By Robert Halsey Pine
“… Jesus said to them, ‘Why are you talking about having no bread? … When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?’ They said to him, ‘Twelve.’ ‘And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?’ And they said to him, ‘Seven.’ Then he said to them, ‘Do you not yet understand?’” (Mark 8:11-26 NRSV).
The disciples had brought only one loaf of bread with them on the boat trip with Jesus to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus made a comment to them saying, “Watch out – beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.” They thought that He was commenting on the lack of bread. Prior to leaving in the boat Jesus had been challenged by the Pharisees to show them a sign from heaven. Jesus’ comments to the disciples about the yeast of these non-believers was a caution to them about their crafty ways.
Jesus was concerned that somehow it had not registered with the disciples just what God had done through Him in the feeding of thousands with a few loaves of bread. Miracles were happening right before their eyes, and they didn’t get it. Instead they worried about the one loaf not being enough even after the previous miraculous provision by Jesus. They were so familiar with Jesus that they failed to realize what they were a part of with Him.
We tend to take God for granted. Sure, we have our share of problems, but we are fortunate in that God comforts us and provides a way of dealing with things. Many times, we give up hope, never thinking of the power and love of God that is there for us. Our faith is weak, and we just don’t see a solution. This is because we are lacking in a daily relationship with the Lord. When trouble comes, we do better if the Lord is already right there with us. His readiness is directly proportional to the status of our commitment to him.
Unlike the natural world trips that we take, we don’t have to pack anything for our journey with God. Through Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we have all that we need. In chapter 6, verses 7-9 (NRSV), St. Mark tells us about Jesus sending the disciples out two by two and giving them authority over the unclean spirits. Mark said, “He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics.” Jesus had an idea that God would provide for them as they did His work. We are challenged to “Go as we are” and spread the good news.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.