There’s an interesting story in The Bible where Jesus gathers a bunch of folk and miraculously feeds them with some fish and loaves. It’s powerful stuff. But also quite divisive.
I know that Jesus and The Bible aren’t everybody’s cup of tea. Probably some of you are getting ready to click the Back-button right now. STOP! Stick around just a little longer and hear me out.
The Fish and Loaves story is all very well and good. But of more interest to me (and let’s face it, probably to you) is how Jesus drew that kind of an audience in the first place. And even more controversially, what he did once he had them.
This guy just fed 5k people with some fish and loaves. You WON’T BELIEVE what happens next!
If we rewind the story a bit, Jesus has been kicking things up all over Jerusalem. Healing blind men and cripples, casting out demons, partying with the sinners and upsetting the religious folk of the day – the pharisees.
By the time he gets close to Bethsaida, it’s not surprising he’s drawing a bit of a crowd. In fact, there’s not just a bit of a crowd. There’s a multitude! And even though he’s not averse to pitching some Kingdom concepts in their general direction – he knows his time has not yet come.
Jesus needs to thin folk out a bit. Separate the wheat from the chaff as it were. Or the sheep from the goats.
Jesus has a great philosophy in this regard. As a marketeer, I feel like I can learn a lot from him. After all, he does have the biggest tribe in the entire universe (so far as we know at least.) If Jesus was on Twitter or Facebook, there’s a good chance you’d be following him – or at least seeing some of his content shared onto your timeline or feed.
So there’s a few things I take away from the story:
Feed the masses
Jesus was totally down with feeding the masses both physically and spiritually. Not enough fish and loaves? No problem – he’s got this. Once they’d eaten, Jesus had several great messages (the Beatitudes) to deliver as well.
Not everyone liked or understood what he had to say though. Which leads into my next point.
Divide and conquer
Jesus called his people out with his words . He knew to whom he was speaking and he had a strong (but divisive) message designed to have a powerful impact on their world.
He also knew that many people wouldn’t understand or agree with his message.
And that for some, even though they understood and aligned themselves with what Jesus was saying – he knew it wasn’t the right time for them. Not everyone was a do-er (able to implement) of his words.
Of those that remained, and who really got where Jesus was coming from and what he was trying to do, Jesus spoke these words:
The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever… Anyone who eats this Bread will live — and forever! The Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is myself, this flesh-and-blood self.
It’s the ultimate call to action, right? Jesus is saying that if you’re going to follow him – there’s no holding back. You’re all in.
It’s the kind of opt-in button that only hardcore followers are going to push. And it’s THOSE people who Jesus wanted to draw to himself.
Jesus was pretty good at whittling down his followers. Ultimately ending up with core groups of twelve and three. I think there’s a lesson here too.
- Your vision is your permission.
- You are capable of your calling.
- You are much more powerful than you realise.
- Yes you can get everything you want.
- You are loved. You are enough. You are worthy. You deserve the very best of everything.
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