8 January 2011

Mark 6:34-44

"You give them something to eat" (v. 37)


The feeding of the 5,000 is one of the best known stories of Jesus' ministry. It appears in all four Gospels, and takes various forms. It is clearly an important story for the Christian community and has all kinds of reasons for being so - with images of the messianic banquet, eucharistic references, and the reminder of how much of Jesus' ministry was expressed in meals with people (as inyesterday's reading, about the wedding at Cana). 

It is also a story about what it means to be a disciple. Disciples are not just followers, learners, observers or hangers-on. In this story, when the disciples suggest to Jesus that he should do something about this crowd of hungry people, he puts the responsibility back on them - "YOU give them something to eat." Quite a challenge! But even big challenges become possible when the disciples work along with Jesus. 

Through this week's theme 'Light for all' we have seen Jesus, the light of the world, bringing light to others. As a result, those other people have responded to Jesus. In a way, they've taken the responsibility of passing on the light. It is interesting that inMatthew 5:14, Jesus says to the disciples, "You are the light of the world." 

To Ponder

What might it mean for you to be "the light of the world"?

Have you ever thought 'somebody ought to do something about this situation', only to discover that 'someone' needs to be you? What happened?

Is there something you're being challenged to do now, as a disciple of Jesus? What are you doing to do about it?

Bible notes author

The Revd David Gamble

David Gamble is a Methodist minister currently serving as conference officer for Legal and Constitutional Practice and was president of the Methodist Conference 2009/2010. He is married to Liz and they have three adult children.