Being Part Of The Multitude That Follows Jesus Christ

During His public ministry on earth, Jesus Christ was greatly followed. People came out of the woodwork to see Him, hear Him and be healed by Him. They went where He went, followed where He led and stayed by His side as long as they could.

This is the situation we see them in at the beginning of Mark 8. Mark writes that there was a great multitude with Jesus. Despite the best efforts of the scribes and Pharisees to discredit Him and cause the people to abandon Him, He was thronged with eager hearts.

They had been with Him for days, so thrilled to be near Him that they hadn't eaten in three days. This is the depth of love that they had for Him - they wanted so badly to be in His presence that they couldn't leave Him long enough to eat. Following Christ is never easy. It often requires sacrifice, and His followers were willing to do whatever was necessary just to be near Him.

In the midst of this crowd of thousands, Jesus knew each individual heart. He knew where they were from, what they were thinking and what their needs were. In His infinite wisdom and unending compassion, He knew that He couldn't send them away to find food on their own. He told His disciples that He knew their hunger, but they would never make it home because they were already weak. And He wasn't willing to send someone from His presence when they were hungry and empty.

So Christ showed mercy. The doubts of the disciples weren't a deterrent, but a way for Him to magnify His power. This was a repeat miracle - first with 5,000 people and now with the potential of 4,000 more. Just as before, He asked them how many loaves there were, and they showed Him the seven loaves. This question wasn't asked because He didn't know, but so that number would be fresh in their minds when the miracle took place.

With seven loaves and a few small fish, the 4,000 were treated to another abundant fish sandwich meal. This mercy came when they needed it most - when they wouldn't be able to go on because they were weak and faint. When they were at the point of collapse, Christ provided.

And He provided above and beyond yet again. Mark watched as the people, this great multitude, ate and were filled. Not just enough to get by, not a few morsels scraped up, but filled to overflowing. Can you imagine what must have been going through the disciples' minds as they brought in seven baskets of leftovers? They had been give more than enough and plenty to spare ... again.

The fullness of Christ was witnessed that day as He sent the people home with full bellies and full hearts. He provided in their moment of need, as He had promised time and again that He would.

God's bounty is inexhaustible, and His mercies are new every morning. At just the moment we think we'll faint by the wayside, Christ comes again with power and might, giving us exactly what we need, how much we need and more than we could ever hope for. This is the character of the Lord we serve, and He delights in providing for His children.

We can rest in the promise that we will never be sent away empty and hungry. Following Christ is not easy, but He never said it would be. What He did say was that we could cast all our cares on Him, wait for His perfect timing and accept the love and joy that only He can provide.

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