Day 17: Food that satisfies
'He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people, and they did so. They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. The people ate and were satisfied.' Mark 8:6-8
Anyone who knows me reasonably well knows that I can consume large amounts of food. I’ve had a massive appetite since I was a child. I can eat and eat and eat and I enjoy it. I often use the excuse that I don’t like waste to polish off the scraps left on other people’s plates at meal times. Over the years I’ve been known as a glutton, a gannet, and the bin. My family often used to be embarrassed by me when we went out for meals because I ate as if I had never been fed before. No matter how much I had consumed, I never seemed to be satisfied.
In Mark chapter 8, a crowd has been following Jesus for three days and they have nothing to eat. Jesus knows the crowd is hungry and, in his compassion, he doesn’t want to send them home hungry because they may faint on the way. The disciples question Jesus on how he plans to feed them in this desolate place. They have quickly forgotten that only two chapters ago, in Mark 6, Jesus fed at least 5000 with five loaves and two fish. Now they are in a very similar situation.
Jesus finds out they have seven loaves and a few small fish to go round this crowd. He blesses the food and has it distributed among this crowd which amounts to 4000 people. Amazingly, just like the previous mass feeding in Mark 6, every one of these 4000 hungry souls are fed and are satisfied. From those seven loaves and a few small fish there was more than enough to go round with seven baskets full leftover.
But why would Mark record two very similar miracles in his Gospel? Why would Jesus perform such similar miracles of mass feedings? Would one not have been enough? Here is the point; When Jesus fed 5000, this miracle was performed in Jewish territory where Jews were being fed and satisfied. Here in Mark 8, Jesus is in Gentile territory where it is Gentiles who are being fed and satisfied. This might not mean much to us, but for the people in Jesus’ day this was massive. Jews and Gentiles were poles apart. They hated each other. The Jews looked on Gentiles as vermin and would wipe their feet after leaving Gentile soil. However, Jesus has come to satisfy the spiritual hunger of Jews and Gentiles.
Jesus, the bread of life, has come to nourish the souls of those once sworn enemies. The Gospel is for all people. For Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, black and white, working class, middle class and upper class. The bread that Jesus gives will not just sustain and satisfy people until their next meal, they will never be spiritually hungry again. In John 6:35 Jesus says, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
You might have woken up this Monday morning feeling down, or depressed, or anxious. You might have got up feeling sick with Covid19 or fed up being in lockdown. Maybe you feel flat with life and work, and the mundane routine of the everyday grind. No matter what is going on for us today, no matter how we are feeling, no matter our background or our culture or our class,If we are in Christ, we can be satisfied because Jesus is enough. He is the only One who can satisfy the longings and spiritual hungers of the soul.
He was enough, he is enough, he will always be enough! Seek Him, pray to him, worship him, glorify him!
Passage for today: Mark 8:1-21
A thought to remember: Jesus satisfies ANYONE who comes to him, no matter their background.
A question to ask: What other things do you try and find satisfaction in instead of Jesus?
A song to sing: Christ is mine forevermore