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 Is Jesus Your Source?

Mark 6:30-44

Message #21

There are two perspectives from which we can look at today’s text. We can look at it from people’s perspective (the crowd), or we can look at it from the Disciple’s perspective. I’ve chosen (for us) to look at it from the Disciple’s perspective and so, the title – Is Jesus Your Source?

Is Jesus your source for all that you need in every crisis moment in your life? Can you look to him as your source, and can you trust him to provide what you truly need?

Is Jesus your source? And please, don’t think of physical and earthly needs. If Jesus is truly our source, then we must re-align our thinking. We have to stop thinking about this world and thinking like this world, and we have to start thinking about Jesus (setting our hearts and minds on Jesus), and thinking like Jesus.

In this text today, Jesus is going to prove to his Disciples that he is the true source for all that they need in every circumstance and situation in order to accomplish all that he’s called them to do.

There are two questions I’m going to ask. I can’t answer the first one, but I can answer the second one. The first question is: Can we receive and believe that Jesus is truly our source for all that we need in every circumstance and every situation? Can we embrace it?

And the second question is: How do we begin living like it? What does it look like when we begin living like we actually believe that Jesus is our source for all that we truly need?

I pray the Holy Spirit would pierce you with these two questions.

Remember, two messages ago, in our message titled The Simple Gospel, Jesus sent his Disciples out on their first missionary journey. So, our text begins today with the Disciples returning totally and completely exhausted from their first mission trip.

Mark 6:30–31 (NLT)
30 The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught.
31 Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. 

The Disciples (or Apostles) came back with a great testimony, but completely exhausted. They had taken nothing with them but a walking stick. They told everyone they met to repent and turn to God. They cast out demons and healed the sick, and they also experienced plenty of rejection and difficulty, and as soon as they got back to Jesus, they didn’t even have time to eat. So, they were now stretched to the breaking point, and so Jesus says, “Man, you guys need some rest.”

It reminds me of a nursery rhyme (maybe you’ve heard it)

Mary had a little lamb,
It was given to the church to keep,
But it tried to meet all the needs it self,
And died for lack of sleep!

That is exactly where the Disciples are right now. So, we read in Mark 6:32,

Mark 6:32 (NLT)
32 So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone.

Jesus was taking the Disciples on a rejuvenation experience, but it was definitely not going to be what they expected. Jesus is purposefully taking his exhausted, stretched-to-the-breaking-point Disciples into an unexpected, pressure-filled situation so that they might learn a greater and deeper lesson about who their true source is for all that they need in every situation, in order to do all that he has called them to do. Can’t we accept that Jesus sometimes puts us in the fire to refine us?

Jesus is the true source for all that we need in order to do all that he calls us to do. Jesus, and Jesus alone, is the source for all that we need. It’s much more than earthly, worldly, or fleshly experiences. We are talking about a deep spiritual truth.

Here’s a question. How do we learn that Jesus is truly the source for all that we need in order to do all that he has called us to do? We learn it best by experience, don’t we? We learn it by meeting Jesus in the middle of a breaking-point situation where we have to look to him as our complete and miraculous source, which is exactly what the Disciples are about to experience.

So, Jesus and the Disciples left for what the Disciples thought was going to be a little rest and relaxation. Then, Mark 6:33 says this.

Mark 6:33 (NLT)
33 But many people recognized them and saw them leaving, and people from many towns ran ahead along the shore and got there ahead of them.

The sailing on the Galilee was generally done near the shore, and maybe they were sailing against the wind that day. The people were running along the shore with the boat, and the more people followed the boat, the more people started following until it was thousands of people gathering where the boat finally landed at Bethsaida (most likely).

Mark 6:34 (NLT)
34 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. 

Jesus saw the huge crowd, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and so he began teaching them spiritual truths.

When God has compassion on someone, he reveals himself to them. He doesn’t become a social service organization. His compassion on them drove him to teach them spiritual truths. This is a big deal for people who think the church should be primarily a social service center. Give them the Gospel. If you care, tell them about Jesus. When Jesus had compassion on people, he taught them deep spiritual truths.

But… what about the Disciples? The Disciples are saying to each other right now, wait a minute, it’s these people again? How did this happen? We just needed a little rest. We’ve been burning the candle at both ends; we needed some serious rest and relaxation. What in the world is Jesus doing?

Jesus is teaching the people spiritual truths because he had compassion on them. But… the Disciples were probably kicking rocks and mumbling to each other about how this whole “serving Jesus thing” is just not fair.

Isn’t this weird that we serve the God of Creation who became man, took our sins upon himself, paid the full wrath for all of our sins, and died on the cross, and then we think serving him should be fair?

The Disciples have had no idea just how unfair this was about to get because it was getting late in the day, and the Disciples saw their chance to get some of that rest they deserved.

Mark 6:35-36 (NLT)
35 Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late.
36 Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat.” 

Do you sense a bit of an edge in the Disciple’s words? “Jesus, we came to get some rest, right, and we’ve been putting up with all your ministry stuff day after day. Can we just get a break already?”

So, (with a bit of an attitude), the Disciples tell Jesus to send the crowds away for dinner. And then, we read in Mark 6:37(a),

Mark 6:37(a) (NLT)
37 But Jesus said, “You feed them” . . . 

The “YOU” is emphatic and imperative. It’s a stern and direct command!

Whhhaaattt??? Did Jesus just tell us to feed all these people? Oh no, he did not! With what, exactly, does he expect us to feed all these people?

Guys, listen to me. Every day, in every circumstance and in every situation, those who are following and serving Jesus must know this truth. Jesus is their source for all that they need to do – all that he has called them to do.

And so, right here, Jesus is demanding that his Disciples do something that is impossible. Has he ever done that to you? Have you ever looked at the Word of God and said, “That’s impossible!” Raise your children up in the way they should go? Have you met my teenager, Lord? That’s impossible! Stay married? Have you met my spouse, Lord? You’re asking me to do something that’s impossible! Exactly.

He’s asking his Disciples to do something impossible. Why?

Fortunately, the Apostle John (in his Gospel) adds some commentary right here. In John’s account here, John 6:6 says,

John 6:6 (NLT)
6 He was testing [them], for he already knew what he was going to do. 

Oh! It’s a test! It’s a test, man!!!

When Jesus puts you between a rock and a hard place, so you see no way out, you have no answers on your own, you have no logic, no reasoning – you can’t see the next step – he’s like, “Perfect. I finally have you where I need you.”

And you’re saying, “Lord, this is impossible.” He’s like yeah, keep it coming. And at some point, you break, and you say, “Lord, only with you will I get through this. Only by you being my source for everything I need, every breath I take, will I make it through this.” And he’s like, Whew! About time!

He demanded the Disciples do something impossible to prove something to them. But the Disciples didn’t know it was a test because they didn’t have John’s Gospel to explain it. And so, they react to Jesus with their own logic and their own understanding in Mark 6:37(b),

Mark 6:37(b) (NLT)
37 . . . 
(Jesus says, YOU feed them) “With what?” they asked. “We’d have to work for months to earn enough money to buy food for all these people!” 

The Disciples are flabbergasted and more than a little disrespectful. I think the Disciples are saying, “Jesus, this isn’t how this is supposed to work. This isn’t how any of this is supposed to work, and this is the last straw. We can’t feed these people no matter what we do.”

And so, Jesus (in his grace), continues the test. And this is a test that applies to every one of us who call Jesus Lord.

Mark 6:38(a) (NLT)
38 “How much bread do you have?” he asked. “Go and find out” . . .

This is it. You could easily snap right here. Seriously? Now Jesus wants us to wander through this stadium crowd asking everyone, “Excuse me, did you happen to bring 5,000 sandwiches with you today?”

This was humiliating, in a pride-breaking sort of way, and maybe you’d just walk away from it all right then.

Have you ever had that happen, where something in your serving or following of Jesus has pushed you to the breaking point? And you want to blame it on the enemy – and it might be God because he needs you broken so that you will depend on him and not your own foolish logic and your own reason. I’ve seen it so much.

“I was in. I was serving the Lord. I was right with him until he asked me to do something crazy.”

“I mean, that was it! When he asked me to do that, I had had enough!”

“I went back to doing things my own way because Jesus wasn’t even making any sense!”

We know so many people who used to follow Jesus, and something went wrong in their life, and they’re like, “I’ve had it. I’m done.”

Buuuttt, it was a test! It was a test, man, and you walked away? Do you know what could have happened if you would have just pressed through the test?  What could have happened if you would have pressed through and done what God was calling you to do? What could God have done in your life and through you if you would have just trusted Jesus? And instead, you gave up??

Fortunately, the Disciples did not give up. Although they were most probably not happy, yet they still did what Jesus asked because Jesus was still their Lord.

Have you done it? Lord, this is going to hurt. I don’t know if I’ll make it through. But you’re calling me to do it, so I will.

The Disciples still did what Jesus asked because Jesus was still their Lord. So, continuing in Mark 6:38,

Mark 6:38(b) (NLT)
38 . . . They came back and reported, “We have five loaves of bread and two fish.”

That’s it, Jesus, that’s all we found. They walked up and down the hills of Bethsaida, asking everyone if they had any food. They knew it was crazy, but they still did it. And then the test continues.

Mark 6:39 says (NLT)
39 Then Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups on the green grass.

What? Another test? Yeah, another test.

The Disciples were at their wits end from ministry. They had a glimmer of hope that they might get some rest. Instead, Jesus tells them to feed 5,000 people and they crack momentarily. But then they obey and find a boy with a sack lunch.

Now, this is an administrative nightmare. The Disciples are exhausted. They’re stretched thin. They’re on their last nerve. And Jesus says, now go, sit 5,000 people down in orderly groups so that you can feed them with one boy’s left-over school lunch.

It’s a test! But listen, it’s a test to prove something to these poor, weary Disciples. This is a test to prove that Jesus is their source for all that they need; in every situation he puts them in, no matter how overwhelming it seems.

So, the Disciples were still staggering from fatigue. They’re trying their best not to grumble (at least out loud), and to their credit, they just kept on obeying. And Mark 6:40 says,

Mark 6:40 (NLT)
40 So they sat 
(the people) down in groups of fifty or a hundred.

Okay, Jesus, we don’t know why, but we just sat a stadium full of people down in nice equal groups.

And now, finally comes the lesson. The lesson is that Jesus Christ is the absolute source for all that we need in order to do all that he calls us to do!!

Mark 6:41(a) (NLT)
41 Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them . . .

Being Jewish, Jesus may well have given the traditional Jewish blessing for the bread, and so I learned it for you.

Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam hamotzi lehem min ha’aretz.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.

Mark 6:41(b) (NLT)
41 . . . Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he KEPT GIVING the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share.

And Jesus became the source of all that the Disciples needed in order to do all that Jesus called them to do. And the phrase “kept giving” (verse 41) is the correct translation. It’s in the Greek imperfect tense, meaning it never ends. Jesus kept giving and kept giving and kept giving until he gave all that the Disciples needed.

He became the source of all that the Disciples needed in order for them to do all that he called them to do.

Guys, listen to me, please. Jesus is our source for all that we need in order to do all that he has called us to do, in every circumstance, in every situation no matter how overwhelming it looks.

And to what extent is Jesus the source?

Mark 6:42-44 (NLT)
42 They 
(the people) all ate as much as they wanted,
43 and afterward, the disciples 
(who were still working) picked up twelve baskets of leftover bread and fish.
44 A total of 5,000 men and their families were fed.

Jesus became the source for all that the Disciples needed in order for them to do all that he called them to do.

How? How can we begin living this way with Jesus? First of all, you have to throw out all your own logic because your thinking is stinking.

No matter how you feel, keep serving Jesus; keep obeying Jesus; keep your eyes firmly fixed on Jesus. Walk closer with him. Abide deeper in him. Cling more tightly to him, and then watch what Jesus will do in your seemingly hopeless situation.
If you are a Christ-follower today, Jesus is the source for all that you need in order to do all that he has called you to do.

In order to start living like you truly believe that – keep serving; keep obeying; keep your eyes firmly fixed on Jesus. Walk closer with him. Abide deeper in him. Cling more tightly to him and watch Jesus become the source for all that you need in order to do all that he has called you to do.