I’ve been struggling with the fish and loaves Bible passages for a few years now. I’ve been haunted by own my lack of wisdom and blindness. I am also haunted by the grossly large amount of money spent on ministry and how little fruit is bore in the name of Jesus.
Mark 8:14-21, particularly has been a challenge. What was Jesus trying to teach the disciples? What did He want them to understand? How many of us in the church today could be stoned under the law? I awoke this morning and was assured that I could be, and my specific human accusers are of deliberate significance.
Humans can spend all the money in the world on physical churches, ministries, and missions to reach people. They will not fix hunger. They will not fix education. They will not fix equality. The Bible does not promise this. The Bible promises all will only be made right eternally when Jesus returns.
The model in the fish and loaves teachings is that Jesus takes next to nothing, splits it among many and there is an abundance left over. The food is only symbolic of His Word. He feeds and heals people quickly and easily.
Bible Verses and Concepts:
Bible Verses: Exodus 16:1-36
Concept: God provides food when His commands are followed
Bible Verses: Matthew 14:13-21, Matthew 15:32-39, Mark 8:14-21
Concept: Jesus feeds a multitude; Split loaves and fish to feed many
Bible Verse: Matthew 10:14
Concept: Follow God’s direction for timing on when to pursue ministry
Bible Verse: Matthew 5:20
Concept: A Christian’s righteousness must surpass that of the Pharisees and teachers of the law; this is critically important for fighting anti-Semitism
Questions to Consider:
- What other belief systems or sayings have you heard about fishing and feeding people? Does this teaching match what Jesus teaches?
- When Jesus came to Israel, did He fix the existing government and social system in the way the people were expecting? How did He mobilize people? What did He give them physically and verbally?
- Who ultimately feeds the world? Humans or Jesus?
- Are missions working? Is there a different way? Is the primary focus on the Word/Jesus/manna/bread?
- If a mission is not working, at what point does the Bible say to move on? Are you praying for and relying on God’s timing with patience and following His commands?
- How abundant is Jesus’ sacrifice and offer of life? Are there people being overlooked that God may be asking you to reach out to with His word?
- Do you trust that the Word is sufficient enough?
- Do you believe that manna appeared in the desert for the ancient Israelites? Do you believe that God will provide miraculously?
- Is there anything you could be stoned under the law for? Is there anything to repent of and ask forgiveness for? Anyone to make amends with?
Jesus, please take on my sins. Show me where I have accepted your free gift of salvation but have not heeded your words. Show me how to walk and think differently. You saw something in the ancient temple and ancient people and have chosen to make a different kind of temple, assembling your sheep in a different way. I yearn to follow you and be prepared for Judgement Day. Help me to make the necessary sacrifices. Amen.