God to guide you to the one He has prepared to help you. (He has many who are are ready!) No one in the ministry of obedience to God is too tired to help you find and follow Him. No one. Find that person.
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior,
You have provided yet another perspective to Your Story of how You work in our lives as we trust and obey. You are amazing! You are compassionate, loving and kind beyond what this world has to offer. I am so grateful you listen, challenge, discipline, direct and guide me. Help me help others find and follow you, too. Show me your ways. I am your servant. I am listening.
In Jesus Name, Amen