Looking up toward heaven...walking on the sea...as many as touched it...
Mark 6:30-56 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
The apostles gathered together with Jesus; and they reported to Him all that they had done and taught. 31 And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) 32 They went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves.
33 The people saw them going, and many recognized them and ran there together on foot from all the cities, and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things. 35 When it was already quite late, His disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate and it is already quite late; 36 send them away so that they may go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But He answered them, “You give them something to eat!” And they said to Him, “Shall we go and spend two hundred denarii on bread and give them something to eat?” 38 And He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go look!” And when they found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 And He commanded them all to sit down by groups on the green grass. 40 They sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. 41 And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food and broke the loaves and He kept giving them to the disciples to set before them; and He divided up the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and they picked up twelve full baskets of the broken pieces, and also of the fish. 44 There were five thousand men who ate the loaves.
45 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away. 46 After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray.
47 When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land. 48 Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them. 49 But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; 50 for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” 51 Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished, 52 for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened.
53 When they had crossed over they came to land at Gennesaret, and moored to the shore. 54 When they got out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him, 55 and ran about that whole country and began to carry here and there on their pallets those who were sick, to the place they heard He was. 56 Wherever He entered villages, or cities, or countryside, they were laying the sick in the market places, and imploring Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were being cured.
In today’s text we see the account of the feeding of five thousand with five loaves and two fish. The verse that stands out to me is verse 41, which says: And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food and broke the loaves and He kept giving them to the disciples to set before them; and He divided up the two fish among them all. Throughout His ministry, Jesus taught that we should focus on the kingdom of heaven, not the things of earth. Jesus looked to heaven and saw abundance and provision. I am reminded of an account of the great man of faith Smith Wigglesworth, who went to pray for a young lady in a desperate situation. He says: “I will tell you, for I never saw a man get anything from God who prayed on the earth. If you get anything from God, you will have to pray into heaven; for it is all there. If you are living in the earth realm and expect things from heaven, they will never come. And as I saw, in the presence of God, the limitations of my faith,” ― Smith Wigglesworth, Faith That Prevails “If you are living in the earthly realm and expect things from heaven, they will never come.” Jesus looked up toward heaven because there, in heaven, the need was already provided for. “If you get anything from God, you will have to pray to heaven; for it is all there.” What we recognize as a miracle, whether healing or provision, is when we see the realities of heaven manifested on earth. That’s why Jesus taught us to pray: Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. When the kingdom of heaven comes to earth, every need is provided for. Additionally the thing about the abundance and the provision of heaven for earth is seen in today’s text also. Verse 42-43 says: They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up twelve full baskets of the broken pieces, and also of the fish. In John 10:10 Jesus says: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” The kingdom of heaven is more than enough to satisfy, it is abundance. In Psalm 23:5-6, the psalmist says: You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. God’s provision, in the kingdom of heaven, for us on earth, is more than enough, it is an overflowing abundance.
The psalmist says: I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Smith Wigglesworth says: “If your living in the earth realm and expect things from heaven, they will never come.” What would be the result if we truly lived and walked, if we dwelled with the Lord, continually connected to and accessing the provision, the abundance, all of heaven’s realities for earth? In today’s text it says: Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them… He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them… He spoke with them and said to them, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished. Although Jesus was a man, with a body like ours, walking in the heavenly realm, He walked above the limitations of earth. Even more than that though, the text says: the people recognized Him, and ran about that whole country and began to carry here and there on their pallets those who were sick, to the place they heard He was. Wherever He entered villages, or cities, or countryside, they were laying the sick in the market places, and imploring Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were being cured. If we would live and walk in the abundance of the heavenly realm, as the psalmist says, our cup would overflow. We could not contain all that there is in heaven, the overflowing goodness and the lovingkindness of God would follow us. It would spill out and touch others. Luke 17:20-21 says: Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” The kingdom of heaven is literally within us. If we will walk in the kingdom, even as we walk in this world, the overflow will touch those around us.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit: Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven; both in and through my life. Amen.