The Good Shepherd

Scripture Reading — Mark 6:30-44

“They all ate and were satisfied.” — Mark 6:42

Sometimes it can be hard to know what we really need. On a windy beach, as a man tries to start his campfire, he may think he just needs more matches. But what he ­really needs is someone to help block the wind.

The crowd that followed Jesus was full of people who wanted healing and people who were thrilled and amazed to see his miracles, but Jesus saw that they really needed to be taught many things. Jesus’ disciples, his closest followers, wanted to know how they could find food for the crowd, but Jesus saw that they really needed to understand that he was the good shepherd who provides.

The disciples were distressed over how to feed the crowd, but they might have noticed that Jesus, like a good shepherd, had compassion because the huge crowd was like sheep without a shepherd. So in that quiet, remote place he had them all sit down on the green grass in order to be restored. If you read Psalm 23, you will see a picture like this one, with Jesus taking care of all these people like a shepherd tending his flock. And even if the disciples didn’t fully see what he was doing at the time, that’s what he did.

Thank the Lord that he looks after us as the shepherd who knows what his sheep really need.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, help me to know what I really need. Thank you for always caring for me. Help me to rest in you and not stress out; help me to trust that all things are already in your hands. Amen.

Just Do It

Scripture Reading — Mark 6:6b-13

“He began to send them out. . . .” — Mark 6:7

The disciples are still very new to their calling to follow Jesus. They have watched and ­listened, but they have mainly been silent, and none of them has yet confessed to believe in Jesus as the promised Messiah. Instead, they have been described as afraid and as having no faith (Mark 4:40).

It would seem that their faith still has a long way to go. Nevertheless, they are given authority to preach, drive out demons, and heal people who are sick. And they did!

Can you be reassured by this? It is not a perfect faith that qualifies you to testify for Jesus. It is not the strength of your power to believe that makes you a credible witness to the truth. It is not your education, training, or experience that equips you for serving him. You can do all that because of who Jesus is, not who you are.

Too many of Jesus’ followers wait to serve as disciples in the mission of Jesus until they think their faith is well developed and strong. The disciples’ faith was actually quite undeveloped, and yet they served not on the strength of their faith but on the sending of Jesus.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, when I consider my qualifications, training, and strength of faith, I can only imagine that you don’t have much to work with. But thank you for using me for your purposes anyway! Amen.

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