Loaves, waves, hard hearts

Mark 6:45-52  Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

I wonder if Jesus from the previous passage was a little frustrated with his disciples. They were resistant and tried to pawn taking care of the people to someone else. They said, “send them away to buy something to eat.” Jesus said, “you give them something to eat.” And they were like, “what are we supposed travel to spend a ton of money to feed them?” (my paraphrase) Jesus takes 2 fish and 5 loaves and feeds about 5000 men. Then he sends these disciples away. Verse 45 says, “Immediately he made them get into the boat and go.”

Jesus went up on a mountain to pray. He could see them from there, struggling against the wind. He goes walking on the water to them and they freak out. Jesus says, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” Then he got in the boat and wind ceased.

Here is the part that I find to be the most interesting in this passage today:

And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

Mark 6:51b-52

I thought to myself – What? Why is this, in this passage, right here?

Hard hearts cause misunderstanding. They were not necessarily opposed to Jesus. But think about it: How open and willing are you to allow God’s movement in your life when you don’t understand what He is doing? What if not being able to understand is the symptom of a hard heart, so that, it makes us dull in mind and unable to grasp what is happening? They saw that Jesus could multiple the loaves and fishes. Maybe they were offended a bit when he said, “you go feed them” when he was able to feed them all through multiplying the loaves and fish. We will never know because the scripture doesn’t say but it certainly does allow us to search our hearts and ponder how we might have responded.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

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