So In Mark 6 Jesus fed the multitudes with five loaves and two fish. There were twelve baskets leftover. In Mark 7, they panic when Jesus walks by their boat (on the water) during a storm. Mark says that they clearly haven’t learned the lesson from the bread. Apparently the Apostles are supposed to be learning to put their faith in God and quit paying so much attention to the obstacles. In Mark 8 Jesus decides to give them another chance to get the lesson and he now feeds four thousand with seven loaves and a few fish and has seven baskets left over.
So after a quick argument with the Pharisees Jesus and the Apostles get on a boat and they realize that the Apostles forget to bring lunch and there is only a single loaf of bread. As Jesus begins teaching the about how they need to be different from the Pharisees and Herod, he uses leaven as an illustration.
At this point, some Apostle says to another, “What’s he talking about with this leaven of the Pharisees
stuff?” Somebody replies, “I think he is upset we forgot the bread. I mean, how can this many of us eat with only one loaf of bread?”
At this moment Jesus’ head explodes. I can’t even imagine what went through his head in that moment. He cannot fathom that the Apostles are failing to learn the lesson of the bread. So now we review:
Jesus: Remember when I fed five thousand with five loaves? How much was leftover?
Apostles: Twelve baskets. (This is one thousand people per loaf)
Jesus: Remember when I fed four thousand with seven loaves? How much leftover?
Apostles: Seven baskets. (This is only 571 people per loaf.)
Jesus: If I wanted us to eat, don’t you think I could come up with something out of that one loaf? I mean, on my worst day that’s enough to feed 571 people so that should cover the dozen or so of us.
Jesus knows that he is eventually going to leave this group of men and women to trust that God will provide for them no matter what their eyes tell them. They must learn to trust God to overcome any obstacles. As it stands, all they see is obstacles.
Perhaps thats why, immediately after Peter professes his belief that Jesus is the Messiah, that Jesus tells them that he will be taken to Jerusalem and killed and resurrected on the third day. Of course, Peter only sees the obstacle in this. Jesus, however, tells Peter that he is thinking only of human concerns and not the things of God.
One of the hardest things for me to do is to see things God’s way and not my way. I always want plenty of time to plan, to count the cost, to trust in my own ability to overcome what obstacles are ahead of me. And there is value to that, even in scripture. But there is something to be said for trusting always that God will help me overcome whatever obstacles are placed before me.
Like the Apostles, I desperately need to learn the lesson of the loaves if I am going to be a part of growing his Kingdom and doing his work in the world. I need to trust in his power and not mine. I need to put my confidence in God ahead of my fear of whatever the world puts in front of me.