Linda Wood Rondeau

Preparing the Sacrifice

FEED MY SHEEP
Monday, July 10, 2023 by Linda Wood Rondeau

BY LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

Luke 9:1-17

 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases,  and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.  So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere. (Luke 9:1-2,6 NIV).

When the disciples returned from their period of mission work,  they reported all they had done. Then Jesus led them to “a private place belonging to the city called Bethsaida” (v 10). Perhaps the disciples looked forward to a  quiet retreat and respite. Though their faith had been stretched, perhaps they looked forward to a break in the action. But the crowds heard where Jesus was and followed him there (v 11). I believe Jesus knew what lay ahead and the throng was not a surprise to him. Rather than send them away, Jesus preached and healed into the heat of the day.

I imagine the disciples were weary. Maybe they resented the crowds. “Didn’t we do enough miracles in Jesus's name? Don’t we deserve a long rest? Don’t we deserve a big royalty check for all we’ve done?”

As the day tarried into the afternoon, the disciples urged Jesus to send the crowd away so they could buy food and find lodging because they were in a remote place (v12).  

Jesus said, “You give them something to eat” (v13).

The disciples were anxious.  They had only five loaves and two fishes to offer and the crowd numbered 5,000 men. We can assume the number was nearly doubled if women and children were counted. The disciples worried they’d have to go into the city and buy what was needed. Did the treasury hold enough?

Jesus did not rest on the miracles of yesterday. The people needed to be fed today. At the Lord’s command, in spite of their anxiety, doubt, and frustration, the disciples brought the meager supply to the Lord of the Universe. Everyone had all they wanted to eat, and what was left over was greater than what was first offered, twelve baskets, one for each disciple (v 17).

As writers, commissioned to spread the Gospel message through the written word, we sometimes experience surges of productivity as God sends us out to various avenues of publication. Sometimes, like the disciples, we are rejected and cast out. Other times, we witness God at work as the fruit of our efforts takes hold.

We cannot rest on the success of the past. Nor can we quit because of a string of what we feel is failure. God needs us today to feed his people. Our meager offering may be a note of encouragement to a friend experiencing a difficult time, a review of another author’s work, a blog post, a podcast episode, or a social media post of encouragement. We may feel these small morsels are insufficient. We may feel weary of doing something we see as trivial. Yet we hear the Lord’s command. “You give them something to eat.”

And still, he supplies in ways we could never have imagined. We can trust God will use whatever we bring to him, regardless of how small or insignificant our offering seems to us.

“This incident is filled with significance for disciples who are charged with the evangelization of the world. The five thousand represent lost humanity, starving for the bread of God. The disciples picture helpless Christians with seemingly limited resources, but unwilling to share what they have. The Lord’s command, “You give them something to eat” is simply a restatement of the great commission. The lesson is that if we give Jesus what we have, He can multiply it to feed the spiritually hungry multitude.”*

*The Believer’s Commentary, William MacDonald, Thomas Nelson, 1995, 1992, 1990, 1989 pp 1401-1402

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