There is a great illustration in Mark 6 of the disciples desparately needing a spiritual revelation, but due to hard hearts they were blinded. I want to thank a pastor from California who preached in the local church here in Baja about this passage. He opened it up in a new way for me.
The story you all know, the feeding of the 5000. After the miracle it says the disciples took up twelve baskets full of fragments of the food left over. Jesus then sent them in a boat across the Sea of Galilee. (Those of you who went to Israel with us in 2010 will know just what this would have been like.) Jesus then went up on the mountain to pray. A storm arose and as they rowed, the wind was against them. It was a crisis for the men, life and death. Meanwhile, Jesus was watching and praying on the mountain. First application right here. If you have been sent by the Lord, if you are obeying his direction for your life, don’t expect smooth sailing. Storms and contrary winds will usually oppose your trip. Know that Jesus is watching and praying for you. But this is not all. It is much deeper.
Jesus then walks on the water and it says in verse 48 that he intended to pass them by! Interesting, why? The disciples spotted him, however, and because of his mercy he got into the boat and the wind stopped. Then comes this verse I never understood, verse 52: “For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.” Why had Jesus intended to pass them by and what did they not understand about the baskets full of the leftover bread and fish?
These twelve baskets were, it seems to me, probably with the disciples in the boat. Twelve baskets, twelve men, one for each disciple. Interesting. The food in the baskets was never intended primarily for food to eat, i.e. food for their bodies, but for fuel for their faith. It was a present reminder of a past miracle. Their hearts however were hard, in other words their hearts were spiritually dull. They did not “get it.” They did not know what the Lord wanted them to see and do in the midst of their problem.
I believe Jesus expected the disciples to deal with the wind, which is why he planned to pass them by. In a previous miracle, on another day, we know they encountered a storm and Jesus was sleeping in the boat. They were super fearful and woke him up. He rebuked the storm right in front of them, to show them, teach them, the authority they had and that they had nothing to fear. So now in Mark 6 they have a basket apiece, with the leftover miracle in it, and had previously seen a demonstration by Jesus of what to do in this situation.
Question for you and me today. What revelation are we in need of today? Are our hearts spiritually dull to some important matter that we need for a breakthrough? Are we waiting for Jesus to do something when in fact we have been given all we need to deal with the matter ourselves in the Spirit? Remember, a key ministry of the Holy Spirit is to give us wisdom and revelation. Draw near, sit at his feet, read carefully the Word, pray, and listen. Expect him to open your eyes and soften your heart.
“My people perish (are destroyed) for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6)