10/10/18 Powerful and Practical

READING: Matthew 10, 14; Mark 6:7-56; Luke 9:1-17; John 6

“But he answered them, ‘You give them something to eat.’”

Mark 6:37

It’s always fun for me to see how God puts things together. He is not a God of disorder or chaos (1 Cor. 14:33), and His attention to detail is always fascinating.

Today’s reading includes the story of Jesus’ feeding the 5000, the only miracle other than the resurrection included in all four gospels. Apparently, this miracle mattered to the gospel writers. Not only does it show the miraculous power of God to provide, but it also shows Jesus’ commitment to order. Notice how the writers variously describe the event:

  • “Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass.” (Matt. 14:19
  • “Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties.” (Mark 6:39-40)
  • “For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, ‘Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.’” (Luke 9:14)
  • “Jesus said, ‘Have the people sit down.’ Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number.” (John 6:10)

Distributing food to more than 5000 men, and likely many others, would necessitate a sense of order. Jesus had the people sit down in groups of 50 (thus, 100 different groups), which would facilitate distributing the food. Sitting or reclining on the grass would have been a typical posture for people having a meal, and a semicircle arrangement would have made the task easier. Jesus was both powerful and practical—a great combination! 

This reading reminds me that practically strategizing to accomplish God’s work is not itself sinful. Leaning solely on a strategy is problematic, but leaning on God might result in His giving us a remarkably practical strategy through which He works.  


  • Thank God for His power.
  • Thank Him for the way He practically leads us.

PRAYER: “Lord, I praise You for Your provision.” 

TOMORROW’S READING: Matthew 15, Mark 7:1-8:10