Jesus asked, “How many loaves do you have?”

John Williams

Mark 6:30-44 then 53-56

The way Mark frames chapter 6 is quite important to seeing the context for today.

Last week Margaret Middleton did a great job helping us to see the frames that Mark was using to tell the story about Jesus teaching on how His mission might work with us as people of God.

SETTING

Let’s look at this again. Can I ask you to read chapter 6 at home and reflect of the context and the framing. See how Mark show Mission of God in its important forms.

Today we will look at just one in the feeding of the five thousand.

 A Prophet Without Honor

6 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Some missions just don’t come together even for Jesus!

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve

Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. 7 Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. 12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

This mission did amazing things. Disciples were on a high

John the Baptist Beheaded

“I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”

So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, 28 and brought back his head on a platter. On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

This mission of John the Baptist calling people to turn and follow God ended badly

 Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

This mission of compassion was a great success far beyond what disciples imagined

Jesus Walks on the Water

45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.

47 Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified.

The disciples were afraid-Did the Mission include this sort of thing-walking on water

53 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. 54 As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. 55 They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

The mission was working again.

WHAT DOES ALL THAT MEAN?

Mark spends lots of time showing that the Disciples of Jesus just do not get His mission.

In the feeding story, Jesus tells the twelve, “You give them something to eat.” These folks, the disciples who just participated in the Reign of God with deeds of power and insight, respond with what appears to be a sarcastic question of whether they are supposed to go and buy enough bread for all these folk.

Jesus then asks them what they have on hand, which is what he multiplies and gives them to distribute to the crowd.

The twelve still do not quite grasp that the Reign of God is truly at hand and that they are both able and called to participate in it. In the feeding story, we’re back to Jesus doing the amazing stuff and the twelve participating on a much more limited scale.

The story of Jesus walking on the water is a continuation of the feeding story and is even starker in describing the disciples as being “terrified,” “astounded” and still not getting it…getting what Jesus was about.

Then verse 52 of this chapter 6 has this heartbreaking verdict:

 “…for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.”

How quickly “the Apostles” fell from so much teaching and doing to urgently needing restoration, from crossing the sea to escape the crowds, to failing to understand, to being terrified at the sight of Jesus, to ridiculing Jesus’ proposition that they feed the masses, to having callused hearts.

There are moments when they do get the story that they are part of…then the next moment they fail to see what Jesus does to demonstrate how God works with his people.

I just wonder what Mark would write about us. Missing the vision Jesus has for us!

That is the common theme in Mark Chapter 6 about the Mission of Jesus.

Mark is showing what Jesus did to teach us about mission as people of God.

You may remember the poem by CS Lewis that I read about a month ago here.

Transformed

And this is how theology started

People already knew about God in a vague way

Then came a man who claimed to be God;

And yet he was not the sort of man you could dismiss as a lunatic

He made them believe him.

They met Him again, after they saw him killed.

And then after they had been formed

into a little s society or community,

they found God somehow inside them as well:

directing them,

making them able to do things

they could never do before.

Today I want to give attention to one of the lessons that Jesus gives us in this series from Mark.

The lesson picks up this theme from Lewis….

they found God somehow inside them as well:

directing them,

making them able to do things

they could never do before.

30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”

They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages[e]! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”

Jesus then asked:   “How many loaves do you have?”  then Jesus said “Go and see.”

When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”

Jesus asked them what have you got yourselves to contribute to the task

When told “Five loaves and two fish”

Jesus said then USE what you have… as Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied…

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR US?

Is it true that Jesus was teaching us that if we look to ourselves and what we have to give when confronted with human need that God can actually bless it and turn it into something we never imagined?

We can have sympathy for the disciples who after an exciting time being directed and used to meet need were exhausted and missed the vision that Jesus presented with his request to look what do you have and God can bless that and make it come alive in ways beyond our dreams.

I am convinced this is the story that has been our story.

Consider what we each have, and see how in our life in ways you don’t quite understand, God has transformed you into meeting need in ways you at the time never imagined.

I am sure each of you on reflection can see how God has worked miracles …

I want to leave with you the notion that this story is our story I want to encourage you to see in your life how Jesus is calling us to see, listen to, and draw upon the resources within ourselves which, when we are empowered by his presence,  enable us to reach out and serve Gods people, be the Shepherd in ways we had never imagined were possible.

When Jesus landed on that Galilee shore and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.

I am wondering how Ruth and I might hear that in our time in Braidwood and encourage the little congregation there perhaps to see what they have in themselves and in the spirit of His presence to catch the vision to reach out in the way that Jesus presented in the feeding of the people.

Tell of UCK possibilities…

So it’s about empowerment and reaching out to care, trusting in presence of God within us.

Ask yourself the question:

Is it true that Jesus was teaching us that if we look to ourselves and what we have to give when confronted with human need that God can actually bless it and turn it into something we never imagined?

I believe firmly that it is true. I can see evidence in my life and as I know many of you well enough to say I can see it in your lives

BUT let’s learn from Webster the Preacher Duck.

After hearing what is possible, let not after church, go back to our duck pond, and stay the same.

Can we leave the church ready to look at what we might have to draw on, to give, when need confronts us, to take it, use it, begin with it

and find God somehow inside us as well:

directing us,

making us  able to do things

we could never do before.

 

Amen

This entry was posted in Sermons and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.