Once again a huge crowd had followed them, and they had nothing to eat. So Jesus called His disciples together.

Jesus: These people have been with Me for three days without food. They’re hungry, and I am concerned for them. If I try to send them home now, they’ll faint along the way because many of them have come a long, long way to hear and see Me.

Disciples: Where can we find enough bread for these people in this desolate place?

Mark 8:1-4

We’re sometimes very hard on the Disciples because it’s easy to look back at the whole gospel story. We have the New Testament neatly gathered and organised; with footnotes to the Old Testament and commentaries by learned scholars. It makes it easy for us to see clearly who Jesus was. It’s very easy for us to recognise what they so often failed to – Jesus is the Son of God, the promised Messiah, the Saviour of the world.

This quote from the Gospel follows hard on the stories Mark recounts of Jesus feeding 5000, healing a deaf-mute and the Disciples themselves having gone out and done the works of the Kingdom. But they weren’t able to say “hey, we’ve seen this before, I know what to do…” Instead, Jesus had to show them again.

Before we get too judgemental about their lack of faith, lack of understanding, lack of belief let’s take another look at what makes it so easy for us to criticise them; our knowledge and understanding of God gained from several sources. The Bible beautifully wrapped in leather, gilt-edged in our homes. The accounts of 2000 years of Christian activity. The easy access to other Christians and good teaching from our pastors. These things, combined with the Holy Spirit who lives within us (remember He hadn’t yet descended on the Disciples back then), mean our lives could be abuzz with us doing things like Jesus did….

Oh. I wonder if that thought made you take a moment like it did me? The Disciples should have known better, they were right there with a living breathing Christ. They could touch Him physically, hear Him audibly and see Him in real time. But we also have all we need for life and godliness. The things I listed above make it easy for us to step out in faith – or should. Jesus said that we would do the things He did AND even greater things.

If we have experienced God’s love then we should be ready to show it to others. If we have seen His provision then we should be ready to share His provision with others. If we have seen healing we should be ready to heal in His name. This abundant life that Jesus gives to those who believe isn’t meant to be hoarded or shared only amongst ourselves. It is meant to be shared, proclaimed, lavished on those around us – both believers and non-believers.

Our life is abundant because of Him so let’s not hold back, but let it shine. Spread it lavishly around us so everyone we meet can know that God is alive, good and One who loves them.

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