Week 6: Chapter 6: How many loaves do you have? Go and see.

Monday:   Familiarity Breeds Contempt                                            vv1-6

‘”Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offence at him.’ v3

These people had been around as Jesus grew up.  They knew that he was a carpenter; he’d had no theological training. How dare he come back to his home town and start telling people how to live?  Notice they didn’t say, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” but rather Mary’s?  This could well have been because they knew that Mary was already pregnant before she married Joseph.  People chose to listen to their prejudice rather than to Jesus and, because of that, he wasn’t able to make much of a difference in the community. They say ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ and that was definitely the case here.  Be careful not to do the same to those around you.  Give people the chance to change and be willing to learn from them!

Tuesday: Shake the dust off your feet.                               vv7-13

These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts.’ v8

Jesus sent his disciples out in pairs, providing support for each other.  He sent them to live in the communities he wanted them to reach.  He sent them with nothing so that they would have to trust him.  He sent them out with authority.  They went, and lives were changed.  There are so many things we can learn from this about being supported by other Christians, about the way we should ‘do’ mission, about how we need to trust God for all of our needs and about the authority that is ours because of the One who sends us.  Which of these lessons do you need to learn today?

Wednesday: Think before you speak!                               vv14-29

The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her.” v26

If ever someone had wanted to eat his words, King Herod did now!  We read that, whilst he didn’t like all of what John the Baptist said, Herod respected John and liked listening to him. He opened his mouth before putting his brain in gear and then found that he couldn’t backtrack because he would lose face; and so instead, John the Baptist lost his life.  Herod never had the chance to read James 3:4, but we do so let’s read and take note! “A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!”

Thursday: Extravagant God!                                                 vv30-44

They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish.” vv42-43

Five loaves and two fish didn’t just give five thousand men plus women and children a little to eat; they were completely satisfied and there were leftovers too!  Our God is an extravagant God.  He doesn’t just give us what we need to live our lives, he gives us what we need for life in all it’s fullness (John 10:10). He doesn’t just do what we ask, he is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. (Eph 3:20)  Remember that when you pray!  Be bold!

Friday: Jesus Walks on the Water                                                  vv45-56

‘Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.’ vv51-52

They were amazed because they hadn’t understood about the loaves?  That seems like an odd statement, bringing two completely different incidents together.  What had they not understood about the loaves?  They had just seen Jesus feed five thousand men with just five loaves and two fish but with their hard hearts, they still didn’t get it.  Instead of trusting in Jesus who had proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was in control, the disciples were so scared that they failed even to recognise him.  How many times do we acknowledge the awesome power of God one minute and run around like headless chickens panicking the next?