[The following devotional is a part of our 2015 Easter Season Devotional Book “Passion Road.” We will be posting a devotional each day on this blog between February 18 – April 5, 2014.]
Feeding the 5,000 by Mark Robinson
Read: Luke 9:12-17
Luke 9:12-17 records the feeding the 5,000. This miracle is truly amazing, but the timing of this miracle is also worth noting. The feeding of the 5,000 comes right after the disciples had experienced their first taste of real ministry. In Luke 9:1-10, the disciples are sent out by Jesus to preach and perform miracles . . . and they had some success! I can imagine that this group of disciples would have been pretty proud and confident of their ability as they returned to Christ and told Him all that THEY had done ministering to others. That is the canvas on which the miracle of the 5,000 is painted by Christ. Jesus gave the disciples an impossible challenge to make an important point.
Scholars estimate that 13,000 hungry people (5,000 men) gathered on a hillside and listen to Jesus preach. As Jesus surveys this scene, He gives the disciples an unusual command, “You give them something to eat.” Surely Jesus knew that the disciples did not have enough food to feed this crowd, so why did He ask? I think Jesus asked because He wanted the disciples to realize that humanly speaking, they could do nothing about this problem. Realizing their helplessness, the disciples gave Jesus all that they had: five loaves of bread and two fish. These gifts were more of a declaration of their inability to answer Jesus’s request than anything else. “You give them something to eat,” He asked – “This is all we’ve got and it isn’t enough” was their reply.
In the hands of Christ, however, their meager supplies would prove more than sufficient. Jesus blessed the bread and began to give it to the disciples in baskets to take out and serve the people. There were only 12 disciples serving 13,000 hungry people. It would have taken many, many trips back and forth from Christ to the people in order to transport that much food to the masses. Each trip walking back, the disciples had to wonder if the food had finally been exhausted. But, to their surprise, there was always enough. After the twentieth or thirtieth trip back and forth, it surely would have hit the disciples. Everything they can give to them, they get from Him.
This was a great reminder to a proud group of disciples that any success they had in ministry was not a result of THEIR great power, but of HIS infinite power. The feeding of the 5,000 taught the disciples a lesson: their role in ministry was to simply take the blessing of Christ and deliver it to the people. 2,000 years later, it is our role as well.
We are only able to deliver to people that which we have already received. As you share Christ with a friend, you are simply delivering to them the Bread of Life. As you comfort a hurting person you are simply taking a cup of the Living Water to a person living in a dry and thirsty land. We are only able to give to them what we have received from Him.
- What ministry challenge might God be calling you to?
- Ask God to provide all you need as you minister to those around you.