Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Worthy to Be Believed

by J. Vernon McGee

Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude? (Matthew 15:32, 33)
Frankly, this seems like just a rerun of the feeding of the five thousand. It appears to be a repetition, and we wonder why Matthew included it since it doesn't seem to add any further advancement of the messianic claims of the Lord Jesus. However, this is a section in which the emphasis is not upon Jesus pressing His messianic claim but the emphasis is on the rejection of His claim. And this miracle shows how slowly the disciples were to learn. They had already witnessed the feeding of the five thousand (and I think it took place only a few days before this), yet here they raise the same old objections of unbelief. Again His disciples say to Him, "Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?"

And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. (Matthew 15:34-36)
This is a revelation that the disciples had not really learned the lesson. Their reluctance to believe actually constitutes a form of rejection. My friend, unbelief is sin. In Romans 14:23 it says "whatsoever is not of faith is sin." In Hebrews 12:1 we are admonished to "lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us." What is that weight? I think it is unbelief. Unbelief is sin. I am willing to make this confession: I wish that I believed Him more. He is worthy to be believed; I ought to believe Him fully, but the problem is with me. And I suspect that the problem is with you, also.

This chapter reveals that our Lord's disciples are not keeping up. They are slow to believe and slow to understand. This is actually hindering the Lord Jesus. It seems at this point that, since He has reached the breaking point with the religious rulers, He is having a real problem with His disciples. He appears to be just marking time until they catch up.

Frankly, He is very patient with you and me, also. Many of us need to catch up; we are far behind in our belief and understanding. Oh, that we might believe Him!


  • Just heard this very message from McGee on the radio. He, as you know, is one of my all-time favorite Bible teachers, even after his death.

    Thanks, Rose. I love it!

    By Blogger Joe, at 8/04/2006 8:35 AM  

  • May the Lord increase our faith.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 8/04/2006 8:50 AM  

  • Hi Joe,

    friend, may I say very kindly to you ...

    (recognize that?)

    One of your all-time favorites and mine too. Have a good weekend!


    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/04/2006 12:32 PM  

  • I remember my mom listening to J. Vernon McGee on the radio in the car when I was rather young. His program had "How Firm A Foundation" played before it started, right? It's been a long time, so my memory is a bit fuzzy...

    By Blogger The IBEX Scribe, at 8/04/2006 4:55 PM  

  • So true Rose. Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 8/05/2006 3:25 PM  

  • Great Post Rose,
    I need to start catching up.

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at 8/05/2006 3:35 PM  

  • This was a blessing to read. It is no wonder that his teaching and appropriation of truth in love spreads thoughout all the world.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 8/05/2006 4:34 PM  

  • Hi Angie,
    What a fond memory. My mom never listened to anything sound. Yes, I love the song "How firm a foundation" - I am singing it in my head right now with those deep, choir-type voices.

    Hi Todd,
    Thanks for stopping by - it is good to see you around again.

    Will we ever be caught up on anything?

    Hi Brian,
    I am glad you see the value in McGee. He is my favorite radio Bible teacher. Have a blessed Sunday, Brian!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/05/2006 5:58 PM  

  • Tremendous value in McGee. Glad you like him. You and John have a wonderful Sunday as well.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 8/05/2006 6:27 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Jesus fed the five thousand on April 15, 29 A.D. This is one of the easiest dates in the gospels to pinpoint because it was at the Passover, and the next day was a Sabbath. Feeding the four happened right at four weeks later.

    Personally, I don't regard this as an episode of unbelief, but of simply not getting it, based on too much of an ungrateful self-focus.

    For example, I remember reading about the Exodus many years ago, and shaking my head at the Israelites. How could they see God's signs in Egypt, and the ever-present pillar of cloud or fire, and yet doubt Him? But before I could chuckle too comfortably, I felt the Lord gently prodding me.

    Only that morning, I had been doing a little whining of my own. And yet -- He brought it back to me now -- it had only been a day or so since He'd done something wonderful for me. And only another day or so before that one, etc. In fact, He has been walking closely with Me the whole time.

    When we are still immature baby Christians, as the apostles were at that time, these things quickly slip off our radar screen again. We don't seem to appreciate anything recent, we just care about the need on our horizon. In fact, I hear that all babies are basically like that, so I suppose you have a rather poignant refresher course in store :-)

    Fun exercise, if you ever have the time for it: Compare the episode of feeding the four thousand to the Second Passover, in the wilderness, one year after the Exodus began. Some interesting correlations will emerge.

    Thanks for the posting.

    By Blogger Cleopas, at 8/05/2006 11:02 PM  

  • I have a number of McGee's commentaries. I always enjoy their clarity and practicality.

    By Blogger Gordon Cloud, at 8/08/2006 10:53 PM  

  • Is there any MP3's you can download so I can listen while I work? Surprisingly this whole ITunes thing has been a real eye opener when working. I setup a podcast (I don't have an IPOD) and it automatically downloadsAl Mohler, Desiring God, Insight for Living, and White Horse Inn for me and then I can copy the files to my laptop computer at work and listen to great stuff while I'm writing software....

    Do you know where to get any MP3 stuff from him?

    By Blogger Shawn L, at 8/10/2006 12:36 AM  

  • Thanks, Loren,
    for your thoughtful comment. You really like to make me think, don't you?

    Is it the edited messages that you have? I have all 5 volumes and have enjoyed reading through them a couple of times.

    Hi Shawn,
    I will look around and see if I can find anything and then I will email you if I do.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/11/2006 11:51 AM  

  • Dr. McGee has long been my favorite as well, I guess it is because he exalts the Lord Jesus so much. Pray for me, I want to exalt Him too.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 8/28/2010 12:19 PM  

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