Wednesday, June 18, 2008

He is sufficient

When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 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 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?" And he said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go and see." And when they had found out, they said, "Five, and two fish." 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. And taking the five loaves and the two fish he 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 6:34-44)

The sermon last Sunday was on this section of Mark 6 and you can easily see why the disciples were confused. I know we have the advantage of looking back and seeing the whole picture, but to the disciples the question had to be: How can such a multitude be fed with five loaves and 2 small fish?

Many still ask a similar question today regarding the completed work of Christ: How can such a multitude be redeemed by the death of one man?

The answer is the same in either case, He is sufficient. His blood is enough.

It seems odd to many people, like there must be something more. That is one of the two major factors that lead to works based salvation systems:

1. Pride, a rejection of the notion that we are not autonomous, that we are merely recipients, not participants, in our salvation.
2. Distrust, lacking trust in the sufficiency of Christ. There must be more, I must need to do SOMETHING to make this happen.

But in either case, what the Bible teaches is that His sacrifice, His blood is enough. It is not something that is passive, we must believe, we must have faith, but even that faith is a gift granted by God in His sovereign mercy. We don’t decide to suddenly follow Him, we are chosen to have faith in Him. But the story of feeding the multitude is not about how Christ can fulfill our earthly needs, although He does, it is about His absolutely sufficiency in all things. We neither need to nor should desire to add to the work He has done for His elect. His blood is enough.

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