This is one of the popular miracles Jesus performed during His ministry here on earth and I am sure most of us have heard this countless times. I had also read it on numerous occasions till the Lord began to minister to me in another dimension concerning this particular miracle.
All the four Gospels (Mathew, Mark, Luke and John) give an account of this miracle. However, for this purpose, we will be looking at the account given by Mark. First of all let me take you back to the events preceding this miracle.
Earlier on, Jesus had returned to His own country after healing Jairus’s daughter (Mark 5:21-43) He had gone to the Synagogue to teach. People doubted and questioned his authority. They began to judge him by his background.
3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph,Judas and Simon?Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
Because of their lack of faith, he could not perform any miracle there.
5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands ona few sick people and heal them.6 He was amazed at their lack of faith.
Mark 6: 5-6
Jesus called the twelve apostles and began to send them out two by two. He gave them the authority and power over unclean spirits. He also gave them specific instructions.
7 Calling the Twelve to him,he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. 8 These were his instructions:“Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts.9 Wear sandals but not an extra shirt.10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town.11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
Mark 6: 7-11
Basically this implied no distractions. They had been sent out for a purpose and theirs was to go and accomplish it. After all, they were well armed with the authority and power bestowed on them by the Lord.
The apostles returned from their assignment and reported to Jesus all that they had taught. Jesus asked them to rest because they had been so busy there was no time to even eat. This teaches us the importance of resting after an assignment (Mark 6:30 -32)
However, as they were on their way to a quiet solitary place to rest, they were recognised by many people (I believe these were some of the people they had earlier on preached to). They got ahead of Jesus and his disciples. By the time they arrived at their destination of rest, a crowd was already awaiting them. I am sure the disciples might have been a bit disappointed as their rest had been interrupted. Jesus looked at the crowd and had compassion on them. He must have felt their need. They had run to be ahead of them just so they could be ministered to.
34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.So he began teaching them many things.
Here comes the portion that blows my mind. I am not sure whether after hours of teaching, the crowd complained they were hungry but scriptures tells us that the disciples asked Jesus to send the crowd away to buy for themselves something to eat. Now, notice the response of Jesus:
37 But he answered,“You give them something to eat.” (NIV)
37But He replied to them, Give them something to eat yourselves (AMP)
There is something ‘deep’ about this statement but the disciples did not understand what Jesus really meant. So they responded in exasperation I believe:
“That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”
Jesus responded: 38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked.“Go and see.” (Mark 6:38a).Whilst studying the scriptures, I began to wonder…where was these loaves Jesus was talking about coming from? Then I caught the revelation. Remember earlier on, the disciples were hungry and tired. They were going away to have something to eat and rest before the crowd besieged them. During the time Jesus was teaching the crowd, I believe they had the opportunity to eat. Jesus knew this and that is why he had admonished the disciples in Mark 6:37 to give them something to eat themselves. You see Jesus was talking on another level. He also knew He had given them the power and authority they needed (Mark 6:8-11) to use whatever they had to satisfy their needs.
The disciples did as instructed:When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”(Mark 6:38b).
Jesus took what the disciples had, blessed it and it was used to serve the crowd- Five thousand in number! As scripture tells us they all ate and were satisfied. The disciples even collected twelve baskets full of broken pieces of bread and fish! What an awesome God we serve.
Dear friend, if God is going to bless you He is going to use whatever you have. Cast your mind back at the encounter between Elijah and the widow of Zarephath. This was a poor widow who was in a land where there was famine. All she had left was only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. Yet, this was her point of contact for a miracle in her life.
11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”
12“As surely as theLordyour God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oilin a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”
13Elijah said to her “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son.14 For this is what theLord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day theLordsends rain on the land.’’
1Kings 17:12 -13
Our God is truly amazing. He is very much interested in our character and would mould us till we attain where He wants us to be. He is also very patient with us. I have come to realise that just as in life you crawl before you walk so it is with spiritual principles. In fact, the spiritual is what determines the physical and not the other way round. If you have not passed your exams, how on earth can you move to the next level? So it was with the disciples, this miracle had occurred, everyone was amazed but there was still something Jesus wanted them to learn and they hadn’t quite gotten it. So there was another test.
Jesus instructed his disciples to get into the boat and go ahead of him to Bethsaida.
45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boatand go on ahead of him to Bethsaida,while he dismissed the crowd.46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
At fourth watch of the night, there was a storm on the boat. I am sure Jesus knew this would happen. After all, He is Omniscient. He wanted to see how the disciples will handle the situation. Remember, the disciples were people Jesus had chosen to help in his ministry on Earth. Jesus knew his time was short and it was imperative the disciples were well grounded to continue the ministry after his death and resurrection.There was a bigger picture. The total Salvation of Mankind!
47Now when evening had come, the boat was out in the middle of the lake, and He was by Himself on the land48And having seen that they were troubled and tormented in [their] rowing, for the wind was against them, about the fourth watch of the night [between 3:00-6:00 a.m.] He came to them, walking [directly] on the sea. And He acted as if He meant to pass by them
Mark 6:47- 48(AMP)
Yes, there was a storm alright but Jesus wanted his disciples to handle the situation. They already had the power (Mark 6: 7).Here a storm can represent any situation that hinders or retards your progress. As Christians, there will be storms in our lives but we have the power to overcome.
50For they all saw Him and were agitated (troubled and filled with fear and dread). But immediately He talked with them and said, Take heart! I AM! Stop being alarmed and afraid.51And He went up into the boat with them, and the wind ceased sank to rest as if exhausted by its own beating). And they were astonished exceedingly [beyond measure],52For they failed to consider or understand [the teaching and meaning of the miracle of] the loaves; [in fact] their hearts had grown callous [had become dull and had lost the power of understanding].
Mark 6:50- 52(AMP)
I just love the way the Amplified version puts this scripture. As soon as Jesus entered the boat the wind ceased. Not just that but note the description: as if exhausted by its own beating. When you invite Jesus into your situations, the storms will have no choice but cease. The disciples could have calmed the storm themselves by using what they already had – THE POWER, AUTHORITY.
What is it that is troubling you? What is it that has become like a permanent stumbling block in your life? May be you have even accepted it as your ‘fate’! NO! – You ARE a child of GOD! There is nothing like fate! The finished work of CHRIST speaks for us. It is done, it’s been accomplished! Your healing, Your breakthrough, Your financial blessings, Your marital blessing, you name it… IT’S BEEN ACCOMPLISHED! All you have to do is to believe and enjoy the blessings. Walk in those blessings. The question is but why the struggle? Yes, there will be opposition. Remember the bible warns us in 1 Peter 5:8 that ouradversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. The fact is we are in warfare and it is a spiritual one. But we already know who will win because Christ has already won the battle for us. The devil is already a defeated foe. What he does is to act on your ignorance and frustrate you. He only delays and retards your progress so you cannot enjoy the blessings.
I encourage you to rely on the Holy Spirit for strength and stand firm. Do not allow the enemy to deprive you of any blessings. Rise up in the fullness of Power and take what belongs to you. May the God of Love and Peace abide with us and may the Holy Spirit who is our strength, comforter and advocator help us as we take our rightful places. Amen.
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle see His banners go!
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
At the sign of triumph Satan’s host doth flee;
On then, Christian soldiers, on to victory!
Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise;
Brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise.
God bless you!
Lyrics of hymns: http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Onward_Christian_Soldiers/
Unless otherwise stated all scriptures were quoted from NIV bible