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“I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their own houses, they will faint on the way; for some of them have come from afar.” Mark 8:2-3
Skeptics frequently allege that God does not care about humanity – if He is good, they reason, then why is the world in such a bad state! Such thinking willingly ignores His many providential provisions for mankind: air to breath, the multifaceted functions of the sun, abundant water (far better than Mars, for instance), etc. On the other hand, the Almighty’s critics lay the blame for human crimes upon the Creator, condemning Him for the skyrocketing violence on planet earth (ironic, since if God does not exist, there is no universal standard of morality; nothing is inherently evil; people merely dance to the chemically encrypted tune of our genes.) This view of reality obviously falls short of doing justice to the facts – or to the Creator Himself.
Catering In The Desert Redux
One incident from God the Son’s earthly ministry will suffice to demonstrate His unrivaled and unerring concern for human beings. The Gospel of Mark 8:1 describes the situation: “In those days, the multitude being very great and having nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples to Him and said to them.” A large crowd of 4,000 with a presumably ravenous appetite after three days of going without food was standing in front of the disciples; the Lord invited them to help the needy multitude. But the disciples protested, citing their own inability given the tremendous need and the barren setting of their current location. How soon they forgot the Lord’s previous miracle of feeding 5,000 men (plus women and children, cf. Mt. 14:21) in a similar circumstance. Sadly, they were not the last followers of Christ to forget His past blessings, instead worrying over the crisis of the hour.
Without a word of rebuke, the Lord Jesus directed them to bring what they had to Him (in this case, seven loaves and a few small fish.) He took their meager resources and miraculously multiplied them to the complete satisfaction of the hungry listeners. Verse 8 affirms that they all ate and then had seven baskets of leftovers. In Scripture seven often indicates perfection; thus the perfect provision of the Son of God is displayed in this wondrous sign.
You Are The God Who Sees
As impressive as this work of power is in itself, the statement of the Lord Jesus’ intimate knowledge of the needs of the crowd is an equally amazing display of God’s character. His interest in people and their needs is on full view in this episode in Christ’s ministry on earth. He knew their need: they were hungry; and He likewise knew what would happen to them if they departed without eating: some would not make it home without “fainting on the way.” Now someone might aver that these are obvious deductions, just keeping in mind the circumstances. Nonetheless, when would-be presidents address the nominating conventions of their party, they do not begin by inquiring if the party faithful who are in attendance have eaten. No, such leaders are too important to give themselves to the minute needs of the little people that they represent (photo-ops with the politician shaking hands with the unwashed masses notwithstanding.) Yet when the Creator of the universe came to earth, He demonstrated great interest in meeting human needs – especially their spiritual needs.
Come & Dine
It is wonderful to have a God who can miraculously feed the hungry; nevertheless, it is far greater for Him to become the Bread from heaven that a man may eat of and not die (John 6.) In order to give this matchless provision, He died on the cross as a sacrifice that satisfied the divine sense of justice. Then He rose again, proving that He is stronger than death and the grave, and that He will one day raise His people from mortality and corruption to immortality in glorified bodies (1 Cor. 15.)
Having taken care of these enormous spiritual needs for believers, what lesser things will He not provide for them (Rom. 8:31-32)? If you are a Christian, then you may rest assured that whatever trial you are struggling under, He knows your situation. What is more, He is working to use it for your eternal blessing and betterment (Rom 8:28-29.) If you are not yet a Christian, please know that He is ordering the events of your life to give you an opportunity to turn from your sinful life and receive His salvation through personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. With Paul, an apostle of Christ, I put this question to you: “…do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4.)