Today a group of friends and I reviewed Luke 9:1-15 at lunch. We meet up once a week to eat, read the bible, and check in with each others lives. In really, I am extremely lucky to have found a group of guys like this. As you know, I’m new on my walk and want to seek as much wisdom as I can. So far, everyone in this group has been a blessing.
When reading Luke 9 and the parable of feeding 5,000 people, something jumped out to me. Now, I have heard this story several times, but, I have never heard it from this view point. I’m looking forward to hearing your feedback.
Here is the scripture Luke 9 NIV - I have underlined the key points for my theory.
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve
9 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. 4 Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. 5 If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6 So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.
7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, 8 others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. 9 But Herod said, “I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” And he tried to see him.
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
10 When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, 11 but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.
12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”
13 He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” 14 (About five thousand men were there.)
But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15 The disciples did so, and everyone sat down. 16 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. 17 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
Ok, Follow my logic here:
Luke 9:1-6, Jesus is training the twelve. They have been blessed with the Holy Spirit and now they must go heal the sick and drive out demons. Jesus is giving them a training assignment. He even tells them what they can bring with them and how they must act.
Luke 9: 10:12, The twelve come back, report their mission to Jesus, and go on to the next problem to solve. They find them selves trying to feed 5,000 people and see they don’t have enough food. Their solution? Turn them away so they can find ways to feed themselves.
Luke 9:13: And Jesus says “He replied, “You give them something to eat.” – Ok, let’s focus on this. When I first read this, I my first thought was “WHAT!?! Jesus is an Entrepreneur! (among other things)”, this is where it gets crazy.
I own a small start up company in Seattle and have a small team. I am blessed with the challenge of trying to document a, if I may say so, genius & innovative process that has never been done before. When I say challenging, I mean to say that, well, at times I want to pull my hair out.
Here’s the deal, people don’t get it. I train and train and train people until they are blue in the face. I send them on training missions with clients and when they come back I give them a small test. Really, the goal is to if they learned the objective and if they can creatively apply it to a new situation. 80% of the time, people fail the test. No big deal. I go back to my whiteboard and try to find out what I did wrong. Why didn’t my team “get it?”
Fast Forward Back to Luke 9:13
Jesus just sent his twelve out on a training mission. When they returned they presented a problem, “Hey Jesus, we need to feed 5,000 people and we don’t have food.” Jesus Replied “You Feed Them.”
In this moment, I believe Jesus knew that the twelve had the power to do so. They just came back from a mission of using the Holy Spirit to heal the sick and cast out demons. Jesus wanted to see if they could think outside the box with their gift. So far, the twelve only did things that they were told, they only did things that they were trained to do.
Let me ask you this, what makes a good leader? I’d say the ability to go above an beyond. The ability to try new things, take risks and not be-afraid to present new ideas. The ability to collaboratively work together to find solutions.
Like I mentioned, I run a start up company. People that present problems to me and don’t have the ability to think outside the box tend not to last long.
13 He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
Jesus was testing them on their leadership, he wanted to see if they would use the Holy Spirit (for Good) in a situation that they were not trained on. And you know what, they (we) failed.
Now, Jesus is the Father and we are the kids. Jesus is the teacher and we are the students. What happens when the teacher presents a student with a chance to impress the entire class, and the student fails? The teacher shows them what they wanted them to learn. What happens when the Father takes his Kid out to the soccer field and gives him the chance to display critical thinking, then the kid fails? The Father smiles, is a little disappointed, but knows he much teach more. “Silly child, one day you will understand” the Father might say.
1) What other tests, like this one, are displayed in the Bible? Did we pass?
2) Is their any evidence in the Bible that the twelve did learn from this lesson?
3) Did Jesus want us (The Twelve) to step up their game? If so, why?
4) If didn’t learn to step up our game, how did this effect the last 2,000 years of teachings? Should we be doing more with the Holy Spirit?
In closing, I keep thinking ahead to Luke 17:6
“he replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”
If we can’t uproot a mulberry tree we can’t feed 5,000 people. But, if our faith was as small as a mustard seed, we could. Man, I thought my faith was growing, I never knew a mustered seed was so BIG!