November 3rd, 2006
When you’re not yet doing anything to help others, your ability to make a difference often seems pretty small. There are billions of incredibly needy people; what difference can I make? But when you start doing something for the poorest of the poor, when you put your heart into it, you are doing something which God smiles on and your resources miraculously seem to grow. This isn’t a scheme for you to get rich. It’s simply an opportunity for you to experience God’s momentum when you start to become the person God designed you to be.
Mark’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 6
6:1 He left there and came to his own region, followed by his disciples. 6:2 On the Sabbath he taught in the synagogue and many were amazed to hear him, “Where did he get all this from?” and, “What special wisdom has been given to this man, allowing such mighty works to be done by his hands? 6:3 Isn’t this the carpenter, son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judah and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” They were offended by him.
6:4 Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honour, except in his own country and among his own relatives and in his own house.” 6:5 He could do no mighty work there, although he did lay his hands on a few sick people to heal them. 6:6 He was amazed by their unbelief.
He went around the villages teaching. 6:7 He summoned the twelve and sent them out two by two, and he gave them authority over unclean spirits. 6:8 He instructed them to take nothing on the road with them except a staff: no bread, no wallet, no money in their pocket, 6:9 only one pair of sandals, and no spare set of clothing. 6:10 He said, “Wherever you go into a house, stay there until you leave that place. 6:11 If someone won’t receive you or hear you, shake off the dust from your feet as a witness against them when you leave. I can guarantee that Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off on the day of judgment than that city!”
6:12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 6:13 They cast out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil, and healed them. 6:14 King Herod heard about this, because the name of Jesus had become known, and he said, “John the Baptist has come back from the dead and that is why these powers are at work in him.” 6:15 Others said, “He is Elijah.” Still others said, “He is a prophet like one of the prophets of old.” 6:16 But Herod, when he heard this, said, “This is John whom I beheaded. He has returned from the dead.” 6:17 You see, Herod had personally arranged for John to be arrested, and had chained him up in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. 6:18 John had told Herod, “It is wrong for you to have your brother’s wife.” 6:19 Herodias set herself against him, and wanted to kill him but couldn’t, 6:20 because Herod feared John and kept him safe, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man. Herod enjoyed listening to John, but found him troubling.
6:21 Then an opportunity arose at Herod’s birthday dinner attended by important people, senior officers, and the leaders of Galilee. 6:22 When Herodias’s daughter came in to dance, she delighted Herod and those sitting with him. The king said to the young lady, “Ask me for anything you want, and I will give it to you.” 6:23 He promised her on oath, “I will give you anything you ask for, up to half of my kingdom.”
6:24 She went and asked her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She said, “The head of John the Baptist.” 6:25 She came quickly back to the king, “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”
6:26 The king was distressed to hear this, but because he had taken an oath and because of his dinner guests, he didn’t want to refuse her. 6:27 The king sent out a soldier of his guard to bring John’s head, and he went and beheaded him in the prison, 6:28 and brought his head on a platter, giving it to the young lady; and the young lady gave it to her mother. 6:29 When his disciples heard this they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.
6:30 The apostles gathered with Jesus to let him know what they had done and what they had taught. 6:31 He said to them, “Let’s go to a quiet place, and rest for a while,” because so many people were many coming and going that they didn’t even have time to eat. 6:32 They went off in the boat to a quiet place by themselves. 6:33 But people noticed them going, and anticipated their plan, running there on foot from all the towns and arriving before them. 6:34 Jesus was met by a large crowd as he got off the boat, and he felt sympathy for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he taught them many things. 6:35 As the day wore on, his disciples came and said to him, “This place is deserted, and it is late in the day. 6:36 Send them off to the surrounding country and villages to buy themselves bread, because they have nothing to eat.”
6:37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” They asked him, “Should we spend two hundred denarii to buy bread, and give them something to eat?” 6:38 He said, “Go and find out how many loaves you have.” They found out, and said, “Five, and two fish.”
6:39 He instructed everyone to sit down in groups on the green grass. 6:40 They sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 6:41 He took the five loaves and two fish, and looking up to heaven he blessed and broke the loaves and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people, and he divided the two fish among them all. 6:42 All the people ate until they were full. 6:43 They collected twelve baskets full of leftover bread and fish. 6:44 There were five thousand men who ate.
6:45 Straight afterwards, he arranged for his disciples to get into the boat and go ahead to Bethsaida on the other side, while he himself dispersed the crowd. 6:46 After leaving them, he went up the mountain to pray.
6:47 After nightfall the boat was in the middle of the sea, and he was alone on the land. 6:48 He could see them having trouble rowing into a headwind, and shortly before dawn he came to them, walking on the sea, and he would have passed by them, 6:49 but when they all saw him walking on the sea they cried out in terror, imagining it was a ghost. 6:50 At once he spoke to them, “Be encouraged! It’s me! Don’t be afraid.” 6:51 He got into the boat with them and the wind ceased, and they were completely amazed, 6:52 because they hadn’t really understood about the loaves, as their hearts were unreceptive.
6:53 When they completed the crossing, they anchored the boat at Gennesaret. 6:54 Jesus was recognised as soon as they had climbed out of the boat, 6:55 and people hurried around the whole district, bringing sick people on their stretchers to where they heard he was. 6:56 Wherever he went, in villages or towns or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged to be allowed to touch just the fringe of his clothes, and those who touched him were healed.
Entry Filed under: Generosity