By Joshua Franks
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Bruceton
Focal Passage: Mark 6:34-44
One of the great things about having boys is that I get to relive my childhood through them. They love many of the same things I loved growing up. They love sports. They love fishing. And they especially love super heroes.
One of our favorites is Spiderman. If you’re familiar with the story you’ll recall Uncle Ben’s words to Peter Parker as he was dying. He said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Those words were the catalyst that turned a kid into a hero.
However, it should be pointed out that those words are essentially a paraphrase of what Jesus said in Luke 12:48. “To whom much is given, much is required.” It’s the idea that we will be held accountable for how we use what Jesus has given us.
That idea is on full display at one of the most amazing miracles that our Lord performed. In the feeding of the 5,000 we see just how much Jesus provides and what is required from us because of it.
As the story begins, Jesus arrives on the shore of the Sea of Galilee somewhere near the village of Bethsaida.
There was a massive crowd that came out to meet Him. And the first thing we see is a provision for compassion (Mark 6:34).
Jesus has compassion on everyone. Regardless of race, creed, color, size, or shape God is a God of grace. And Jesus looked at the crowd and had compassion on them because “they were like sheep without a shepherd” (v. 34). That is a very dramatic picture. Sheep without a shepherd will die. They can’t feed themselves. They can’t protect themselves. They can’t care for themselves.
So, Jesus had compassion on them physically. But before He provides food for them, He has compassion on them spiritually. He gives a provision for truth. Verse 34 tells us that He taught them many things. Before dealing with their physical problems, Jesus shared the soul changing truths of the gospel.
Then, He makes a provision for food. The crowd is hungry. The disciples have no way of feeding them, so Andrew comes up with a novel solution. He finds a child and steals the Captain D’s snack pack that his momma had sent with him. And Jesus took that and blessed it and broke it until everyone had eaten all they could possibly eat.
It’s an amazing miracle. But there is one final provision that the miracle points toward. There is a provision for salvation. You would think that witnessing the amazing power of Jesus would be enough to spark a revival in Bethsaida. But that didn’t happen. The next morning the crowds were back — and they wanted breakfast.
This time Jesus said no. “You must eat and drink of Me. I am the bread of life.” He was pointing to the fact that we have to have more than a physical relationship with Him. But the crowd wasn’t interested in that, so “many of his disciples turned back and walked with him no more” (John 6:66).
The display of deity was unmistakable. The crowd saw Jesus do an amazing miracle but refused to believe in Him. So, Jesus pronounced a curse on them (Luke 10:13-16). He said that judgment is greater on those who have received more.
There’s more to this story than an amazing miracle. There is also a warning. To whom much is given, much is required.