Yesterday Austin Coleman showed us powerfully through what he called Instagram Jesus, what the primary point of Jesus feeding the five thousand was: Jesus himself, not all the stuff that we think should come along with Jesus. Like any good lesson there are primary points, but also there are secondary points that can be learned from the same lesson.
Jesus, in Mark 8, feeds 4000 men and the primary lesson is the same as Austin showed us yesterday. So today I will point out a secondary lesson. Jesus was always in the business of preparing His disciples for their future mission: the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). So how was feeding the five thousand and the four thousand a preparation for the disciples?
In Northern Kenya the Maasai tribe has lived for hundreds of years. This tribe has a rite of passage for the males where the young boys go out into the wilderness and hunt a lion. Did you get that? A bunch of 13 to 14 year old boys go out and hunt a lion with spears and knives (i.e. no guns). After accomplishing this task the boys return to the tribe as men, no longer to be referred to as children, but are ready to become contributing members of the tribe.
What does this have to do with Jesus and feeding large amounts of people you might ask? The answer is that the young boys go through this rite of passage to prepare them for what it takes to be a man in the tribe. This is to prepare them to fulfill their purpose within the tribe. The boys have to experience some things before they are prepared for their role in the tribe. The same was true for the disciples.
Jesus had to prepare them for their purpose within God’s tribe, which is the Great Commission.
Telling, teaching, training and baptizing people or we could wrap that all up into two words “making disciples” is what God called the disciples to do. They were being prepared to disciple others like Jesus discipled them. This is important because it is a task neither they nor we can accomplish on our own. We are dependent on Jesus in every way that is why he sends his Holy Spirit into those who have believed and become disciples themselves. Jesus is telling us that there are times when we have very little to offer, but God is not worried about what we bring to the table he can feed thousands with very little. He wants to see if the disciples will trust him. He wants to show that he is trustworthy, too. He’s showing both of these at the same time. Now when the disciples are out in the world after his death they will be strong in their faith knowing Jesus will come through.
The disciples are going through a rite of passage moment where their strength and courage in Jesus Christ is being built so that they will have what it takes to fulfill their purpose Jesus has for them.
So my question for you is, what things are going on in your life that are preparation moments for you, rites of passage for you? What lions exist in your life that God wants to help you kill to prepare you for the amazing future he has for you?
The disciples could have never saw Jesus’ faithfulness if they had not started handing out the bread and fish, likewise the Maasai boys can never kill a lion if they never go out and face it! Many of us are running from lions in our life rather than running at them with spears. This causes our faith to be small and our lives to not be as fulfilled, because we are never prepared for the life God wants us to live today.
Together let’s kill some lions, build our faith, see God’s faithfulness to us. Let’s walk in the beautiful life he has purposed us for.