The following poem is a rather long one consisting of 12 stanzas.
So today in Part 1, we will be focusing on the parts highlighted in blue although you are greatly encouraged to read it as a whole.
I AM: Part 1 (Mark 6:30-52)
By Joanne Liaw Sook Ling (1st February 2013)
Jesus and his disciples went away
On a boat to a quiet place to stay
To rest from the pressing crowd for a while
And rejuvenate in the calming lull
But many in the crowd saw them leaving
They ran on foot in haste from their dwellings
And reached the place to where they were heading
For they were hungry for Jesus' teachings
When the boat finally sailed to the shore
Christ had compassion on the crowd he saw
For they were like sheep without a shepherd
So he taught them many things on God's Word
Jesus' disciples came to him and said
'This is a lonely place, it is now late
We all perceive that it is fair and good
To send them away to buy their own food'
'You give them something to eat' Jesus said
'How shall we buy them all sufficient bread?
Two hundred denarii needs to be paid'
They questioned as they wrinkled their foreheads
'How many loaves do you have? Go and see'
Jesus asked them who answered doubtfully
'We've five loaves of bread and two fish at hand
That will not fill the stomachs of grown men'
Christ grouped the crowd in hundreds and fifties
He looked to heaven, prayed and broke the loaves
Which were all distributed evenly
Jesus' disciples did as they were told
Christ divided the two fish among them
The loaves and fish were passed from hand to hand
Remaining were twelve full baskets at hand
More than sufficient for five thousand men
Christ then bade his disciples to journey
To Bethsaida on a boat before him
Dismissing the crowd accordingly he
Went up the mount to pray for strength within
At dusk, Jesus saw the boat on the sea
His disciples were sailing painfully
Scarcely making headway in their journey
For the winds were blowing so violently
Later on at night, Jesus came to them
Walking on the sea for this was his plan
They cried out ‘Ghost!' just like terrified men
Jesus said ‘Take heart, fear not for I AM'
He got into the boat and the winds ceased
They were astounded but could not perceive
Him as God who provided bread for them
And calmed the storm for Jesus is I AM
Points for Reflection:
· There is definitely no denying the deity of Jesus Christ but more often than not, we tend to forget that he was truly human as well. He could feel hungry, tired and weary in the hectic demands of his ministry on earth. That is why he initially asked his disciples to take off on a boat to a quiet place to rest and rejuvenate.
And he [Jesus] said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. (Mark 6:31-32)
· Despite his need for rest, Jesus was filled with compassion when he saw the people were lost like sheep without a shepherd.
Now many saw them [Jesus and his disciples] going and recognized them [Jesus and his disciples], and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them [Jesus and his disciples]. When he [Jesus] went ashore he [Jesus] saw a great crowd, and he [Jesus] had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. (Mark 6:33-34)
· Many centuries before Jesus came to earth, God promised to shepherd the people again directly, since Israel's leaders have failed.
The weak you [Israel's leaders] have not strengthened, the sick you [Israel's leaders] have not healed, the injured you [Israel's leaders] have not bound up, the strayed you [Israel's leaders] have not brought back, the lost you [Israel's leaders] have not sought, and with force and harshness you [Israel's leaders] have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. (Ezekiel 34:4-5)
· Thus, Jesus continued to teach them, functioning as the good shepherd.
I [Jesus] am the good shepherd. I [Jesus] know my own and my own know me (John 10:14)
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. (Psalm 23:1-3)
He [Jesus] will tend his flock like a shepherd; he [Jesus] will gather the lambs in his arms; he [Jesus] will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. (Isaiah 40:11)
· Aren’t you thankful for such a loving God, our good Shepherd who guides, leads and takes care of us? Do you thank God for other good shepherds such as your Christian leaders? Why don't you pray for God to continue strengthening your Christian leaders as good shepherds and also pray for God to soften the hearts of Christian leaders who are not caring for their flock?
· After Jesus had ‘fed’ the crowd with God’s Word, he proceeded to perform a miracle of feeding the crowd of 5,000 men with 5 loaves and 2 fish. As God provided manna (a type of food that God rained down daily from heaven) in the desert for the Israelites long before the coming of Jesus, so Jesus also provided food for the crowd in a deserted place. Jesus was demonstrating his power, not just as a mere prophet, but as God himself.
And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. God who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. (Deuteronomy 8:3,16)
And taking the five loaves and the two fish he [Jesus] looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men. (Mark 6:41-44)
· Before Jesus miraculously multiplied the 5 loaves and 2 fish, Jesus’ disciples were skeptical about how he was going to feed 5,000 men as it would take 200 denarii which is about 200 days’ wages of a labourer. Even after that, they still did not realize that he is God for their eyes were not opened yet.
And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he [Jesus] answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” (Mark 6:35-37)
for they [Jesus’ disciples] did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened. (Mark 6:52)
· How about you? Are your eyes opened to the knowledge that Jesus is truly God? Do you genuinely acknowledge him as your Lord and Saviour and the only way to heaven? If your answer is no, I pray from the bottom of my heart that God will open your heart to see Jesus as I AM.