This week’s passage from Mark is probably one you’re quite familiar with. Jesus and the crowd of 5,000 men, plus women and children, is caught on a lakeside pasture in the middle of nowhere and it is getting late. The crowd will need to be fed because Jesus has spent all day preaching and now there is little time left for them to return home or to a village to find a meal. The disciples tried to warn Jesus but now He puts it back on them. “You give them something to eat,” Jesus says. Of course to feed a crowd like this would require the equivalent of 8 months worth of wages, and there’s no way the disciples have that kind of money after just returning from a trip in which Jesus told them to leave without their wallets. What to do? Well Jesus just needs to cook up (no pun intended – well maybe a little) a miracle and he does. He turns fives loaves of bread and two fish into enough food to feed about 20,000 people with a little left over. Well if we leave the story at that, we end up equating it to the story of the wedding reception where Jesus turned the water into wine. But Mark, and Jesus, are making a much bigger statement about what that means for those who follow Him. I believe that Mark wants us to know that Jesus is the Good Shepherd who knows and compassionately cares for His sheep. We get that view by looking at the qualities of the Good Shepherd.
As you meditate on this week’s passage, also consider looking up verses containing the words “shepherd” and “sheep” in a Bible concordance or by searching one of the great Bible sites on the web.
Why do you think Jesus said that the crowd was like sheep without a shepherd?
What were Jesus and His disciples up to just prior to being greeted by the 5,000+, and how does that define “compassion” for us?
Knowing how important details are to Mark, why do you suppose he tells us that the grass/pasture was “green” in verse 39? Why were there 12 baskets of food left over?
Please join me in praying for God to strengthen our faith and increase the presence of His kingdom when we gather for worship this coming Sunday. Also, please pray about how you may be able to help us reach out to our community during Old Home Day and through our summer Kid’s Camp. You can read more about those ministry opportunities in the right hand column. There are plenty of ways for everyone to get involved.