The feeding of the 5,000 is an oft-discussed miracle, but have you read the one in which he feeds the 4,000?
What struck me in this account was not the greatness of the miracle, but the severe memory loss of Jesus’ disciples.
Here is the account:
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 days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.”
And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?”
And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?”
They said, “Seven.”
And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. And they ate and were satisfied.
And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away.
Mark 8:1-9 ESV
Every time I read this passage, I get a sense of deja-vu. This reads a lot like the Feeding of the 5,000 in Mark 6. The only thing missing is a generous little boy.
Desolate place? Check!
Colossal crowd of hungry people? Check!
A small amount of Bread and fish? Check!
A ridiculous amount of leftovers? Check!
Notice what the disciples say in verse 4: “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?”
Shouldn’t they be saying, “Hey, remember how we fed 5,000 men (plus women and children) with only 5 loaves and 2 fish? Are you willing to do that again, Lord? We have seven loaves and a few small fish!”
The disciples seemed to suffer from either amnesia or short-term memory loss. If Jesus had the urge to cover His face with His hands and sigh, it would’ve been here! Jesus had performed an inconceivable miracle when He fed the people the first time. They had seen Him do many other signs and wonders. At this point, they should be thinking to themselves, “there’s nothing He can’t do!”
And yet, they doubted. They forgot the amazing power of the Lord.
Do you suffer from short-term memory loss?
How often has God done amazing things in your life? How often do you forget those things at the first sign of a challenge?
I’d like to think I wouldn’t be as dense as the disciples, but I know that there have been many times when I have done exactly the same thing. We need to make it a point to regularly give thanks for the things God has done for us in the past.
Why do you think God commanded the Israelites of the Old Testament to set up memorials? He knew how forgetful we humans can be. He knows we need help.
If you are faced with insurmountable challenges, take time to make a list of the amazing things God has done. Lay out your list before the Lord, give thanks to Him in prayer. Then, ask Him to help you climb this mountain just like He’s done before for you and the countless other faithful who have come before.
Our God is powerful. Trust Him to help you!