“…Jesus replied, “Tell them to sit down in groups of about fifty each.”
As we continue to deal with the continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemic we also continue to be impacted by the attempts to curb and control the infection rate with health care and governmental policy directives. As we now are acutely aware, while no one likes being told what to do by someone else, some are willing to comply more willingly than others. As humans, we don’t like being limited or constrained and it becomes clear quickly who doesn’t like it most when asked or required to comply. A reminder for all of us is that what is being asked, can be a short term solution and that we are not being asked to enter into a lifetime of constraint. There are those in human history who have lived their entire lives under someone else’s control and what we are asked to do right now is not anywhere close to that level of compliance. Yes, things will be limited for awhile, like the limitations in the number of people who can gather, but are we not taught that we must look past the present to a time when these things pass and we get to move on?
Jesus limited the crowd at Bethsaida to do his holy work. There were over five thousand in His presence but He told His disciples to sit down people in groups of about 50. Now, do we think that everyone just said, “Sure, I’ll do that!”, or were there naysayers and those who wanted to stay in their larger groups who might have been neighbors, or who had traveled together to go see Jesus and wanted to stay together? Of course there were those people and I imagine even people who might have gotten indignant with the process and direction and just got up, stormed out and left. But, what we learn is that Jesus had a different plan and that when He limited the group size, He performed a miracle that we still speak of today. Did God give us this lesson, for just this time? Maybe. Perhaps He is working on us to rethink what we do, how we do it and why we do it and He is looking to do a miracle within and through us if we will only accept and embrace the limitations that are being put upon us.
Reference: Luke 9:14 (New Living Translation)