Journal Mark 8 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, ‘I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three (3!!) days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way…and some have come from far away.’” Mark 8:1-3
Observation: Sometimes the Bible recounts a head-scratcher or two in presenting a story. This is how I train to read and not skip over a scene of interest.
Application: Journaling can be fun. A sense of humor helps a lot.
I have read this story forever…and I did not see this until this afternoon.
Notice these 3 points:
- A great crowd has gathered, 4,000 in all.
- They have been with Jesus and the disciples for 3 days; 3 mornings, 3 afternoons, 3 evenings, 3 camp-outs under the stars.
- Jesus notices after 3 days nobody has anything to eat. (Is he concerned about the local Jewish Civil Liberties Union calling him liable for not feeding these folks?)
I remember this isn’t the first time a mass feeding event happened (Mark 6:34-44) and it was 5,000, feeding them after only an afternoon of teaching.
The process of feeding was similar. Jesus to the disciples: “Wadda ya got?” Disciples: “I have some bread here, and he has some fish.” Jesus: “Let me bless it and youse guys start passing it out. After they are all done, police the area, respect the land and don’t leave trash on the ground.”
In the Mark 6 episode, the disciples picked up 12 bags of bread and fish scraps. In the Mark 8 episode, 7 bags of bread and fish scraps.
So, what pops out at me? Note: this is the process that individual journaling takes. Journaling is not a “teaching moment” for other people; it is a discovery moment for my own eyes, mind, and heart.
I noticed the following:
- These stories are pretty familiar to me. I am tempted to say to myself, “Nothing to see here, move along, move along.” But that attitude is of no value for a wanna-be disciple to the face in the mirror.
- I remembered that I read something like the Mark 8 feeding before. Yep, it happened just two chapters back, in Mark 6. What were the similarities? What were the differences?
- I saw further in Mark 8 that Jesus basically called the disciples knuckleheads. I looked at this:
“Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember?
When I broke the 5 loaves for the 5,000, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” [The disciples] said to him, “12.” [Jesus continued], “And the 7 for the 4,000…how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” [The disciples] said to [Jesus], “7.”
And [Jesus] said to them, “Do you not yet understand??” Mark 8:18-21
- There is still that 3 day delay in feeding the second group that is a puzzle. Don’t know why; I don’t know if that is significant. There may be a numerologist somewhere that would equate that with three days in the grave—I am not buying that.
When I am reading the Scriptures, there can be a tendency to gloss over the mundane to get to the juicy parts, the eye-candy, the Sunday School stories and bumper sticker/wall hanging stuff. Ok, that is normal.
But I cannot stop there. All of the Scripture is the Living Word of God, pulsating with life and promise and hope. This is the meat of meditation and reflection AND conversation with each other.
Conversing is not teaching, but it is testifying of what has been learned, in a manner of suggestion to one another and not with authority as to clamp down on thinking. Always conversation should be with scripture references and backup, as in the manner of the Bereans (Acts 17).
Prayer: Father, I know that I have a tendency to command, knowing also that I don’t have prescribed authority to command. Remind me, O Holy Spirit, to be gentle, persuasive, holding to godly doctrine. Thank you for letting me practice on my wife, giving her patience with being my test subject.
Ricky Two Shoes