As we journey through the Witness of Mark, we want to encourage you to first begin with the Daily Reading that will take you through the entire book of Mark. Then, read the First 15 Scripture and Reflection to dive a little deeper into verses from the Daily Reading.
Today's daily reading is: Mark 6:30-56
Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all.
Jesus and his friends had been busy. Mark reports that the apostles had gone out, healed the sick, cast out demons, and announced the kingdom. Jesus listened to them as they told the stories. Mark adds that so many people were coming and going to see Jesus that his company did not even have time to eat. The masses were responding to the message and to the signs of the kingdom. Jesus tried to take the disciples to a quiet place for rest. They needed a break.
Jesus and his friends pushed out onto the lake and took a boat, heading for a solitary place, but the crowds followed them. We are told that people “ran on foot from all the towns” to meet them when they came ashore. Imagine it: the enthusiasm, excitement, and expectation. Put yourself into the scene. Feel your feet on the shore. Keep your eyes on the boat. Hear the sounds of others calling, “There they are!” “Jesus!” “Come ashore!”
While Jesus intended to take the disciples on retreat, instead he looked upon the crowd and “had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6:34). So Jesus began to teach “many things.”
It was getting late, so the disciples came to Jesus and reminded him that the location was remote and their resources were few. The crowds must be hungry, the disciples observed, and they would need to enter the nearby villages to find food. Jesus had a different idea. “You give them something to eat,” Jesus said.
The disciples respond practically and economically. A man would have to give up two-thirds of his annual salary to buy enough food for this many people. Their objections were reasonable. Jesus calmly asked them to count the available loaves. They would begin with what they had.
So the disciples go and find that they have five loaves and two fishes. Jesus can work with this. So he tells everyone to sit down--not alone, but in groups. He puts them in communities. And he takes the five loaves and two fishes, blessed them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples. The disciples distributed the food. “They all ate and were satisfied” (Mark 6:42). Afterwards, the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. With Jesus, there was not only enough, but an abundance. Mark tells us that the number of men who ate was five thousand. This does not include women and children, who were likely there as well.
Later in Mark, Jesus will again take bread, bless it, break it, and give it (Mark 14:22). He will say that the bread, broken, is a reminder and sign of his body. Soon thereafter the body of Jesus is broken and given so that many will receive new life, healing, forgiveness, and redemption from their brokenness and sin (John 3:16).
As we receive from Jesus, as we are fed, we remember that he is our shepherd, the one who looks on us with compassion, teaches us many things, and provides for our needs. In him, there is abundance and grace, life eternal, and hope. Offer him what you have, for he can multiply any offering, however small. And when you celebrate your next meal, give thanks and bring to mind the ways Jesus has provided for you.
Jesus, today I give you what I have, even my very self, and ask you to use it to bless others. Thank you for your compassion, your love, your grace, and your abundance. I trust you as my good shepherd. Lead me today. Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.