Jan 20, 2013
Mark 6:30-44

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[Mark 6:30] “Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught.”

1. The disciples had been “sent out” to engage in practical ministry.

2. Matthew 14:13 - Jesus receives the news that John had been executed.

John had spoken out against the immoral and illegal marriage of Herod Antipas and Herodias which had landed him in prison. In the end it lead to his execution.

Public figures should be accountable for their moral behavior.

Jesus and His disciples spend some time catching up!

[Mark 6:31] “And Jesus 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. 

Because of their hectic schedule, Jesus decides it’s time for a little R&R.

It’s not a sin to take a break.

Rest” in the Greek means “to permit one to cease from movement in order to recover and collect ones strength, refreshment.”

Jesus encouraged.... Physical and Spiritual Rest!

Come aside” in the KJV “Come ye apart” - Get away from the source of activity.

I’ve heard it said, “come ye apart lest ye fall apart.

[Mark 6:32-33] “So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves. But the multitudes saw them departing, and many knew Him and ran there on foot from all the cities. They arrived before them and came together to Him.” 

Scene of Activity

Jesus and the disciples are trying to get away for some R&R.

Word get’s out that Jesus is leaving so the people follow Him.

The Sea of Galilee was situated 600ft below sea level and only 14 miles wide.

They arrived before them” in the KJV “Outwent Him” - the people outran the boat.

They arrived to their “deserted place” only to find a mob of people waiting. 

I can see the frustration of the disciples.... vacation was going to be cut short. 

Proverbs 16:9, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.

Jesus is going to continue the disciple’s ministry training.

[Mark 6:34] “And Jesus, when He came out (presumably out of the boat), saw a great multitude (on the shore awaiting His arrival) and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things.” 

Jesus “was moved with compassion” - one Greek word meaning “to be moved in one’s bowels (bowels were considered the seat of love and pity).”

Why was Jesus moved with compassion? 

There were lots of things the could have moved Jesus.... 

1. Political Persecution - Jews were a subjugated people under Roman rule.

2. Social Injustice - racial prejudice, lack of women’s rights, child-labor abuses, sex trafficking, prostitution.

3. Economic Inequality - low wages, class warfare, high unemployment, taxation.

Greatest need of the multitude: “They were like sheep not having a shepherd.

Image: A sheep without a shepherd is lost and destined for a tragic ending.

Though political persecution, social injustice, and economic inequality were all real problems, Jesus didn’t center His ministry on ending sex trafficking, women’s suffrage, or solving the AIDS crisis in Africa (all worthy causes I might add). 

Jesus came to save sheep from eternal destruction.

The church can allow noble causes to distract from our main purpose.

What was the solution to man’s greatest need?

Jesus’ compassion moved Him to action.... He began to teach them many things.

The deepest need of man is His longing for the truth.

If we want to solve the great issues of our day, the church should emphasize first and foremost on the preaching of the Gospel. Jesus came to save man from sin and death! 

[Mark 6:35-37a] “When the day was now far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, “This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late. Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat.” But He answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat.”

The Problem: It was dinner time and people were getting hungry.

The Disciples Solution: Send them away....

Jesus’ Plan: You give them something to eat.

First Observation: Works of faith begin with improbable commands.

Side Point: Needs are best met by the person who notices them.

If you see the need, God is probably calling you meet the need. 

I like to call it the Christian “Whoever smelt it - dealt it Principle.

Why don’t we have "X"? If you saw it, you do it!

[Mark 6:37b] “And they said to Him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?”

Works of faith defy practical wisdom.

They said....” The phrase describes an uniform response. 

The disciples held a “group think” to figure out a logical plan of attack. 

It’s been said, “a committee is a group who individually can do nothing, but can collectively get nothing done.”

Examine their response: Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?

Does this response reveal a lack of faith? - I don’t think so....

Shall we go and buy” is literally “we can go a buy.”

They figured about a year’s wage would purchase enough food.

In all likelihood they could have had gone and emptied their savings.

Problem: The response reveals they were relying only on human resources.

Jesus had just sent them out to engage in practical ministry with one specific instruction.... “take nothing for the journey.” 

Jesus is teaching them about the resources of the Kingdom of God.

Practical Human Wisdom: Spending all this money to feed this crowd once didn’t seem like a good utilization of their resources.

Problem with Human Wisdom: It limits the supernatural working of God. 

The Lesson Jesus is about to teach them concerning faith will be the most rememberable miracle aside from the resurrection. 

It is recorded in all 4 gospels (Matthew 14, Luke 9, John 6, and Mark 6).

[Mark 6:38] “But He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? (You can see the disciples look around without any idea.) Go and see.” And when they found out they said, “Five, and two fish.”

In John’s account, Andrew found a young boy who had the five loaves and two fish.

Works of faith utilize limited resources.
.    .    .    .    .    .    . 

[Mark 6:39-40] “Then He commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in ranks (literally rows), in hundreds and in fifties.” (We should go ahead a mention Mark tells us there are 5000 men present - add women and children and you’re looking at a crowd between 15,000 - 20,000.)

Works of faith require preparedness.

If you believe God will bless, are you prepared to receive His blessings?

We need to be organized to manage what He wants to give.

[Mark 6:41-44] “And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves (broke: to break into pieces, loaves: unleavened peta bread), and gave them (literally kept giving) to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all (cut into pieces). So they all ate and were filled (satisfied). And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish. Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men.”

Works of faith necessitate God’s intervention.

The miracle of the “Feeding of the 5000” would have been impossible without the intervention of Jesus. The supernatural element is undeniable.

The supernatural must find basis in the natural. It can’t be anti-natural.

Though the event defied the human wisdom of the disciples and it was a supernatural occurrence we shouldn’t shy away from the logical question.... How did this happen? 

I ran across a web-form where people presented explanations:

Neo_the_Friendly - “I heard a priest.... give the following explanation: He said it was a miracle, but went on to say that the disciples only have a few loaves of bread and a couple of fishes for food. However, Jesus told them to still go around and share the little food that they have. The crowd that gathered in actuality have also brought food for each of their families but at first did not want to show it for fear of having to share the little that they brought. When they saw what the disciples did of giving even though they have barely enough for themselves, they were moved. So one by one the people shared their food and everyone took out the food that they brought for themselves and shared it with others. Hence, when everyone brought out their food they suddenly realized that there was really plenty to share.That there were even leftovers.

Buzz1954 - “Jesus is God.”

Guess who’s going to hell? - “He managed to persuade everyone to pool their food  and share. This was standard in the early church who lived quite communally. The story then took on it's mythic proportions as it was re-told and became what it is today.

Nymphadel - “I think its fairly obvious that the story is an exaggerated tale of Jesus sharing his fish butte. As if 5000 people would forget their packed lunch. If people in the old days were that stupid we wouldn't be here to talk about it.”

onelm0 - “It was a miracle. There is no explanation of how it was done. As the Son of God, He can do what He chooses to do.

Looney - “Realllllly small portions.

Sadly these explanations error in 1 of 2 ways: they abandon a literal interpretation of the Bible or they cop out with the “Jesus can do what He wants” argument.

Logical - Rational Explanation:

If you view this story as a literal event, you believe that Jesus took 5 loaves of bread and began to break them into pieces. As He was breaking them into pieces the bread regenerated on a cellular and molecular level instantly reproducing more of itself. The same thing took place as Jesus cut the 2 fishes into pieces.

Though God can do what He pleases, He must operate within the realm of logic or He would thereby contradict Himself. (John 1:1 describes God as Logic.)

Though supernatural.... is the miracle rational?

1. Matter was spontaneously produced.

Big Bang Theory: Energy cooled to form subatomic particles. 

Intelligent Design: God spoke and matter instantly came into existence.

2. Cellular and Molecular Regeneration.

3. Genetic Cloning.

It is consistent with the principles of science to concede the possibility that Jesus could make more bread and fish from the basic elements that make up bread and fish. 

Whether by an instant form cellular or molecular regeneration, cloning, or simply spontaneously producing matter from energy, it’s not illogical, irrational, un-natural, or unscientific to believe in the Feeding of the 5000.

Works of faith warrant and reward human involvement.

Jesus preformed the miracle, but He used the disciples to distribute the blessing.

Was it be accident there were 12 baskets left over for the 12 apostles.

Faith in God is essential for a Work of God.

Deuteronomy 8:10 - commanded prayer at the conclusion of a meal time. 

The Jews were instructed to thank God for the meal they just ate.

Prayers were known as the Birkat Ha-Mazon - literally, blessing of the food.

This prayer would included 4 blessings:

  • Blessing for providing the food.

  • Blessing for the land.

  • Blessing for Jerusalem and the future Messiah.

  • Blessing that God is good and does does. 

Mark tells us Jesus “blessed” the food before they ate. 

Blessed” - Greek word “eulogeo” - English “eulogy” - meaning “to consecrate with a holy prayer, to ask God’s blessings on a thing, pray God to bless it to one’s use.”

The scene was radical and revolutionary!

The is the first recorded time of anyone praying before the meal in Scripture.

Jesus was making an important contrast between Himself and Judaism.

The Jews prayed after their meal to thank God for past faithfulness.

  • A works-based religion always focused on what God had done!

Jesus prayed before the meal to thank God for future faithfulness.

  • A faith-based religion focuses on what God is going to do!

Challenge: Do we (individually and collectively) want to be apart of a work of Faith? 

Works of faith begin with improbable commands.
Works of faith defy practical wisdom.
Works of faith utilize limited resources.
Works of faith require preparedness.
Works of faith necessitate God’s intervention.
Works of faith warrant and reward human involvement.
Faith in God is essential for a Work of God.