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“In those days, the multitude being very great and having nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples to Him and said to them, ‘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 8:1–3 (NKJV)
There have been some amazing moments in Jesus’ ministry at this point. We’ve seen Him heal a leper, calm a deadly storm, deliver a demoniac, and even raise the dead! This is just a small sampling of His mighty deeds, and we’re about to see another one—one we’ve actually seen before: a miraculous multiplication of food. But before diving right into it, we need to take a closer look at what actually motivated the miracle.
Notice that Mark clearly tells us what motivated Jesus in the passage above: His compassion for the multitude. He loved them, and He didn’t want to see them suffer from hunger as they had sacrificed in order to follow after Him. The Lord’s miraculous power is governed by His compassion. It’s never beyond the control of His perfect love! But this leads us to some even deeper insights about Jesus and what motivated Him to feed the multitude.
Next, we need to recognize He knew their need. By all indications, nobody had said anything to Jesus about the need for food. This is in contrast to the previous feeding when the disciples actually raised the issue (Luke 9:12). Here, it’s Jesus who is looking ahead, anticipating the necessity to come. Know this, Jesus is fully aware of the need, even before it’s been brought to His attention.
We also see He knew the timing of their situation. Jesus was fully aware the people had been following Him for three days; not two, not four. He knew the precise timeframe for their need. Let that settle in. The Lord knows the exact timing of every trial and tribulation. As such, He’s never late or premature in His understanding toward us.
Finally, we can’t miss the fact He knew their history. Jesus understood where they had come from. He knew where “home” was and that it was too far for them to make the return trip without heavenly help. We’re often misunderstood and rejected by other people based on a lack of understanding of our background. But Jesus knows each of our backstories. Nobody comes to Him without Him knowing where they have come from.
As amazing as the miracle we’re about to witness is, what prompted it matters even more. The food was temporary; everyone got hungry again and their physical bodies eventually died. The meal was a moment in time, but what motivated it transcends time, touching us here and now. Let these truths touch you right where you’re at. Jesus loves you and He knows. He knows your need, He knows the timing of your trial, and He knows all there is to know about you and your history.
Pause: In your own words, what motivated the miracle?
Practice: Consider how you can apply this understanding based on your own life experience.
Pray: Father, please deepen my trust in Your love and knowledge of me. Amen.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.