Remember when Jesus told his disciples their hearts were hard? Was it because they were evil? Was it because they kept sinning? Nope. I'm going to take you through Mark 6 to show you the answer. The progression we see the disciples go through in Mark 6 is insightful, see if it applies to your life.
- Jesus gives his disciples the power to heal people and cast out devils
- They come back to Jesus all excited and tell him it's working
- They get in a boat and go preach to thousands of people
- After they preach Jesus tells his disciples to feed all those people
- They respond with, "it'll take 6 months to make enough money."
- Jesus then feeds probably 20,000 people with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread
- That same night the disciples get caught in a storm and are afraid for their lives
- Jesus goes and saves them and tell them not to be afraid
- We're told their hearts were hard because they didn't understand the miracle of the loaves
All of this happened within a matter of days. The same guys who were just healing people and saw one of the most profound miracles in history are described as having hard hearts the very next day. More on that in a minute...
I love this part...
The disciples said "send the people away so they can go eat." Jesus said, "you feed them." The disciples said, "it'll take 6months to make enough money to feed this many people." So Jesus fed them all. paraphrase of Mark 6:36-37
Jesus asked his disciples to do something they thought was impossible. I take a valuable lesson away from this story, if God calls you to do something, he'll provide, every time. It's as simple as that.
The story picks up a little later that same night. Jesus' disciples were in the middle of a lake on a boat and a huge storm came up that made them think they were going to die. Jesus comes walking by on the water and they cry out to him, so he hops in the boat, calms the storm then promptly rebukes them for having hard hearts. The reason their hearts were hard and afraid was that they didn't understand the miracle of the loaves. FASCINATING!
Do You Understand?
The word "understand" is the Greek word syniēmi which is pronounced soo-nee’-uh-mē. It means to set or join together in the mind. They had not joined together in their mind the storm they were facing and the miracle they had just seen. Apparently, Jesus expected the miracle to teach them a lesson.
What do you think that lesson should have been? What would you have learned from watching Jesus feed nearly 20,000 people with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread? How does that miracle apply to your life today?
If we look a little deeper into the word "afraid" we gain more insight. The definition of afraid is to be seized with alarm. The word seized means to be stuck or jammed. The word alarm is an anxious awareness of danger. The disciples were stuck due to their anxious awareness of danger. Does that ever happen to you? You feel like you're stuck, afraid and confused, not knowing your next decision? According to Jesus, you should have learned something from the miracle of the loaves that is greater than the fear.
Mark 6:47 Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.
A lack of understanding results in a hard and fearful heart.
What didn't they understand?
- They didn't understand who Jesus is.
- They didn't understand that Jesus desires to provide for and protect them.
- They didn't understand that Jesus was willing to be their shelter.
- They didn't understand that Jesus had power over the elements of this earth.
- They were more aware of their circumstance than the character and willingness of God to be God for them at that moment.
Does any of that relate to what you're facing in life? God gave us great and precious promises so we would partake of his divine nature. He gave us his life essence, he washed us clean and promised the gift of eternal life...those are the things we must understand about God.
Jesus Is Powerful Over Creation
The last point I believe the disciples didn't understand about the miracle of the loaves was the supremacy of Jesus over creation. His pupils had just watched Jesus multiply food and calm a storm, the greatest lesson to learn and point to understand is that Jesus is Lord over creation, it obeys him, it responds to him. It doesn't mean he's controlling everything that happens but it does mean that he can give the created realm instructions and it will respond to his will.
What's even more profound is that every time Jesus displays this kind of supremacy over life and creation, it's for the benefit of mankind.
- He never creates storms, he calms them.
- He never causes sickness, he heals.
- He never takes away a provision, he supplies more than enough.
- He never incites fear, he instructs to not be afraid.
- He never causes confusion, he says don't worry.
So you have a choice, will you understand the miracle of the loaves? What does that understanding mean to your life? Do you know who Jesus is in the midst of your storm? WIll you let go of fear, become unstuck and allow Jesus to get in your boat and be God for you?