Today in Mark 8:1-10 we see Jesus feed another multitude. Earlier in Mark He fed the 5000. Today, He feeds the 4000:
Feeding the Four Thousand
8 In those days when there was again a great crowd without anything to eat, he called his disciples and said to them, 2 “I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. 3 If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way—and some of them have come from a great distance.” 4 His disciples replied, “How can one feed these people with bread here in the desert?” 5 He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” 6 Then he ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground; and he took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute; and they distributed them to the crowd. 7 They had also a few small fish; and after blessing them, he ordered that these too should be distributed. 8 They ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. 9 Now there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. 10 And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.
Ok, so why does Jesus feed large crowds twice? Not to be trite, but the simple answer is that Jesus loved people, and this is at least twice in His ministry when large crowds were with Him, and He knew that if He was to send them away without food they may not make it home. So, why did Jesus do this twice? The simple reason is because people needed it twice.
But there is something deeper and bigger going on here, as there is with almost all that happens in the Bible. There are two things that jump out to me in this reading that I think are significant. First, look at the “faith” of the Disciples. Remember, they had already seen Jesus feed an even larger crowd before. But when He says that the people must be fed, they say, how can we feed this many people here in the desert?
They’d seen Jesus do it before. They knew that He could do it, they saw it with their own eyes, the experienced it, they helped. And yet, they still doubted.
Aren’t we like that? Don’t we know what God can do? Haven’t we seen Him do it before? Aren’t we aware of His power? Yes. Yes we are. And yet, don’t we doubt, as they did? Don’t we forget, as they did? They did. And we do.
On one hand, we need to learn, as they did, to have faith, to not doubt, to remember the faithfulness of God. Remember how He has been there. Remember what He has done. Remember who He is. Remember His faithfulness from generation to generation.
But when we do, we need to show ourselves grace as well. Because we weren’t the first to doubt. The very ones that walked with Jesus doubted as well. And He didn’t give up on them. And He won’t give up on us either.
Second, many scholars believe that the first feeding of the multitude (the 5000) was a Jewish crowd, and many think that this crowd, if not mainly Gentile, had many Gentiles within it. This was on the western side of the Sea of Galilee, which was the more Gentile area. We cannot say for 100% certain that there were Gentile there, but reading into the context of scripture, it’s a safe assumption.
So, we have seen Him heal Gentiles. Now we see Him feed Gentiles. We are seeing more and more that Jesus Christ came to redeem the world. All the world. All that call upon His name. All
And in a world that is so, so, so very polarized and full of hardening lines, I think it’s important for us to remember that Jesus Christ came for the world. The entire world. For all who believe.
Today, may we live out that grace with all that we meet.
Friday we’ll look at Mark 8:11-12.
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