Mar 6:42-45 And (the people) all ate and were satisfied. And (the disciples) took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men. Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.
Through feeding perhaps 10,000 people the plan Jesus had made was fulfilled – ‘they all ate and were satisfied’ (v42). At this point it would have been possible to say ‘mission accomplished’. But that would not have been true. The account has two more verses.
First, we find the disciples on the hillside clearing up the left-overs (v 43). How typical this is of so many tasks. When the people are satisfied, such as at the end of a worship meeting, there is still the clearing up to be done; chairs needing to be straightened, lost property to be collected, the lights to be turned out.
Second, there must have been a review. How else would they have been able to record the number of baskets of left-overs and the size of the crowd? ‘How many were there?’ Jesus would have asked. Because the people had been seated in blocks of 50and 100 the disciples were quickly able to tell him ‘Five thousand men’.
At the start of this story we saw the disciples being deflected from their intended course to debrief about the ministry trip they had just completed. Perhaps this review took place as they gathered round a fire that evening. Can you imagine the discussions? Earlier in the day the disciples had been full of their experiences when they saw the sick healed and the demons fleeing at their command. Perhaps they were each trying to tell an even more exciting story than the previous speaker about what God had done through them. Maybe a little flexibility in recall took place! But now they had also witnessed one of the most remarkable creative miracles of all time. Their faith must have been sky-high! How good it would have been to have been the proverbial ‘fly on the wall’ as they talked excitedly together!
Well executed Administration can create a context for amazing opportunities to see God at work. In the next posting we will begin to look in a little more depth at some of the skills and techniques Jesus exercised.
Completion of the task is not the end!