4 His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”
5 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.
“Seven,” they replied.
6 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people, and they did so. 7 They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. 8 The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 9 About four thousand were present. After he had sent them away, 10 he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha. Mark 8:4-10
We’ve read the story countless times. We wonder why the disciples didn’t think to do what Jesus did. They were still in “follower” mode. With the Son of God guiding things, they were still not taking the initiative on anything meaningful.
That’s what disciples are supposed to do. Little by little He’ll turn over the reins to them as He did when He sent them out in twos shortly before this passage.
They’re sure to make mistakes, but they alone were an incredibly elite group of Believers. Elite in that He entrusted the Good News to them. Others would spread it, but they were eventually tasked with taking charge and making it all happen.
They obviously had no idea what any of that meant at this point in history. It was still one day at a time. Jesus of course was several steps ahead. While He didn’t know the precise day He would be taken, He knew what to look for as well as the pitfalls.
This was great training ground for His disciples. They got to see him “in action” and they could participate.
We too are in training.
When I went through Survival Training in a mock POW camp, our main task was to resist giving any information at all to our “captors”. If we were failing miserably at that task, our instructors would “break character”, hand us a card that said something like, “Eh, try a little harder next time,” and then he would resume the same character. We were essentially going back to the beginning of that training so we could resist giving out any information at all.
I sometimes feel like that here. We learn something, fail miserably, and have to learn it all over again. We all go through these phases. And even as we pass away, we haven’t achieved perfection. My wife often wonders if there’s some kind of “finishing school” when we first get to heaven.
But we labor day by day with the goal of heaven and Jesus at the center of heaven. Press on. Fight the fight. After you fail, brush off quickly and get back in the fight.