Just Like Jesus – 7 Loaves
Two weeks ago Judy and I went to see The Green Book, this year’s Oscar winner for best movie. Before the movie, we ate a very nice dinner across the street from the theater. The movie is based on the true story of two men on a journey of discovery, enlightenment, and the shifting of human paradigms against the backdrop of a concert tour through the Deep South in 1962. In a very powerful scene Dr. Don Shirley, a world class African American pianist, is refused service in the dining room of the posh country club where he will be performing later in the evening. Although he will be welcomed to play the piano a mere few feet from where he would like to be seated for a meal, his “kind” is not welcome to dine.
In our day of Food Network TV, selfies with plates of food at the trendy spot or knocking down a few tacos with your friends, there is still a primal place in our psyche for eating in our post-modern age. Because of the primal nature of eating, who you eat with or choose to be with as you eat is so basic to our humanity. I think that is partially why Jesus says He knocks at the door and goes on to say if the door is open He will come in and dine. We relate to dining on a very basic level. Sharing a meal is a very intimate and connecting aspect of relationship. Eating together means something. Perhaps this is why in America of 1962, Blacks could not sit and dine in the same space as Whites or why the continuing story of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark is so compelling.
Mark Chapter 8 opens with Jesus feeding thousands of people with only 7 loaves. As Pastor Ed made very clear, Jesus, is going where no respectable Jew would go. Not only is Jesus teaching in the region of the Decapolis but He dares to touch the people and He dines with them! Jesus previously fed a crowd of Jews but here He is feeding the “dogs,” Gentiles. This juxtaposition of food miracles is another exclamation mark of His grace and mercy in the story of salvation. All are invited and welcome to dine with Jesus.
In his 5thpoint, Pastor Ed states, “knowing Jesus means we attempt to be like Jesus.” There are many ways to approach this point but maybe the first one is how Chapter 8 begins – Jesus said, “I feel compassion for the people. . . .” I think we can use a healthy dose of compassion for one another in our world. There are seemingly infinite places where a little compassion can make the biggest difference. Where to begin? How about at home.
How about feeding people in the character and nature of Jesus? A big shout-out goes to our GateWay family for supplying tons of food for Visalia Emergency Aid to help those in need. On a smaller and more personal scale, how about if you reach out and invite a new person for a meal or simply coffee? It would even be more like Jesus if you did this with someone outside your comfort zone. Perhaps this can be a person of a different race or ethnicity. Whether with a new person within your sphere of contacts or person who doesn’t look like you, it can open the door for a shift in your or their human paradigms – maybe eternal paradigms.