January 5, 2016
Today’s gospel: Mark 6:34-44
The work of God is miraculous. The Incarnation, the virgin birth, healings, resurrection–all these are manifestations of an all-powerful God for whom nothing is impossible. Now when we do God’s work under the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, then, if we truly have faith, we also as God’s instruments can do signs and wonders. Healing and mighty deeds are gifts of the Spirit. One who has faith can move mountains. As Jesus raised the dead, so too did Peter and Paul and other saints throughout salvation history.
The basic obstacle is our faith. In accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord, we take on his heart and mind. We let go of the flesh and look to the Spirit. We see things from God’s perspective. We do not allow our human (and fallen) ways of thinking to predominate.
We see this in the feeding of the five thousand. The disciples were concerned about the people and their need for food, so they told Jesus to tell them to go and buy some food to eat (v.35-36). Very practical and reasonable, wasn’t it? Then when Jesus told them to feed the people themselves, they immediately said that was impossible as they had no food (v.37). Very logical, wasn’t it? They did not look beyond their human perceptions. They did not expand their vision to include what God, not they, could do.
Well, we know what Jesus did. He performed a miracle.* He multiplied the five loaves and the two fish and fed 5,000 men, not counting the women and children, and had even more left over (v.41-44). What a miracle! Thus all the people were full, were filled, were fulfilled. Not just with spiritual but also material food.
What is truly important in our work? It is to see “the vast crowd” and to be “moved with pity for them” and begin “to teach them many things” (v.34), starting with introducing them to Jesus. We share Christ so that people might meet and know Christ, and then start to live Christ, so that their lives will be fulfilled. But we need to go about our work with God’s mind and heart, confident of our calling and equipping, and moving forth in the power of the Spirit.
We look at the overall vision, and not be sidetracked by other concerns, important as these concerns are. We know we are called to massive proclamation of the gospel, so we confidently move forward on that, not holding back because there are not enough laborers or not enough financial resources. We move, and we look to God to provide, oftentimes miraculously. This is faith. It includes believing in miracles.
When the disciples approached Jesus to ask him to disperse the people, they said, “This is a deserted place and it is already very late.” (v.35). I tell you, brethren, we today live in a desert rather than the oasis that God intended. The world is in darkness and evil is all around us. We need to help bring the light of Christ into the world to dispel this darkness. We need to do massive evangelization. We are in the end times. It is already very late. We need to work harder and with greater zeal for the Kingdom.
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* By the way, some say that what happened in this incident was that the people shared the provisions that they had actually brought along with them. I strongly disagree with this interpretation. If they had brought food along, would not the disciples have known and actually seen what they had? And if some of them actually brought something for themselves, would they have had enough to share so that all who ate would be satisfied? I dislike this interpretation because it negates the miracle that Jesus wrought. It tries to explain things in purely human terms. This exactly is the problem in doing God’s work. We need to put on God’s mind and believe in miracles, for they do happen.
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God bless you all.
“For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.” (Phil 1:21)
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