In our Thursday night Bible study, we were looking at the story of Jesus feeding 5000 men (not counting women and children. The numbers were probably closer to 13,000-15,000) with ONLY five loaves and two fish.
The account is found in Mark 6:35-44 and Matthew 14:13-21. Immediately after this miracle of the multiplication of food for the multitudes, we find Jesus doing a very interesting thing: “Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away.” (Matthew 14:22)
Why do you suppose Jesus sent them away after this great miracle? Why did He stay for probably hours personally sending the people away? Remember in verse 16, Jesus told the disciples, “…you give them something to eat!” And they kind of did that because as Jesus broke the bread and fish He gave the food to the disciples to give to the multitude.
Now, after that kind of crazy experience, I wonder if Jesus didn’t want the disciples to think they had something to do with what just happened. Of course, they had a hand in serving the people, but they were only giving what Jesus gave them to give. God doesn’t need us to help Him, but He chooses to involve us in His work. It’s totally bizarre that He does that. And while I believe He wants us to be conduits of His power, He’s also super careful not to let us get a big head about it.
Now, imagine if the disciples would have stuck around for the thanks and praise of the people; you know, the “Meet and Greet” so-to-speak. Would they have been able to handle it? Who knows. All I know is the Scripture says, “He immediately MADE them get into the boat.” (emphasis mine)
To which I get this saying, “Don’t gloat – get in the boat!” This could go for all of us. When the Lord, by His choice and grace, uses us in the dissemination of some miracle or great work of HIS, let’s consider IMMEDIATELY getting out of the place so that we do not become confused as to what just happened and Whom should get the glory for it. It’s a fact that we’re only giving to people what God has given to us to give to them.
Also, we saw that after Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist (His friend and cousin), He went away by Himself (Matthew 14:13). Anytime I read of Jesus going off by Himself, it’s always to pray. After that time alone, He healed those who were sick and fed a bunch of people with virtually nothing.
But wait, there’s more! After the feeding and sending the multitudes away, He then went to a mountain to PRAY again (Matthew 14:23). And after that prayer, we see Him walking on water in the middle of a storm!
That’s right. Miracles are sandwiched in between prayers. WHAAAAT??
So, a couple of take-aways from last Thursday’s Bible study:
- After a great time of ministry “Don’t gloat – get in the boat,” and let Jesus send the crowds away so He can get the glory.
- If we want to eat miracle sandwiches on a regular basis, we had better be spending a whole lot of time with the Bread of Life in prayer.
Shalom to all of you!