Mar 03, 2013
Mark 8:1-21

Download Audio:

Calvary316 Twitter Calvary316 Facebook Calvary316 Square Donations


[Mark 8:1-4] “In those days, the multitude being very great and having nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples to Him and said to them, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their own houses, they will faint on the way; for some of them have come from afar.” Then His disciples answered Him, “How can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness?” 

Scene of Activity

In those days” indicates we’re still in a season where Jesus is ministering to Gentiles while avoiding further conflict with the Jewish leaders.

Special Season of ministry: Jesus spends 3 days ministering to a large Gentile crowd that numbered 4000 (verse 9).

Jesus shares a genuine concern with the disciples.... because they had “continued for 3 days” the people wouldn’t have enough food for the journey home.

This phrase they “have nothing to eat” doesn’t indicate they haven’t eaten for 3 days, but rather that after 3 days most of the people were out of provisions.

In response to Jesus’ concern, the disciples respond.... “How (or literally from where) can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness?

Bizarre Response: 2 theories why the disciples would respond this way?

1. They were forgetful. 

How could they have forgotten that just two chapters earlier Jesus fed 5000? 

Before we cast judgment, aren’t we guilty of the same forgetfulness?

Lesson: Jesus’ past faithfulness is always a promise for future provision.

2. They were prejudicial. 

Jesus has been trying to change the disciples perspective towards the Gentiles. 

Note their response.... “From where can one satisfy these people with bread?” 

These people” - shows a hierarchal distinction in the disciple’s perspective.

Satisfy” - reveals the true heart behind the question. 

This word “satisfied” wasn’t used by accident:

In Mark 6:42, the Jews “ate and were satisfied.

In Mark 7:27, Jesus illustrate the Jewish mindset concerning the Gentiles. “He said to her, Let the children be filled (satisfied) first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” 

It’s as though the disciples are saying, “Jesus, the Jews can be satisfied by the bread that you can give, but can the gentiles be satisfied in the same way?

[Mark 8:5-8] “Jesus asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven.” So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and they set them before the multitude. They also had a few small fish; and having blessed them, He said to set them also before them. So they ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets of leftover fragments.” 

Feeding of the 4000” is one of the most neglected miracles in the ministry of Jesus.

1. Liberal Theologians view this miracle as the same miracle.

2. Mainline Theologians view this miracle as a duplicate miracle.

3. We should view this miracle as an parallel miracle.

If seen as a parallel miracle, the Feeding of the 4000 is significant for 5 reasons: 

1. Jesus is.... Establishing the proper division of humanity.

In Mark 6 (5000) the Jews are hungry and needed bread. 

In Mark 8 (4000) we find the Gentiles in the exact same predicament. 

The Jews and the Gentiles were equally hungry. 

Please Note: Jesus is the only one who didn’t eat anything in either miracle.

Point: the proper division of humanity is not Jew and Gentile, slave and free, black and white, MAC and PC, Coke and Pepsi, Christian and non-Christian, saved and lost, redeemed and condemned, but.... Jesus and everyone else.

2. Jesus is.... Illustrating humanities inability to find satisfaction apart from Him.

Both situations began with the same basic problem: the people were hungry and since they were in the wilderness they had no way to satisfy this desire.

In Mark 6 (5000) the religious Jews are hungry and helpless. 

In Mark 8 (4000) we find pagan Gentiles in the exact same predicament. 

Jagger echoed the world’s frustration when he sang, “I can’t get no satisfaction.” 

3. Jesus is.... Demonstrating a willingness to satisfy the hunger of all men.

Jesus might have come to the Jews first, but He had also come to the Gentiles.

In both accounts Jesus took the bread - blessed - broke - and feed the people.

John 6:51, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world."

4. Jesus is.... Forcing the Disciples to overcome their prejudice. 

In Mark 6 (5000) the disciples bring the need to Jesus’ attention.

In Mark 8 (4000) Jesus brought the need to the disciples attention.

Jesus used the disciples to distribute bread to the Jews, but He intimately involved them in the feeding of these 4000 gentiles for a reason.

In Mark 6 the disciples went into the multitude to find the 5 loaves and 2 fish. 

In Mark 8 Jesus specifically asks “how many loaves do you have?

5. Jesus is.... Highlighting the greater work that would be done among the Gentiles.

In Mark 6 we noted “12 baskets” left over from the Feeding of the 5000. 

Baskets” - Greek word “kophoinos” meaning “a small wicker baskets.”

12 baskets can represent the 12 tribes that made up the Hebrew people.

Jesus would work in the lives of the Jews, but the increase would be small.

In Mark 8 we see “7 baskets” left over from the Feeding of the 4000.

Baskets” - Greek word “spyris” meaning “a large hamper basket.”

Example: Acts 9:25 they let Paul down the wall in a large basket.

In Biblical Numerology, the #7 always means completion.

In Revelation, Jesus wrote 7 letters to Gentile churches.

The Apostle Paul wrote letters to 7 groupings of Gentile churches (Philippi, Ephesus, Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Colossi, and Thessalonica.)

The number 4 is also considered the number of the earth. 

Some have said the 4000 represents the totality of humanity.

[Mark 8:9-13a] “Now those who had eaten were about four thousand. And He sent them away, immediately got into the boat with His disciples, and came to the region of Dalmanutha. Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him. But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation. And He left them....”

Jesus returns to Jewish territory and is immediately met by a group of Pharisees.

They came to Jesus with only one aim.... they “came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him.

In order to understand the intention behind this exchange you have to rework the Greek sentence structure.... they “disputed” with Jesus asking if they could seek a “sign from heaven,” because they were “testing Him.

The Greek word for “testing” is “peirazô” meaning “to solicit to sin.”

These Pharisees wanted to catch Jesus in a trap that would....

A) Undermine His ministry.

B) Demonstrate He was not who He said He was. 

C) Provide a reason to have Him arrested.

Note: The only other time we read of Jesus being “tested” was back in Mark 1:13, “And He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan.”

It’s ironic that they were “seeking from Him a sign from heaven.

After 3 years of ministry, Jesus already had an extensive resume.

As experts in the O.T. Scriptures they should have known Jesus was the Messiah.

Some have speculated that the mention of a “sign from heaven” indicated they wanted Jesus to do something in the sky like Elijah calling down fire from heaven.

Jesus’ reaction is interesting:But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation. And He left them....

1. Jesus “sighed deeply in His spirit.” 

2. He refused to play their game. “No sign shall be given to this generation....

3. And “He left them....

Jesus loved the Pharisees just as much as He loved His followers.

This is why these exchanges weighed so heavily on Jesus.

The phrase “sighed deeply” describes a “deep exhale.” 

This is the only time this phrase is used to describe a reaction of Christ.

This exchange revealed their deep-seeded unbelief in Jesus. 

When it’s all said and done there is nothing God can do with a heart like this.

Jesus never preformed miracles with the intention of swaying an unbelieving heart. 

Jesus healed because He loved and cared for the afflicted. 

4 problems with seeking signs as the basis for faith
1. Faith comes by hearing by the Word of God. 

2. See signs only produces a desire to see more signs.
3. It’s difficult to tell the difference between a sign and a coincidence. 

4. God isn’t the only one who can preform signs.

[Mark 8:13b-15] “And getting into the boat again, departed to the other side. Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, and they did not have more than one loaf with them in the boat. Then He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”

The disciples are traveling back across the sea of Galilee when they realize they forgot to pack lunch. Marks tells us they “had forgotten to take bread” for the journey.

Jesus uses the opportunity to issue an important warning. He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.

The command to “take heed” can literally be translated to “constantly be taking heed.”

Of the leaven....” - leaven was a corrupting agent. It was a picture of sin.

Leaven of the Pharisees....” always adding to the Word of God. Legalism. 

Leaven of Herod....” abandoning the Word of God. Worldliness, compromise. 

Following Jesus’ statement Mark tells us the disciples [Mark 8:16] “reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have no bread.”

Jesus gives this strong warning against sin and it few right over the disciples heads.
They reasoned among themselves.... pulling together our collective ignorance. 

[Mark 8:17-21] “But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them....” 9 questions: 1. “Why do you reason because you have no bread?” 2. “Do you not yet perceive nor understand?” 3. “Is your heart still hardened?” 4. “Having eyes, do you not see?” 5. “And having ears, do you not hear?” 6. “And do you not remember?” 7. “When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.” 8. “Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?” And they said, “Seven.” 9. So He said to them, “How is it you do not understand?”

Jesus’ frustration spilled over because He’s been been contrasting Himself (the “Bread of Life”) with the “Leaven of Religion” and the Leaven of the World through the Feeding of the 5000 and 4000 and the disciples didn’t get it!

It would appear the next miracle is related to the disciples inability to understand....