Maybe it’s just the bad news from my bathroom scales talking, but I just noticed that everything the Lord asked the disciples to do regarding food kept getting harder and harder.
First, Jesus asks the disciples to catch fish for themselves (chapter 5). Big deal, they’re fishermen. He even tells them the best fishing spot.
Then he tells them to leave their nets and go with him town to town (8:1-2). Nowhere to fish, but s’okay, the ladies will do the cooking (and grocery shopping).
Next he tells them to go out and preach without taking any food with them, and to rely on the friendly locals for their daily bread (9:3). This is a little less “comfortable,” but let’s face it when you are healing people and throwing demons out of their relatives, it doesn’t take huge powers of suggestion to cadge a solid meal out of them afterwards.
And then he really stretches the guys’ food comfort zone. He gathers five thousand people, preaches to them until they’re really hungry (as so, presumably, are the disciples), and tells the disciples:
“You give them something to eat” (9:13). Suddenly they’re a long way from professional fishermen fishing for their dinner. They are a long way from home and the mess tent is open and there’s just one problem – there’s no chow. What’s a disciple to do?
What they end up doing is asking Jesus for help and then doing what he tells them to do. And it works out pretty well for everyone concerned. Jesus has been stretching their faith and developing their apostolic (“sent out”) skills, all in the course of daily life, including the part of life that most guys enjoy most (well, second to most) – food!