Sunday, April 19, 2009

Jesus – Feeding the 5000

Verses:     Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15

Mark 6

7 And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits. 8 He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts— 9 but to wear sandals, and not to put on two tunics.
10 Also He said to them, "In whatever place you enter a house, stay there till you depart from that place. 11 And whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!"
12 So they went out and preached that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.

[Throughout the early stages of Jesus' public ministry he avoids fame, seeking time to train is disciples for the work they should do, once his own work on earth was done. Here in Mark's Gospel we see a training mission for these new apostles. He gives them power to heal and cast our spirits, but forbids them from making material preparations for the journey. No money, no food, no extra clothing. To preach in Jesus' name they would have to rely on the Lord, and those they minister to, for their daily provision.]


30 Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. 31 And He said to them, "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.

[So his disciples return with much to tell Jesus, but the journey and the excitement, left them tired and hungry. So Jesus, seeking to restore them, directed them away from the crowds, until their strength was recovered.]

John 6

1 After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. 2 Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased. 3 And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples.

[The miracles of Jesus caused his fame to spread, and the people were eager to see more, as the number of those needing his healing was seemingly endless, so time for rest quickly passed.]

4 Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. 5 Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" 6 But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.
7 Philip answered Him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little."

[John is the only Gospel which records in detail this conversation and the name of the apostles who answered him. 200 denarii or 200 penny-worth would be the wages for 200 days of common labor. I don't know if they had this much money, or if Philip just used it to illustrate how ridiculous it would be for them to try and feed the multitude. Either way he concludes that such a sum would only buy enough for each to have a little.]


8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, 9 "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?"

[Andrew's motivation is also in question for as soon as he offers what food they could find he quickly dismisses it as inadequate. But often I have thought about the boy who gave up his food. How he had no way of knowing what would come of his small gift. For in this crowd of newly empowered Apostles, is seems this boy was the only one to act in faith.

So we have to ask, does God do food?

Genesis 1:29 Herb bearing seed and tree bearing fruit were given to man as meat (food)

Exodus 16 manna and quail provided in the wilderness

1 Kings 17 Ravens feed Elijah, oil and meal for the widow of Zarepath

2 Kings 4 A childless woman feeds Elisha, 100 men fed with an offering 20 loaves

Matthew 6:25-30 Don't worry about food and clothing

Luke 8 Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna provide food for Jesus

Mark 6 Disciples sent out to preach but commanded to take no bread


I think from scripture we can clearly answer, God does food.]

10 Then Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples[a] to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.

[The bread was made of barley and probably looked much like these. Under normal circumstances you would feed one or two, with a single loaf of bread. But they also had fish. I always imagined this was a nice baked fish, but the Greek word here is opsarion which sometimes refers to fish salted and dried so it was preserved and required no additional preparation. So Jesus gave thanks then broke the bread and gave it to his disciples. One translation I read said he kept giving it, as though it were multiplying in his hands as he broke it. However the miracle occurred, he gave them all as much as they wanted.]


12 So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost." 13 Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world."

[After the meal they collected the leftovers and filled 12 baskets. Now when I was a kid I imagined these were big bushel baskets, but all translations and commentaries somehow agreed that these were small baskets. But the food he started with would barely fill 1 basket, and now it filled 12 after feeding 5000 men plus the women and children, and all had eaten their fill. It does not say what they did with the leftovers but I always hoped they gave them to the boy who donated his lunch. It is clear that many were persuaded that Jesus was a prophet of God, still not understanding that he was much more. If Andrew could inventory their resources again maybe this time he would say they had "5 loaves, two fish, and one God."]

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