One of these days you’ll have a driver’s license. What would it be like to try navigating roads and highways if there weren’t any signs?
On the simplest level, a sign is designed to point us in the right direction or provide clear instructions. In the Gospels we see the word “sign” used a lot.
Jesus’ miracles were seen as signs-evidence that God was trying to communicate something.
Last week, we talked about how Jesus healed a demon-possessed man, and as we read today Mark 6 about more miracles, let’s pay special attention to the bigger truths that they are guiding us toward.
Mark 6:30-33 30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. [in verse 6 of this chapter Jesus sends the 12 out in pairs to do ministry; they got out of the classroom and into the battlefield, preaching, casting out demons, and healing people] 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, [they were getting really busy] he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” [how awesome would this be?] 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. [if you were a disciple how would you feel?]
The Disciples Needed Rest
It’s important to stop and rest in the Lord. Sabbath is a big deal and it allows you to rest and recharge and reconnect with God. If you are always “on” you’ll find it hard to be “on fire” for the Lord. Say no to something. Slow down. Get away with Jesus.
And learn from how Jesus responds:
The Disciples Faced Limitations
Mark 6:34-37 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them [compare Jesus’ reaction to what the disciples’ reaction may have been], because they were like sheep without a shepherd [this is a pitiful image; Sheep are easily scattered; without a shepherd they are in grave danger of being eaten or falling off cliffs; Jesus was the Shepherd who could teach them what they needed to know and keep them from straying from God]. So he began teaching them many things.
35 By this time it was late in the day [Jesus had been teaching for several hours] 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 they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” [Food was always sold in village markets, and this countryside was full of villages (so this isn’t a lazy idea); but there is a problem: 1) they were very far from the nearest village, 2) Even the larger villages would have under 3,000 people, so feeding this large crowd would have wiped out any village nearby]
37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.” [how would you have reacted?]
They said to him, “That would take eight months of a man’s wagesa! [doing hard labor] Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” [the disciples were so focused on the immensity of the task they were limited in what they could see was possible with God.]
Natural limitations don’t limit Jesus. Jesus has already overcome bigger things like Satan, sin, and death. He defeated those when He rose from the grave.
If you feel like you have limitations keeping you from God, let me encourage you with this from Romans 8:
31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”l
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,m neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Disciples Witnessed a Miracle
Mark 6:38-44 38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”
When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.” [what kind of tone do you think they used? ALSO: these were barley loaves, which are small and flat. Someone could easily eat more than one in a single meal (think tortillas at Ted’s)]
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 set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, [Jesus feeds the people in two ways: he gave them their fill of food and he also taught them the true Word of God for many hours. Their stomachs and their souls 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. [a lot of people like to include families in this number, as in, a man, his wife, and maybe his kids, so the number is above 10,000 HERE’S WHAT 10,000 PEOPLE LOOK LIKE]
Dieting I’ve been a little hungry. Fasting I’ve felt pretty hungry. But there have been times I’ve been realllllly hungry.
When you’re hungry you start to panic a little bit. The disciples saw this huge crowd and were panicky. I’m sure the thousands of people were murmuring about “so…what’s gonna happen for dinner?”
But again, Jesus doesn’t panic. He responds in compassion. And we see that nothing is too big or too small for Jesus. He shows that in the way he feeds the people.
He provided for their basic need of food.
Maybe you have a need in your life, as small as needing a few bucks to participate in Night of Impact or as large as needing healing, like we talked about last week. Nothing is too big or too small for Jesus to notice or handle.
But he also provided for their spiritual need of hearing the Word of God.
Maybe you’re trying to figure out which book of the Bible to read next or maybe you’ve never opened a Bible for yourself. Nothing is too big or too small for Jesus. His Word will change you no matter how much of it you know or how little. Just treat it the same way you treat hunger: and Jesus will feed you.
How Do We Respond To This?
Jesus has power to feed huge crowds even when resources are limited.
Last week we saw Jesus had compassion on a demon-possessed man.
This week we saw that Jesus had compassion on a hungry crowd.
Wherever you are, your story will be met with compassion from a God who cares and a God who heals.
Are you hungry for the things of God? Are you hungry for something in your life to change? Do you feel unsettled about something? Do you feel discontent? Do you feel disconnected? Do you feel overwhelmed? Is there something in your life that seems too big or too strong for you to handle?
Remember: natural limitations don’t limit Jesus.
Nothing is too big or too small for Jesus.
So may you experience the compassion of Jesus in your life today.
May your longing and your hunger be satisfied in Jesus.