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Bible studies

Bible study: A small act of faith

A study on the parable of The Feeding of the Five Thousand from Mark 6:30-44

1996 Available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese

Footsteps magazine issues on a wooden desk.

From: Street children – Footsteps 28

Learning from different groups about how best to support vulnerable children

A Small Act of Faith…

The Feeding of the Five Thousand by Dr Isaac Zokove of FATEB.

Read Mark 6:30–44

Verses 30–32 The disciples have been busy teaching and sharing the good news, without the presence of Jesus. Now he gives them a chance to rest – and he takes over.

Verses 33–34 The crowd was eager – too eager for spiritual teaching to be ignored. They had travelled a long distance to hear more of this new and challenging teaching. Jesus responds with compassion to their needs and teaches them for a long time.

Verses 35–36 Though the disciples may have resented the crowd from preventing Jesus giving them some time alone, they were sensitive to the physical needs of the crowd. They were also realistic. They couldn’t begin to find enough food. ‘Send them away to find themselves food.’ Can we sympathize with this feeling? How often do we feel quite unable to meet the needs of those around us? How often do we long for them to ‘go away and look elsewhere’? Nowhere is this more likely to be the case than when faced with huge numbers of street children. How can we do anything of any use?

Verse 37 Study the disciples’ response to Jesus. What do you think they meant? How would you respond in a similar situation?

Verses 38–44 See how Jesus encouraged them to respond. All the disciples were involved in searching to find a solution to this need. There were only a few of them working together, but from their struggling faith Jesus brought abundance. What do you think really happened? How do you respond to this story?

What can we learn from this?

  • It’s not enough just to be aware of people’s needs – Jesus asks us to take action.
  • In the face of impossible problems, Jesus tells us, ‘All things are possible for the person who believes.’ Mark 9:23
  • The development problems facing us as mountains should not be thought of as a crisis, rather as a challenge to our faith.
  • The disciples had no choice but to find a solution to the problem. In the same way, the Church today has no choice but to find a solution to the development problems which face her. Christ who multiplied the bread is in the midst of this church.

Isaac Zokoue is the Principal of Bangui Evangelical Graduate School of Theology in the Central African Republic.

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