I preached on Sunday at the King's Arms about the feeding of the 4000 (Mark 8). It's such a familiar passage. Many of us know the gist of it. If we don't know the feeding of the 4000, I'm sure we will have heard about when Jesus fed the 5000. The story is basically the same:
- A crowd was following Jesus and they ran out of food.
- Jesus told His disciples to give them something to eat
- The disciples freaked out
- Jesus asked them what food they could find, and they gave Him some bread and fish
- Jesus looked to His Father and blessed the food and handed it to His disciples to distribute.
- Everyone in the crowd ate as much as they wanted
- The disciples picked up LOTS of leftovers.
On Sunday I encouraged everyone listening to connect with the story as if they were hearing it for the very first time. It's so easy to get overfamiliar with some of the more well-known stories in scripture. When we do, we miss the incredible truth that is there for us to see, and that will change us if we allow it to.
One of the things God highlighted afresh to me as I read this passage is that NOTHING is impossible for Him.
NOTHING is impossible for God!
I don't know about you, but I have noticed an internal tussle in my heart for faith over this past year. We have been surrounded, for a long time now. by news of death and sickness. As a result, fear and anxiety has been fuelled. There has been a huge emphasis on science and statistics - and although I am obviously hugely grateful to the scientists who have helped us navigate the pandemic - all this information has fought for my focus and attention, and when I've looked at it and digested it, I've felt my faith start to shrink.
My question for us today is: What are we looking at? I believe that God is inviting us to lift our gaze and fix our eyes on Him. The unchanging truth is, nothing is impossible for God!
In this story in scripture we see Jesus feed a crowd of 4000 - plus women and children - with 7 loaves of bread and a few small fish! Everyone ate as much as they wanted, and then the disciples collected 7 large baskets of leftovers! Jesus does a staggering miracle. He looked up to His Father and did what was impossible in the natural.
Even though the disciples had seen Him feed the 5000 just a few chapters before in Mark's gospel, we still see them freak out at the prospect of providing food for the crowd. Had they already forgotten what Jesus had done or what He was able to do? Even if they hadn't forgotten deep down, in the moment, their focus was on the need around them - which overwhelmed them - rather than on the Father and His ability.
The truth is that we are not so different from the disciples
How many times have you experienced God's faithfulness, His kindness, His answers to your prayers, and yet when you find yourself in another situation that needs a miracle, you freak out and feel overwhelmed? I have been there more times than I'd like to admit. In these situations we find ourselves looking at the wrong things. Our focus is on what's going on around us - the impossible need, the stats, the news - rather than on the one who has conquered death and loves to work miracles.
The truth is that Jesus is on the throne. He has been raised up to the highest place, far above every principality and power. He has the name that is above every other name. He is King of King's and Lord of Lord's and His Kingdom is forcefully advancing on the earth. Jesus has ALL power and ALL authority. He is Healer and Provider and Comforter and Peace. He is the resurrection and the life and He promises us life in abundance. And the most brilliant news is that this stuff is always true, no matter what circumstances we face.
So, what are you looking at? Where is your focus? Have you, like me, felt your faith shrink as you've engaged with the news narrative over the last year? Jesus is inviting us in this season to lift our eyes and fix them on His unchanging nature. It's time to remember who He is and what He's capable of and to interpret what's happening around us through that truth.
I have a few mountains in my life at the moment that need a staggering miracle to see them shift. I'm sure you do too. Let's make a decision together to lift our eyes above the mountains and to look at Jesus. Let's tell our mountains about our God and keep our hearts focussed on the truth of His victory and His ability. He's done it before and He can do it again. And the truth is that He's not only able but He's willing too.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121: 1-2
Wendy Mann Equip | www.wendymannequip.com
Building Family, Prioritising God's Presence, Extending God’s Kingdom