Mark 6:52, "For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened."
This morning, certain circumstances can eventually lead to other things. Perhaps one of the most detrimental things about lying and falsehood is that it breeds more sin. Lies lead to other lies, and even lead to other sins as well. Many times, we as people fail to see how certain things affect things later until the event is over. Sometimes, we can look back over the scene of our lives and see where certain failures or successes led to other failures or successes down the road. Many of the problems of today's modern world find direct connection with failures in the past. For example, modern social problems as they pertain to delinquent children, diseases, etc. find direct connection to the failings of people to live up to marriage vows and honour the God-given institution of marriage. However, one problem seen repeatedly today (even among many of God's children) stems from a failure in today's world to see and appreciate the gospel for the inestimable treasure that it is.
During Christ's ministry, He performed a great many miracles, and there are direct spiritual connections and applications in them. Even though the miracles literally happened just as recorded, they do point to spiritual relevance in our lives. Two miracles that occurred "back-to-back" during Christ's time were the feeding of the 5,000 with five loaves and two fishes and the miracles on the sea with Christ walking on water. Our study verse shows that a failure of the disciples in regard to one miracle led to their problems during the next miracle. Let us see what the relevance and spiritual application is for us today in this lesson.
Though we cannot devote much space to long proofs of the spiritual lesson of the miracles, let us briefly lay out those lessons to build upon for our application. When Christ fed the multitudes with a very miniscule amount of food, we see direct relevance and correlation to the preaching of the gospel. The gospel feeds our souls and cheers our spirits like nothing else in the world can do. The food that it provides fills us in ways the world can never fill. When in application, God uses men of His calling to distribute food and feed His sheep. Though their efforts seem small and the amount of food so little, yet the hands of Christ make the distribution plenteous and the bounty beyond compare. So often, the minister feels like his studies and meditations have been so small, and yet the Lord blesses the effort to not only feed the flock but also have more left over than we started with.
As Christ comes walking on the water in the sea towards His disciples in the boat, we see a direct application and relevance to Christ coming to cheer us and comfort us during the storms and tribulations of life. Though the floods rage and the winds roar, yet His very presence can still things in the midst of the storm. His sweet voice can drive away the doubts and gloom by the simple statement, "It is I." Then, when the Saviour steps into the boat with us (takes care of the problem we are facing), the calm is immediate and miraculous.
In the verse before our study verse, we see that the disciples were incredulous about what had occurred on the sea. Pulling the gospel accounts together, they had just witnessed the Saviour walking on water, Peter walking on water, and seen an immediate calm to the storm that they could not handle. Their amazement and incredulity could best be described in a commonly made statement today, "I just can't believe it!" They seemed unable to believe what they just experienced due to direct failure to remember a past miracle from Christ's hand.
Before moving into the spiritual realm, consider just how forgetful the disciples had been. The feeding of the multitude had just occurred, and they quickly either forgot or failed to keep in remembrance what they just witnessed. They also had been with Christ for quite some time by this point. They had not just started walking with Him during His ministry. Therefore, they had seen many things by this point and were quite experientially aware of His power and authority. Yet, even after all of that, they found themselves in the throes of despair for failing to remember or consider what He had already done in their presence.
Moving into the spiritual realm, this account shows quite vividly that people will always fall victim and prey to the sorrows and travails of life when they fail to utilize and consider the rich treasure of the gospel in their lives. Whenever we have those rich times with God by His Spirit through the gospel, we experience something that cannot be experienced or realized anywhere else. Nowhere else on the world at that time would one have found a miracle like Christ performed in feeding those people. His presence, power, and authority were on rich display, and the people there present enjoyed bounty from His hand. We today experience His power, presence, and authority within the halls of Zion through the heralding of the gospel and receive limitless bounty from His hand.
Yet, just as the blessing on that occasion should have sustained people beyond that setting (their bellies were filled), so should the gospel sustain us beyond the initial hearing of it. It should provide food for our souls for many moments to come. The disciples even had a basket apiece to go with them for nourishment in the future. Meditations of the gospel in the days following its heralding provide future sustainment in the days following church service. The intent of the gospel therefore is not just richness for the occasion but also sustainment in the trials that will shortly follow.
So, why is it that so many (self included) fall into the pitfall of overmuch sorrow through the storms of life? Why is it that when Christ in His mercy, comfort, and power walks on the storm, blesses us to walk on the storm, and eventually quells the storm we stand in amazement in seeming unbelief of what just happened? The direct reason is that we fail to keep in remembrance what the gospel has given us. Matthew 14's account of this tells us that Christ constrained them to enter the boat that night and pass over the sea. He put them in the boat and told them to go! Why in the midst of the storm should they have felt that He had forsaken them or sent them to die? Why when He comes to them should they have been surprised? Why after the amazing events on the sea that night should they have been so incredulous? These are all consequences of failing to remember and consider the power, comfort, and sustainment of the gospel.
Whenever Monday comes (and it always does), sorrow should not be the diet of the day. Whenever midweek arrives, life should not seem interminable and without hope. Yet, all too often, these are the weekly rituals that we engage our minds and hearts in. However, if we consistently consider and "chew upon" those gospel treasures that we have enjoyed in days past, we do not become overcome with anxiety about the storms of life. When Christ comes to cheer our hearts in the midst of the storm and calls us to walk with Him, we do not stand in bewildered contemplation over the scene.
Friends, the gospel does so much for us here in this vale of tears. One of the richest things that it does besides providing strength for today is to give comfort and sustainment coupled with hope for tomorrow. If the same Lord has fed us so well from His table today, He will not leave us or suffer more to come upon us than we can handle tomorrow. May we enjoy those rich times with Him at the table, and may we look for His coming on top of the waves of sorrow and listen for that sweet and cheering voice that speaks peace to our souls. May we not stand unbelieving at His power to quell problems in our lives that we cannot handle, but may we thank Him with the same fervor in which we enjoy His sweets and dainties at the table of the Lord. Considering that sorrow and anxiety are higher now than at any time, it should be no surprise that the gospel is less desired or treasured than at any other time. May we desire and treasure the gospel and keep our heads up looking for Him during our trials in life.