When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?”
In my language lessons my teacher and I are listening to audio of the book of Mark. It is the only scripture portion available in Chuwabo. Besides being a great tool for language learning, it is also an amazing opportunity to talk about Jesus and study his word together.
This past week we read the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. What stuck out to me was Jesus’ strange statement, “You give them something to eat.” I can only imagine the disciples, recently returned from a ministry trip and exhausted, in the middle of nowhere and completely broke. If it were me, I would be thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding me, Jesus. How in the world do you expect me to do that?” And then I realized, Jesus is setting them up! It is an unfair question. He knows there is no way the disciples could feed all those people. And he already has in mind exactly how he is going to provide. He’s setting them up for a miracle.
When God asks seemingly impossible things of us, how do we respond? Just think, maybe it’s a set up.