Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Feeding of 5000 and 4000 and a Message for Us Today


How Could the Disciples Be So Dense?


Once again the disciples are witness to supernatural events that should have their eyes popping out of their heads. A crowd comes. Jesus heals everyone in the crowd who needs healing. And Jesus preaches. It becomes obvious that the assembled group has gone a long time without anything to eat, and Jesus feeds 5000 men, which likely means 20,000 people, with a few loaves and a couple of small fish, not to mention left overs.

Within hours the, disciples are on their way across the Sea of Galilee in the middle of a fierce storm when Jesus approaches them walking on the water. At the end of this miracle, the disciples that were with Him said, "Of a truth, surely thou art the son of God." The healing and feeding were not miraculous enough? But him walking on water and empowering Peter to walk on the water did it for them.  Or did it?

A while later (weeks, months), another multitude had been following Jesus for three days, and Jesus had compassion on them because they had nothing to eat. These same men give the reader of Matthew the impression that they are truly feeble minded. They ask, "Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?" Seriously?!

Before you join me in being hard on these guys, lets all do a little soul searching. I don't know about you, but here is my resume'

Raised in the church. Considered the pastorate at age 18. Been in church leadership most of my adult life. Read the Bible cover-to-cover multiplied times. Read many dozens if not hundreds of books related to Christianity. Listened to thousands of hours of Christian radio. Taught a Bible study class for the last 9 years starting in Genesis and now in Matthew. Have published two books for the Christian market. And I'm really old. BUT: Last year I finally got clarity on what God means about pride and humility. This year I have had eye-opening revelations about the Beatitudes and what it means to be a disciple. Oh yeah, and I have the Holy Spirit to help me. The disciples had only been at this for a couple of years. Let's have a bit of grace. 

Ask yourself these questions:

What does it really mean to love God?

What does it really mean to love others?

What does it really mean to be intimate with God?

What is a true Disciple?

What is humility?

How are you doing with pride? What does it really mean to be prideful?

Have you died to self? Are you actively seeking to know God's will for your life? Are you prepared to fully surrender and answer any call that God places on your life?

Or are you holding tight to your possessions, relationships, income, lifestyle, leisure, sins, worldly entertainment, and personal ambitions?

If you feel that all of these issues are totally under control in your life, you are either in denial or you are merely sadly mistaken. If you know that you are not even close to getting most of these, and you aren't really that interested in working towards understanding, then you are very likely not named in the Lamb's book of life. If you are somewhere in between like most of us, consider stepping up your game and becoming a serious and true disciple. The blessings of doing so are beyond most Christian's ability to imagine.