They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.
I’ve always liked movies or video clips when a building collapse. There are so many of them on the internet – I could just watch them over and over. They are sort of like watching sports highlights. You know that there was a ton of other things going on. There was lots of events and buildup beforehand.
But when a building collapse is different. That’s the whole ballgame. The one thing that they all have in common is that they are all planned events. Building implosions are carefully scheduled out for months; holes are drilled, charges placed and wired to computers for precise detonation.
Sporting events are scheduled well in advance, some for years. There is lots of logistical planning and execution before the event opens.
But there is one big difference. The exact time of the building implosion is known. Everyone has been told when the explosion is going to take place. But with sports, you really don’t know when there’s going to be a great shot or great miss. You don’t know when there will be a “Top 10” moment or a great big failure.
And it’s that “unknown” that makes sports thrilling. The hours of normal are interrupted by moments of magic. It’s these flashes of genius that can completely astonish us.
When was the last time you were completely amazed? And not just amazed for a moment, but so astonished that you couldn’t put it all together for some period of time. It knocked you over. The foundation of your thinking was stunned to the point that you could only stare into space.
That’s where the disciples are. They go from struggling, rowing against the wind, to Jesus’ walking by them on the water. They go from hard work with little to show for it to having the top of their world blown off.
Everybody knows that you can’t walk on water. Some of us have enough trouble just floating. But to walk on the water is against everything that we know to be true.
And why were they amazed? We could spend lots of time and energy speculating. But the Bible, the historical account, tells us exactly what was at the heart of their amazement?
They had not understood about the loaves.
With the loaves, Jesus demonstrates his absolute authority and control over the physical universe. The rules or laws that govern and control our world are absolute within the world system. But just suppose there is someone who’s over and above the regular, day-to-day rules of life. Someone who was superior to the natural laws of the universe. They would be supernatural.
And now we come down to crunch time, down to where the rubber meets the road. Do you think and believe in a purely natural world, where things only happen based on the mechanical universe and/or totally random chance? If you do, you are free to believe that. But then you must also take all the baggage that comes along with it.
If you really buy into a mechanical, impersonal world, then there’s really is no love, no beauty, no creativity. If there’s no way to go over or around the laws, then all we have is a lifeless, loveless existence.
And that’s where we find the disciples. They hadn't moved from looking at Jesus as just another, natural man to a supernatural man. They were stuck in the mud because they had not understood about the loaves.
If they had understood about the loaves, then they’d realize that Jesus could push his way over, around and through the normal rules that apply to people just like you and me. Being the creator and sustainer of the universe, Jesus had the power, right and authority to change the rules of the game, the laws of the universe.
The result of not understanding about the loaves is that their hearts were hardened. They were happy to accept the additional bread and fish from the hands of Jesus. To receive the excitement and thanks of the crowd. But they weren’t willing to let that penetrate their heart.
And when they won’t let Jesus in, their hearts grow hard and cold. In refusing to let Jesus in, they settled into a state of dullness and callousness. Their eyes and minds lacked understanding.
So, with all that God has done for you in Jesus, what’s your response? To quickly celebrate, closely followed by drifting back into the normal, day-to-day routine where there’s no room for miracles?
Let’s not just be amazed, but be completely amazed. May our hearts be open to see Jesus enter into our lives in a way that just blows us away.