Communication is a great task. Therefore preaching is a great task. We must communicate the gospel. We must tell the Jesus story so others get it? We must ask ourselves, Do we get it? Examples abound to illustrate the importance of correct communication, the likelihood of miscommunication. [Use various examples.]
Our study is in Mark's account of the feeding of the 5000. May seem an unusual text given our announced topic. In this text is something you may not have seen.
Mark addresses the question, Who is Jesus? The answer resounds in the early chapters: Jesus is one mighty in work and word. He has power over evil spirits, demons, illnesses, diseases, even leprosy (ch. 1). He has power over paralysis. He has such power than when Jesus calls, men respond (ch. 2). He teaches marvelously. He is Lord of the Sabbath, he contradicts the Pharisees' claim that he is empowered by Beelzebub (ch. 3). He tells parabable after parable, has power over the elements of the earth, and calms the storm (ch. 4). He heals another demon-possessed man, raises a dead girl, and heals a hemorrhaging woman (ch. 5).
Yet by Mark 6, he teaches and is rejected. When he sends out the 12 on the limited commission, persecution reaches even John the Baptist in prison. This is a text with excitement, anticipation, emancipation. It is also a text with confrontation, rejection, and death.
Thus we come to Mark 6:30, the apostles are excited, they gather to report their successes. But they are apparently like a magnet. People are everywhere. Even in the desert, away from the cities. There is no chance even to eat, no time for rest.
When Jesus' group attempts to move to a more solitary place, people follow, even arriving by land first. Jesus has compassion on the multitudes. He see the crowds and teaches. This is a text about vision and sight. What can you see? Can you see what Jesus sees? Must we pray afresh, "Lord, Open Our Eyes."
I. Jesus sees OPPORTUNITY.
Carpe diem--seize the day. Opportunity presents itself. People are present. They have come--some with pure motives, some with impore. But now they are there. What will we do?
Some would send them home--it is late. This isn't Sunday, and there is no Bible study scheduled today. I don't know the answer to your question, so I'll have to get the preacher to tell you the answer. We don't provide that kind of help at our church. We can make excuse after excuse when assaulted, surrounded, overwhelmed by the people.
Here is the matter of doing God's will, maturing our spirits, working in him, through him, for him, solidly basing our lives on Jesus Christ. But all of these require that we see what he sees. Can you see the opportunities around you?
II. Jesus sees PEOPLE.
Do you have the compassion of Christ? Do I?
Everywhere around us there are people. So many you cannot, do not see them. We tend to ignore them, overlook them. Many are uncomfortable looking, being looked at. Many refuse eye contact.
Have you seen the people? Our neighborhoods are changing. Our world is changing. This is a different world, a new world. People are interested in Jesus Christ. People seek meaning where there is emmptiness, needs met where there are hurts, being filled where there is a knawing hunger that is not only physical. Is it wrong to meet those needs and fills those voids? Must we examine every person's motives in seeking the Savior before we can minister and serve and demonstrate care and concern? Did Jesus? Some followed for impure motives, as we learn the next day when we read the parallel in John's gospel. Jesus fed them anyway on this occasion. Even though he knew. He could know, couldn't he?
This is again a matter of doing God's will, taking the message to people who desperately need it, and (praise God!) want it, even though they are not those with whom we usually associate. This matter of doing God's will is vital. We have the same problem today as in the first century. Do you see the people?
III. Jesus sees RESOURCES.
Our world is changing, our church is in transition. This is healthy. You are in transition. You are becoming a different person. You are getting new cells if not new thinking. There are before us new resources, strengths. Change is a symptom and sign of life.
We are faced with a food problem. What shall we eat? How can we eat? Jesus says, You feed them. But we can't. It costs too much. So Jesus takes control, uses what is at hand, and feeds them sufficiently, and much food is taken up afterward.
Why won't we use what is at hand? I can't do it. I know you can't, but Jesus can, God can. Reread Phil. 2:10ff. Decide now to work out of you what he is working in you.
Our God does much with limited resources. Little resources plus great power brings unimaginable results! We want much resources with little power, and we still get little results.
What is the point of this story from Mark 6? The point as we have viewed it can be only one--Jesus has the power to do His will. Not my will, but thine be done. What can we not do it? Jesus has for us the same answer as for his disciples long ago: Little faith. You and I are too frequently faithless followers.
Can you, will you, deny it? Too little prayer, too little fasting, too little dependence, too much independence. Too little divine power, too much human power. Too much self, too little God. Say it how you will--satisfying the crowds of our contemporary culture demands we see the people, the opportunities, and the resources. Too little truth and wisdom from God, too much hman application. We know the newspaper better than the Bible. We study everything but the Bible and think we will somehow become different.
To be like God requires the vision of Christ. We must seek anew the mind of Christ, the attitude of Christ, the vision of Christ. What do you see?
Can we recover the vision of Jesus? Can we be like him, live like him, will we die like him. Can you see what Jesus saw? In order to be what Jesus was? I want to be his. Indeed, a far-fetched idea. But then, it isn't my idea, but God's.
The invitation is so simple: if you want to see what Jesus saw, respond. Say, I haven't seen it, but I'm trying. Say, I've been blind, but now I see. Say, I have to die like Jesus in baptism in order to live like Jesus and with Jesus forever. Say your heart's deepest hurts, and woes, and aches.
We've not seen what Jesus saw. No other explanation is available for our compacency and inaction. But we want to. If you would be his, follow him, catch the vision, why not begin as we stand and sing.
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