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  • Bob Burk

Lent Day 23

Scripture: Mark 6:30–46

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”

They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages[a]! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”

38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”

When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”

39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

Jesus Walks on the Water

45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.

Today's Meditation: 

When the 12 disciples returned to report to Jesus the results of their commissioned ministries to the surrounding settlements, there was so much commotion around Jesus that he invited them to slip away to a quiet place to rest. But because they were spotted in the getaway craft, on landing they found their “quiet place” staked out by 5000 men and unspecified number of women and children. Instead of escaping to an alternate refuge, Mark reports that Jesus “had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd”.

Compassion is the operative word in this story and all the other stories of Jesus, which was essentially the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy, which Jesus used to start his ministry in Luke 4:18 -19, “ to preach good news to the poor … proclaim freedom for the prisoners ... recovery of sight to the blind…to release the proclaim the Lord’s favor”. Jesus was wholly concerned with every aspect of humanity, and his ministry was completely holistic.

Jesus was certainly in the business of saving souls for eternity, but his compassion also focused on justice and freedom for everyone, and a deep sympathy for the mental, emotional, and physical suffering he witnessed. So in this story, Jesus first addressed the spiritual hunger of the people by “teaching them many things”. But then late in the day, instead of sending them away to get food, as the disciples suggested, he took the five loaves of bread and two fish they had, and miraculously multiplied those meager substances into more than enough to feed the whole host with 12 baskets left over, a very simple problem for the Lord of the universe. And in a few chapters later, Mark’s tells another nearly identical story of the feeding of the four thousand.


Dear Lord, as we prepare for this blessed time in the Christian calendar, we thank you that you are the compassionate Savior of not only our eternal spiritual souls but also that you are

deeply concerned for our temporal human beings as well. Amen.

Norman Baker


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