Tag Archives: Mark 6

Morning Thoughts (Mark 6:52)

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.

In Hope,

Bro Philip

Morning Thoughts (Mark 6:31)

Mark 6:31, “And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.”

This morning, we attempt writing upon a subject we have never written about before. Looking at the world around us, entertainment abounds, and most of it is foolish at best and ungodly at worst. A question that I as a minister get asked more and more often is, “Is there Biblically authorized entertainment that I can participate in without violating my walk and profession to Christ? If so, what is it?” Now, these people are not asking about church-sponsored activities and events. None of those would be authorized or condoned by Scriptural record, but on an individual level, what constitutes our “down time” or entertainment on a purely natural level? Does anything? As the world becomes more and more entertainment minded, I feel confident that I and many other ministers will have to field these types of questions more and more.

Undoubtedly, Scripture declares that we should love the Lord with every fiber of our being. (Luke 10:27) So, with such a clear principle, some would conclude – and some have – that entertainment is inherently bad as it detracts from that. As we should magnify the Lord with our body and spirit, some might think no room was left for entertainment of any sort nor of leisure time that was not immersed in the active, devoted service to Christ Jesus the Lord. While we should be found engaged in the clear commandments above, the Scriptures do bear out that times are necessary in this world for things of a nonspiritual nature.

Before we launch into the broad waters of what might be considered good entertainment or not, let us consider the difference between something being “unspiritual” or “nonspiritual.” We might also label the contrasting terms “carnal” or “natural.” When looking at the term “unspiritual” which would equate to something being “carnal,” we see something that is opposed to spirituality and is its enemy. Since the carnal mind is God’s enemy (Romans 8:7), unspiritual activity would be entertainment or otherwise that is contrary to spiritual things and dampers them in our lives. On the other hand something that is “nonspiritual” or maybe simply “natural” is something that does not actively destroy spirituality but simply lacks it. Rather than being spiritual things’ enemy, it is simply neutral.

Now, having laid out those two terms, one might say, “What was the point of that?” The point is simply this: many things in life are done that have no spiritual significance that do not actively destroy spirituality in our lives. For example, should I take my children to the park and spend time with them sliding down slides, etc. there is absolutely nothing spiritual in that activity. Truly, my love for my children has roots in spiritual things, but the activity itself does not actively promote spirituality. It is simply a natural pleasure. Does this mean that it dampers my spiritual thinking? It could should I be excessive in the activity, but the activity itself does not deter my spiritual deportment.

In our study verse above, we read about the word “leisure” with the thought that the disciples did not have it on this occasion. Our verse above gives insight into how we should view leisure. The word leisure simply means to have a convenient time. They did not have enough convenient time to even eat on this occasion. During their service to God, they could not even find a moment to eat and simply relax in a natural way. This brings us to a Biblical point that eating food bears no spiritual significance. Paul laboured to make such a point when dealing with Christian liberty in Romans 14. Are we any more or less spiritual depending on our diet or lack thereof? Not according to Paul. It is a natural activity that – inherently speaking – is simply nonspiritual.

These disciples were so engrossed in the service of God with so many others on this occasion that they could not even eat. No leisure for a meal. This should show us that leisure, entertainment, and the like always takes a back seat when the Master bids us. If we are engaged in God’s house, food is secondary. All things else are secondary. Now, the verse does show the Master’s understanding that rest is necessary. Therefore, while He does bid us come and labour with Him, He is also gracious to bid us rest a while as well. Labouring spiritually is taxing upon the natural faculties, and He understands that we need leisure from time to time. Notice though that the service was first; the rest was second.

So, the first principle about this leisure is that God’s work still comes first. Christ declared that His righteousness, His kingdom, etc. should always come first (and thereby most important) in our lives. (Matthew 6:33-34) What about food? He promises that should His service come first and more important in our lives, natural blessings, such as food, would be added as well. When Christ and His disciples walked, He did not preach all day every day for 3.5 years. They would naturally rest, naturally eat, naturally sleep, etc. None of these things bore spiritual significance, but were simply natural activities of a non-carnal nature.

Understanding that His service is first, let us seek some ground to discover what the Bible says about leisure or having convenient time to participate in natural things. Eating has been covered as one of those things. What about a husband and wife’s activities together? Certainly, my love for my wife should be rooted in the love of Christ and understanding how to treat her, with the example of Christ’s love to His bride. Do all of our actions bear spiritual significance? No they do not. Isaac was found sporting with his wife Rebekah. (Genesis 26:8) That word “sporting” means to laugh, play about, or even mock in a kidding way. What Isaac did with his wife was share time that just the two of them could enjoy with each other – nonspiritual in nature – that showed their enjoyment of one another’s company. So should it be with the husband and wife today.

Paul laboured to show that marriages have things other than just simply vows and service to God. (I Corinthians 7) During his lengthy discourse on that subject to the Corinthians, he plainly states that a man’s service to God will suffer (time-wise) as he will HAVE to make time for his wife. While his wife is definitely secondary with the Lord first and foremost, he does have to make time to please his wife, spend time with her, and share moments of laughter, sport, etc. with her. The reason that it is necessary is that God knows that our natural relationships need that. Paul understood such, and declared the necessity of husbands and wives pleasing one another with time (leisure) and entertainment.

So also does the family of a man require time devoted to them. As we stated earlier, we love our wife and children based on the love of Christ for and to us. What we do with them and for them should extend beyond natural affection and into the realm of self-sacrificing and abiding love. However, with that well-spring of love to them, we will certainly have affections for them that necessarily should be met. Could I pray and meditate more without doing things with my children? Absolutely. Could I find more time to study without a wife? Definitely. However, they should not be looked upon as detriments to our service, nor their requests for time met as deterrents to our walk. Rather, we should delight to spend time with them, and pray that God would sweeten our time with them and abundantly enrich our time with Him.

Inevitably, someone now says, “But preacher, you have not listed acceptable nonspiritual activities against unacceptable unspiritual activities.” No I have not, for the list could be lengthy and endless. However, Paul stated toward the end of a passage about liberty of action to do all that we do for the glory of God. (I Corinthians 10:31) He specifically had eating under consideration. Do we eat or not? That is unimportant when compared to the why. Why do it or not do it? For the glory of God. So, are we back to decrying against all leisure and entertainment? No we are not. Simply put, we are summing the matter with this thought.

If leisure time is secondary to God’s service of a spiritual design, spiritual service should be done to the glory of God. However, knowing that we have natural needs that must be serviced, that should be done to the glory of God. Perhaps we are in a season where we must put family or even food aside to worship God and actively walk with Him in sweet fellowship. If that is the proper course at the convenient time, we should do it to the glory of God. Perhaps our family needs attention, the children need some playtime, the wife needs some quality time, our bodies need rest, food, or relaxation time. Whatever the natural need might be, service it to the glory of God. How? Do it firstly because He says He is pleased when we live as families in such a way. Do it secondarily as it will strengthen our frame for future efforts of service to Him. No one is of much good to God’s kingdom as a “spiritual burn-out.” One of the fastest ways to reach that point is to deny the benefit and Biblical aspects of good leisure and recreation. It is never the first course, nor is it the biggest portion, but giving it its due place, we will experience more energy and efficiency for our times of spiritual service to God.

In Hope,

Bro Philip