And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics.
On their return the apostles told him all that they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida. When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing. Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, “Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place.” But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.”
Luke 9:1-3, 10-13 ESV
Jesus sends the disciples on a short-term mission trip to preach the gospel and to heal the sick. He specifically tells them to bring no bread with them. Then when they return, 5,000 people show up to hear Jesus talk, and it’s likely most of them were people to whom the disciples had just gone out and ministered. The people that Jesus sent the disciples to when he specifically said, “Bring no bread.” But when they start to hunger Jesus tells the disciples, “You give them something to eat.” Jesus just told them to have no food, nor money to buy food with them on this particular journey to this people. Now he expects the disciples to give them what they need.
Everyone knows the miraculous work Jesus performs at the end of this story. But the point I think Jesus was making was that he had already provided the disciples with everything they needed for ministry, for any need any soul would have. He had provided himself. But still, I can’t stop hearing the command Jesus lays on their conscience when they start to suggest, “We’ve provided healing and the gospel, now let’s send them away so they can get everything else they need.” Jesus commands the ministers of the gospel, “You give them something to eat.”
I have everything I need in you, Jesus. When I tell of everything you’ve done, I don’t just share a merely spiritual thing. I’m sharing you, the only thing necessary for living. You alone have the words of eternal life. Let my sharing of the gospel not stop with initial conversations, and most of all, let me run straight to Christ when a follower comes to me with a need. You are our one hope, and our one necessity. From you flow all other blessings we could ever encounter.
This post is part of my Weekly REAP series. I’m posting these from my personal journal to share what God is teaching me, and to give some practical examples of the REAP method. I didn’t write any of these with publishing in mind, so forgive me if they don’t always wax eloquent. Here is some more information on the REAP study method.