As I was reading this morning’s passage from the 5x5x5 Reading Plan (the feeding of the five-thousand and Jesus walking on water), I was struck again by two realities:
First, Jesus is a wise (and patient) teacher. When the disciples wanted to send the people home to find food, Jesus used the opportunity to test their faith (which was lacking!) and to reveal just how powerful He was.
In fact, He revealed not only His power but also His heart. Jesus came to serve the lost and the needy and He would do so. Feeding the five thousand was just one aspect of Jesus as the Bread of Life, manna for God’s people. The disciples thought the cost was high to feed all these people. Jesus was willing to pay the ultimate price to save them.
If the disciples would just watch closely, they would see the compassionate heart of God made obvious in Jesus, in all that He did while on this earth. They would also see that they could trust Him with their lives. He is all-powerful (omnipotent) and good, both attributes revealed in this one scene.
Second, disciples are very slow learners (that’s us). He had been healing, He had been casting out demons, He had been preaching with authority they had never seen before—last week we saw that He calmed the stormy sea! In this chapter, Jesus fed the five thousand and walked on water… that’s right, He walked on water in the middle of a storm and when He got into their boat, the wind ceased! How did the disciples respond??
Mark tells us (6:51) that they were “utterly astounded” but also that “their hearts were hardened” (6:52).” That sounds like us at times, doesn’t it? We can in one moment be in awe of God and His greatness and the next moment be as callous toward the things of God as possible. We can see the miracles and yet reject the miracle-worker. Notice it is an issue not of the mind but the heart here. It always is.
As I read passages like this, I pray that our knowledge of the Lord, both intellectually and experientially, will continue to grow and that Jesus will be magnified in our minds and hearts. The more we see Him for who He really is, the more we will rest in His arms and follow His steps.