Next week we are reading and discussing one more miracle of Jesus — the feeding of a large crowd in the wilderness (Mark 8:1-10). I don’t know about you, but this scene always brings tears to my eyes in any “Jesus” movie I watch. So go ahead and register here for the upcoming GROW Bible Study, whether you want to participate on Zoom or in-person!
Here is some food for thought before we get together on Wednesday night. That huge crowd did not get hungry because Jesus and his disciples forgot to arrange for the food trucks to be there for the three-day revival. Wouldn’t that be cool though — “Jesus and Fish Tacos”? The majority of people in Jesus’ world lived in constant hunger. Most small farm families, widows, orphans, disabled people, and daily laborers slipped under subsistence level, meaning that they slowly starved to death. Some farmers, artisan workers, merchants, and small shop owners were able to feed themselves and their families, but not regularly. They were one disaster or accident away from starvation. Most of the people we meet in the gospels, including Jesus, his disciples, and their families, have experienced prolonged hunger. The Son of Almighty God knew well what hunger felt like!
When Jesus fed the crowd until “they were filled” (Mark 8:8), he showed them what the Kingdom of God is like and how different it is from the cruel world in which they lived. Jesus did not give them a long theology lesson about the abundance of grace in the Kingdom of God. Instead, he let them experience this abundance with their filled stomachs! God’s goodness and grace were given to all, no matter their status or ability to earn wages. And it was given freely! They even had a ton of leftovers!
That is why I cry each time I see this scene. I am reminded that I am part of God’s family, and His grace is abundant to fulfill my needs and sustain me, even in the most challenging times.
I invite you to join our discussion on Wednesday at 6:30 pm. Rev. Lance Marshall, Rev. Phyllis Barren, Dr. Mike Marshall, and I will be there to welcome you and facilitate our small group conversations.
Dr. Zhenya Gurina-Rodriguez
Associate Pastor of Grace Groups & Discipleship