From Where Can We Get Bread?
Translated by Allan Liang
Mark 8:1-10 This is the second time Jesus performed the miracle of feeding a multitude, this being a practical repeat of the previous miracle. However, when Jesus, out of his concern for the people, asked his disciples to provide for the people, the first response of the disciples was to ask “where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?” This was similar to how the Israelites were led out of Egypt and crossed the red sea, seeing such marvelous miracles before their very eyes, and experiencing for themselves the greatness of God’s work. Yet when facing a lack of food and water in the deserts, they responded with grumbling, and said to Moses and Aaron: “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we water, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” (Exodus 16:3) God heard these words clearly, but did not give to them all that they wanted, having them experience hunger and thirst in order to show to them that He was their only provider. This was done in order to rid them of their reliance on food and material goods resulting from their 400 year stay in Egypt, and by a renewal of heart, have them put their lives in the hands of God who is the creator and sustainer of all life. In this materialistically oriented world, we must think carefully and examine whether we have fallen in the same sins committed by the Israelites in the desert. Has our faith enabled us to see that our only hope, salvation and security comes from God? The disciples witnessed the miracles of Jesus for as long as they stayed with him, this was the second time they witnessed such a miracle. However, the disciples were no different from the first occasion - they knew not what to do. Did they really not remember the miracles experienced last time? Are their eyes really fixated only on the things within the bounds of the material world? When tasked with feeding the people, they forgot that Jesus was whom they ought to have relied upon. They forgot that Jesus once fed over 5000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, with extras remaining. When they saw Jesus walking on the face of the sea, they were greatly frightened, which was very understandable, as they had long forgotten the miracle of Jesus calming the seas of Galilee, where they had experienced their very lives rescued from the throes of death. Jesus was able to, with one command, force demons out of their hosts and heal the sick, and with one command, he had the man paralyzed for 38 years stand up, take his mat and walk. All these things reveal that Jesus is the Lord of life, that he is God, that he is the source of life, and that he is the bread of life. When faced with this pandemic, most people would first ask: where did the virus come from? How did it emerge? Thanks and praise be to our God! Our brothers and sisters are instead asking: behind the surface of the pandemic, what does God want us to know and to learn? Please meditate with prayer: Our lives depend wholly on God, for only He is the Lord of our lives, and our hope comes from him alone! How will this understanding shape our lives and transform it in every possible way?