The magnitude of people who stood before the twelve disciples was a bit overwhelming. All they saw were 5000 hungry men and their wives and children that accompanied them. Looking at their resources – a small boy’s lunch of five loaves of bread and two fish – all they could see was that they could do nothing to feed this massive crowd! They lacked the power to do the impossible, or did they?
Jesus tested them with a command, “You give them something to eat.” His command tested their belief in His power to supply. The interesting thing is the disciples had just experienced the power of Jesus to heal and cast out demons; yet, they still looked at the physical resources at their fingertips and doubted. This very event was also on the heels of Jesus granting the disciples the authority and power to heal and cast out demons themselves. Before meeting the hungry crowd, they had just returned from their mission; with great excitement they each were telling Jesus all that they had done and experienced. Yet, in this present impossible situation, all power was forgotten and they still doubted. The disciples of yesterday are not much different today. Amen?
Jesus, being the Master Teacher, demonstrated for the disciples His magnificent authority and power to provide. He held up the limited resources, thanked God for His provision and when the Amen was complete, He handed the disciples the food and told them to distribute to all the people. Each mouth was filled and each stomach completely satisfied. An impossible miracle happened! All those were amazed at the great demonstration of power and were wide-eyed and opened-eared ready to hear the words of Jesus spoken to them.
After the meal was finished, twelve baskets full of food were left – one for each disciple. Let’s not miss the lesson behind these leftovers. Remember that the disciples experienced this miracle in the midst of their doubt. They were given this lesson right after demonstrating God’s power through them on the sick and demon possessed. They had been given authority and power by our Lord, Jesus. The baskets full could represent so many things, but could it be a direct message to the disciples that there is never a limit to the supply of God’s power for his disciples to do God’s will and finish His work? I think that this is a valid interpretation.
This very important lesson is one to learn today, as well. We doubt, too. We look to our physical abilities to see if we can do the impossible and we know we cannot, so we retreat. We don’t step forward in faith. We sometimes call this retreat “being responsible.” But if the Lord gives the word to move forward, it is our responsibility to move on the command in obedience and trust that His infinite power will be sufficiently supplied for the task at hand. Jesus told the disciples, “You give them something to eat.” Their only response should have been to obey, hold up the task in their hands in prayer and look to the Father for His unlimited power to do the very impossible they could not imagine. And we, too, must follow God’s command by seeking His power and trusting in His provision.
Take note though, we are to only act in obedience to Jesus’ calling not our desire to do the impossible. If we act on doing the impossible for the sake of the impossible, we have held ourselves up to be god and dismissed that all authority and power is granted from our Savior not ourselves. We are to only act on His bidding, not our own will to perform. It is to His glory we step out in faith not to our own. Amen? Be discerning, but don’t allow your discernment to cripple you from following Christ’s directive.
Luke 9:10-17; Mark 6:6-13; 30-32