Heavenly Father, we pray that the Holy Spirit will enable, help, teach, convict, confront, correct, rebuke, and reveal the Truth of your word, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Mark 8: 1- 21
This feeding miracle was not the same event as the feeding of the 5000 in Mark 6. The crowd here was 4000 in toto. This happened in Decapolis, a Gentile region. The crowd was with Jesus for 3 days, they had 7 loaves and a few fish, and they collected back 7 baskets of leftovers.
VV 1-4, 1During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, 2 “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. 3 If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.” 4 His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”
Jesus had compassion for the crowd. The Greek word for ‘’compassion’’ is ‘’splanchnizomai’’, which means intestine. For Jews, compassion was felt from the intestine and not from the heart. The disciples had forgotten about the previous feeding miracle and this was shocking.
VV 5-10, 5 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked. ‘’Seven,” they replied. 6 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people, and they did so. 7 They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. 8 The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward, the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 9About four thousand were present. After he had sent them away, 10 he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha.
Jesus prayed before the meal in front of a Gentile crowd. Jesus feeds the Jews first in Mark 6, and then the Gentiles in Mark 8. Salvation is for the Jews first and then for the Gentiles. Romans 1:16, ‘’For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.’’ Jesus allowed the disciples to participate in the feeding miracle. Jesus wants to use you as His instrument. In Rev 14:6, God used an angel to preach the gospel. Jesus used an imperfect tool like you so that He will get more glory. 1 Cor 1:27, ‘’But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.’’ The people were thoroughly satisfied. They collected back 7 baskets of leftovers. In this passage, the Greek word used for ‘’basket’’ means a ‘’big basket’’. This is the same Greek word used for basket in Acts 9:25, ‘’But his followers (Paul) took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.’’ In Mark 6, the Greek word for ‘’basket’’ means small basket. The crowd here was 4000 in toto, inclusive of men, women, and children. Dalmanutha is Magdala, a town on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.
VV 11-18, ‘’11 The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. 12 He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.” 13 Then he left them, got back into the boat, and crossed to the other side. 14 The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 15 “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” 16 They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.” 17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened?’’
When the Pharisees demanded another sign, Jesus sighed deeply. He was fed up with the Pharisees’ persistent blindness and attitude. He ignored them and left by boat to Bethsaida on the northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus warned the 12 disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod but they thought they had forgotten to bring bread. They did not even think of asking the Lord. All they should have done is to ask Him to clarify. Leaven or yeast speaks of the evil influence of the false doctrines of legalism and hypocrisy. Beware of false doctrines. The disciples’ hearts were hardened.
VV 18-21, 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?” ‘’Twelve,” they replied. 20 “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?” They answered, “Seven.” 21 He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”
Jesus rebuked the disciples for failing to remember the previous feeding miracle of Mark 6. Their hearts were hardened. Persistent unbelief spread like leaven.
Heavenly Father, thank You for grafting us into Your olive tree as a wild olive branch. Thank You for Your love to all people Jews, and Gentiles included. Give us a soft and teachable heart, in Jesus’ name, Amen.