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Mark 6:30-44 Jesus Feeds 5000

Posted by adventbiblestudy on January 15, 2013


Mark 6:30-44 NLTse The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. (31) Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. (32) So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone. (33) But many people recognized them and saw them leaving, and people from many towns ran ahead along the shore and got there ahead of them. (34) Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. (35) Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. (36) Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat.” (37) But Jesus said, “You feed them.” “With what?” they asked. “We’d have to work for months to earn enough money to buy food for all these people!” (38) “How much bread do you have?” he asked. “Go and find out.” They came back and reported, “We have five loaves of bread and two fish.” (39) Then Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups on the green grass. (40) So they sat down in groups of fifty or a hundred. (41) Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share. (42) They all ate as much as they wanted, (43) and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftover bread and fish. (44) A total of 5,000 men and their families were fed from those loaves!

 

Up to this point Jesus has been teaching His disciples a number of techniques to study and understand scripture. This acted parable with Jesus feeding 5000 is a continuation of those lessons. Each lesson is designed to build upon previous lessons which began in chapter 4 where Jesus explained, “You are permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables for everything I say to outsiders, so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled: ‘When they see what I do, they will learn nothing. When they hear what I say, they will not understand. Otherwise, they will turn to me and be forgiven.’ If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables?” (Mark 4:11-13 NLTse).

 

Jesus began teaching by introducing simple symbols. He explained that seed is a symbol used to represent God’s Word. When asked for an explanation, Jesus quoted scripture to indicate where and how symbols are defined and revealed. We have to see what Jesus sees and hear what He hears to understand. In other words, His lessons would include not only verbal teaching, but visual in the form of events the disciples were about to experience with Jesus. What about the aspect of hearing? What does Jesus mean when He refers to hearing? Many people do not see the connection. They cannot perceive or see the answer Jesus provided. “The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others.” (Mark 4:14 NLTse). Look at Jesus’ answer. He tells them not only the interpretation of the symbol, but the source of the spiritual definition. Look again. Can you find it? Do you understand? There is only one possible explanation, seed represents God’s Word, the source of all knowledge. The is what we need to listen to and hear. When we look at supporting texts, Isaiah tells us not only the spiritual meaning of seed with a direct relationship to the parable of the sower, Isaiah introduces other spiritual words, and assures us of its success. This is also in illustration showing how God’s Word grows.

 

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. (Isaiah 55:9-11 NLTse).

 

Jesus also introduced a common method of writing used throughout the Bible. Authors often begin a story by first writing a conclusion, then fill in details as the story progresses. Jesus used this method in the parable of the sower to teach His disciples how to recognize, understand and teach this simple study method. Jesus introduced the fact Satan will use many methods to steal away God’s Word. More details were added in the acted parables where Jesus rebuked the wind, cast out a legion of demons and more. Jesus also explained this method in two verses. “The seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” (Mark 4:20 NLTse). Here Jesus explains only two phases of growth. The seed is planted and moves directly to the harvest. In a later parable Jesus fills in more details about the growth pattern of a seed. “The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens.” (Mark 4:28 NLTse). As Jess progresses through the acted parables, He is also teaching lessons which provide details about spiritual growth between the first seed and the final harvest, which is one of the most important objectives of Jesus’ ministry.

 

Once the simple methods of listening, learning and understanding were taught, Jesus progressed to a number of parables, both verbal and acted. Each added a vast array of lessons which are revealed by the Holy Spirit on an individual basis. A far deeper understanding is achieved when the subject is studied with prayer and the Holy Spirit. Scripture should be allowed to reveal scripture just as Jesus showed. This applies to parables Jesus taught, acted parables, prophecy, the entire Bible.

 

The lesson progresses in the acted parable of Jesus feeding 5000. When we consider a list of repeated words in the story, we see how lessons come to light. We see the apostles returned to tell Jesus what they had taught. We also see Jesus teaching. Once we look at the timing of this story we understand this is only the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and the beginning of a long learning process for the disciples. The important point is, Jesus sent out His disciples while they were still in the learning process. He did not wait for them to reach a certain level of knowledge, but used experience as a teaching aid.

 

The word people is repeated to show the connection between Jesus, the apostles and people they served. We see how people followed Jesus and His concern for them. He not only fed them, but had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. This shows how important a personal relationship with Jesus is, as well as training for His disciples. The lesson also introduces a new symbol and its spiritual meaning, people and sheep. This is the type of information you need to learn to focus on.

 

We also see a spiritual lesson as the disciples brought bread from Jesus to the people. We understand the spiritual lesson once we learn what bread represents. Jesus said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.” (John 6:51 NLTse). Bread represents Jesus and His salvation. Bread is made from seed used in the parables Jesus taught His disciples.

 

We also see the disciples thought they had to work for bread to feed the people. Jesus proved this was not true. Not only in this parable, bit the previous one where He gave them the authority to share gifts with others. Disciples have to learn where the authority to share comes from and what it can accomplish.

 

As we study repeated words we begin to understand their relationship. Many of the words have an interwoven connection which becomes clear with more time in the scriptures. Just like a plant from seed, God’s Word grows and grows, adding more and more fruit. The most important point to realize is, concentrating on individual words gives the Spirit time to work with you, to show you the wonders and riches just below the surface.

 

What do we learn from the acted parable of Jesus feeding the 5000? His disciples will always come back to find more to share. No matter how many times they come back to a verse, story or parable, Jesus will always have more bread to share with others. No matter how many times we return Jesus will always have more because He His Word is blessed. We see the evidence in the twelve baskets the disciples gathered. This represents the careless way people handled Jesus’ bread of life. The people had no interest in gathering it themselves. Once served with the Word, they felt they should always be served. The option was there for them to gather bread for themselves, but they chose to leave it behind. Jesus showed His disciples how sacred His Word is by having them gather it into baskets. The vast majority will sit down and expect to be fed. They will feel full, but are they? What are you, a disciple, or member of the crowd?

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