Is Your Relationship with Jesus Relational or Transactional?
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This week at Redeeming Life Church, we'll continue through the gospels with another familiar story: Jesus feeding the 5,000. While this story may be familiar to you I’d still like to encourage you to set aside time this week to read this story in Mark 6:30-44. Interestingly, this is the only miracle that Jesus did (besides His resurrection account) that is mentioned in all four gospel accounts. You can read those parallel accounts in Matthew 14:13-27, Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:7-15. Clearly, the New Testament authors all believed this story was worth mentioning and therefore we too should anticipate hearing from the Lord in this passage.
From the “big picture” perspective of the entire narrative of the Bible, there is a lot going on here in this account, but let’s just look at one of them.
Jesus Himself provides food for the crowds of people who came seeking Him and His teaching. There is a parallel here between God providing manna from heaven to the Israelite’s while they were in the desert in Deuteronomy 8. In Mark 6, the crowds found Jesus in a desolate place, became hungry a desolate place (v. 35) and desired food. While Jesus provides physical bread for them what they actually received was the truth and reality that Jesus is the Bread of Life – the ultimate life Sustainer. Jesus not only provides for our physical needs but it’s only in the finished work of Jesus that we have all of our needs satisfied.
In our “fast food society” the temptation we all face is to treat Jesus like an ATM machine. When we need Him, we go to Him and make a withdraw. This takes many forms. Sometimes we lob up prayers simply asking Him to give us what we want or what we think we need. Sometimes we think attending a church service after missing a few weeks will do the trick. Other times this looks like doing good deeds, being a good person, donating money to things, and reading our Bible only out of selfish motives to try and appease Jesus so that He’ll rain down favor upon us.
Do you see how transactional all this sounds? Yet, if we’re honest, we do this from time to time don’t we?
Here’s the point: Jesus is not to be considered as one of many options when you’re in need; He is the only One who can and will fulfill all your needs.
Jesus not only demands complete submission to Him and His plans, but He also desires that we come to Him with any and every need. (Matthew 11:28-30) We can’t compartmentalize our faith in Jesus; or as one faithful saint once said, “if Christ isn’t Lord of all, He isn’t Lord at all.”
For the Kingdom,
Study & Reflection Questions
1. In addition to His disciples, Jesus clearly had a large following.
- Why did the crowds follow Jesus?
- Why do you follow Jesus? What is your motivation for following Jesus?
- Is my relationship with Jesus more transactional than relational? If it’s more transactional, why is this the case?
2. Jesus provides for their physical needs in an abundant fashion.
- How has Jesus “fed” you when you’ve been spiritually hungry lately?
- When you sense that hunger, do you come searching for Jesus, or do you usually try to fill up on something else first? If so, with what? Why?
- When has God stretched your limited resources (physically or emotionally) far beyond what you could have imagined? In what ways do you need to trust Him to do so now?
3. What is God speaking to you from this text?
4. What does this text demand of your life? Are you willing to apply this text to your life this week?