This post is part of a devotional series based on our 2019 Bible Reading Calendar.
Jesus did something astonishing in Mark 6. He fed a crowd of five thousand men (plus women and children) with five loaves of bread and two fish. When the crowd finished eating, he sent his disciples to pick up the scraps and they returned with twelve baskets full–more than what they began with.
You would think that such a thing would leave a lasting impression, but two chapters later in Mark 8 we read about Jesus miraculously feeding four thousand. He told the disciples that he had compassion for the hungry crowds and wanted to feed them. The disciples replied, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?”
It was as if they completely forgot about the miracle with the five thousand and the fact that they were in the presence of the Son of God. It’s a little surprising that we don’t read in response that Jesus “sighed deeply in his spirit,” like he did with the Pharisees in 8:12
After the confrontation with the Pharisees, Jesus warned the disciples to “beware the leaven of the Pharisees,” meaning their teaching. The disciples misunderstood and thought Jesus referred to the fact that they had brought no bread with them. Jesus then asked them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread?” He then brought to their attention the feedings and the amount of food they collected when it was finished.
It was Jesus’ way of saying they were missing the point. Bread didn’t matter; He did. He could multiply molecules into enough bread to fill their stomachs time and time again. And it was all because of who Jesus is. The Pharisees didn’t get it and in that moment the disciples didn’t either.
This reminds us that we need to be reminded–constantly reminded. As saints-in-progress, people saved by the grace of God who are being transformed into more Christ-like people by that same grace, we need to be reminded of God’s grace and to constantly set our eyes on Jesus. Our hearts are slower to learn than we want them to be.
That is why church gatherings are so important. They remind us of the grace and power of Jesus on a regular basis as a group of rebels-turned-sons-and-daugthers feast on God’s word, cry out in prayer, and sing praises to our great Savior-King.
Scripture quotations taken from the English Standard Version.