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The Feeding of the Five Thousand

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The Feeding of the Five Thousand

Mark 6:33-44

I.                     Intro

a.        This past Friday night after biblestudy, Phil said one of his friends said that he as studying through Exodus and he thought it was one of the most boring books in the bible

                                                               i.      He said this because it was a stark contrast to the reality of the truth that is revealed in Exodus and all of scripture

b.       When we examine the miracles of Jesus, they are not only divinely directed, but also the surrounding details, the circumstances as well

                                                               i.      It is definitely true of the feeding of the 5,000

                                                              ii.      It teaches us more than the power of Jesus, there are greater revelations that will not appear at first glance of the passage

1.       That is what should excite a true student of Scripture, to marvel at the inspiration, God is organized, competent, you see the sovereignty of God and His divine purpose being revealed, verse by verse

c.        Theological parallels of Jesus and Moses

                                                               i.      But it presents Him as the second Moses

a.        Those who attend Friday nights may see the similarity in our passage today

2.       We see the place of the occurrence, a “solitary place” literally a desert place which parallels the wilderness

3.       Jesus proclaiming Himself to be the Bread of Heaven corresponds to the manna of the exodus

4.       The provision of food by Jesus symbolized what it symbolized for Moses- God’s saving grace in rescuing His people from bondage and sustaining them to their destination, the Promised Land.

Reading of the Passage

Opening Prayer

II.                    Compassionate Care, v.34

a.        Intense word which finds it’s root in the Greek

                                                               i.       vicera, the stomach

                                                              ii.      NT has the idea of “tender mercy”  sympathetic emotion

                                                            iii.      Jesus felt this from the pit of His stomach

1.       I often wonder why the church no longer has the compassion for the world, the lost as Christ

a.        When we examine rise of modern society out of the Dark Ages

                                                                                                                                       i.      It was the church that led the Renaissance movement

                                                                                                                                      ii.      Education, higher learning, universities began with the monks, the church

                                                                                                                                    iii.      When we look at hospitals- began with the church

                                                                                                                                    iv.      When we look at orphanages and other social welfare organizations, Red Cross, Salvation Army- the church or Christians

1.       More and more of the social welfare are being shifted from the work of the church and found themselves as secular programs driven by bureaucracy

2.       And the church- left inept, laborless

a.        The service for the body, let alone the social needs of our society have become a loveless burden

b.       Could it be because we lack the tender mercy that originates from the stomach?

                                                                                                                                       i.      Friday night, after church I stopped for gas, man offered to fill my tank- he seemed like a nice man

1.       Did we not give thinking what we give will never be replenished?

a.        If that truly is our mindset, it will become a reality

I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.  So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?  Luke 16:9-11


2.       He looked upon the thousands that have gathered, why have they gathered?  They needed something, someone, the Messiah, they were lost, they were in pain, they were in need

a.        They were like lost sheep, shepherdless sheep, defenseless, lost and unable to feed themselves

3.       What did Jesus do?

a.        Did he throw His hands up, did he calculate that there was just too much to be asked of Him, that he had a family, that he had work on Monday morning, that he had a paper due the next week

b.       You must realize the situations Jesus and the disciples were in

                                                                                                                                       i.      He had just received news of the death of His cousin, John the Baptist, they had just went away for the burial, then they set off to a remote place w/o time to even eat

1.       They were so busy ministering

2.       As they were coming back, there was even a  larger crowd now awaiting them

                                                                                                                                      ii.      End of v. 34 He began to teach them many things

1.       Interesting case that came up in Massachusetts in 1928 concerning man who was walking on the docks and fell in

a.        The sunbather was sued but the planiffs lost- the court ruled that the sunbather had no legal obligations to help the drowning man

b.       Cain’s presupposition is true, we are not our brother’s keepers- by law, by default of our sins nature, we are not obligated to help

c.        But the law of Christ states otherwise

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.  1 John 3:16-18

Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, 1 Peter 1:22

c.        Regardless if you are a believer or not, if you cannot grasp the tender compassion that Jesus has for you, you will never know who Jesus is

                                                                                                                                       i.      We are taught that the love is not an emotion but action, commitment, but it does not totally negate the emotion- Jesus felt it

1.        For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.  Heb. 4:15

d.       9x in the NT it is recorded that Jesus had compassion

                                                                                                                                       i.      At times of sickness, other times in effects of sin, such as the death of His friend Lazarus

                                                                                                                                      ii.      It was His deep compassion that he went to the cross for you

                                                                                                                                    iii.      It was this deep compassion that drove Him to this crowd

III.                  Omnipotent Care, v.35-41

a.        The day was coming to an end

                                                               i.      The disciples were looking for a time to call it quits

1.       “send them away so they can eat”

a.        The time of the year was probably in the spring, April or May, there is still green grass on the hills

b.       So the time of this idea being posed upon Jesus was probably around 4pm

                                                                                                                                       i.      Just as we begin to see physical evidence for ourselves to lighten up in our workday

c.        They had not eaten, probably all day, they were looking to break away to eat themselves

b.       V.37, “You give them something to eat!”

                                                               i.      This is an imperative, a command

1.       Not only were they to feed their souls, but they were to feed their stomachs as well

a.        This is not a biblical mandate for all churches to provide free lunches to its congregation

                                                                                                                                       i.      Kindness of hearts to pay for our lunches or prepare for our lunches

                                                              ii.      Response of the disciples

1.       “spend two hundred denarii?”  that was about eight months in wages

a.        This was definitely a response of disrespect- they were speaking to the Christ, the Messiah, their Master- even this is too much

                                                                                                                                       i.      We can look at this passage and see this is obvious faux pau

                                                                                                                                      ii.      How often do we also place practicality over faith?  How often do we reason why we should engage in ministry or why we shouldn’t because of odds?

                                                            iii.      Jesus told them to go and see, v.38

1.       Five barley cakes and two small sardine like fish

2.       It is here that the impossibility of the task was solidified- there would be no question as to where the power would come from

a.        Just as when the first Moses provided water and food for the Israelites in the wilderness

                                                            iv.      The Blessing, v.41

1.       Jesus in the midst of the apostles and all the people, looked up into Heaven

a.        “Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the world who brings forth bread from the earth”  followed by an echo of 5,000 Amens

                                                                                                                                       i.      Great pet peeve- someone says, keep it short

                                                                                                                                      ii.      Greater priority is set upon filling the stomach than honoring and giving thanks to God

                                                                                                                                    iii.      Worse testimony is one who does not even say grace- assumption that either God will always provided or that he needs not to thank nor acknowledge God- he himself is the provider

                                                              v.      The Miracle of Distribution, end of v.41

1.       “Jesus kept giving” imperfect, grammatically, it means that it is a past event that has ongoing action- such as the repentant woman who kept kissing the feet of Jesus Luke 7

a.        The disciples were eye witnesses to this miracle- as they went around the groups, they kept passing out the food

                                                                                                                                       i.      It should be a greatest evidence of a God who can do anything

                                                                                                                                      ii.      By the breath of His word, God created the heavens and the earth

1.       By the word Jesus multiplied five barley cakes and two small fish to feed five thousand people

b.       That is the power of our God

                                                                                                                                       i.      It is this creation power that God brings into our lives

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  1 Cor. 5:17

1.       If we recognize the power of regeneration, the change of a sinful heart to one of innocence and righteousness in Christ, why do we live in doubt about the power of God?

                                                                                                                                      ii.      Once we witness the transformation of our own lives, the lives of others, should it not make us the greatest optimists?

1.       That’s what happened to Paul

a.        Turn with me to Romans 8:26

c.        There is nothing that God cannot do

                                                                                                                                       i.      Is anything too difficult for the LORD?  Gen 18:14

                                                                                                                                      ii.      There is nothing that will separate you from His love, there is no one beyond His redemption, there is no moral flaw God cannot heal

1.       There is nothing God cannot do

a.        Question is are you convinced?  Have you not witnessed the miracle just as the disciples had?

IV.                  Cooperative Care, v.35-41

a.        Mark does not tell us the source of the barley cakes and the two fish but John does

                                                               i.      It was a little boy whose mother had packed it for him and he was more than willing to offer it to Jesus

                                                              ii.      This is a wonderful insight into how we participate in God’s divine plan of redemption

1.       First, we see how God wants to use us to bring the Bread of Life to the needy world just as the disciples are distributing the gift of the little boy

a.        He did not need the boy’s gift- He could have created the food out of nothing ex nihilo, just as He created the heavens and the earth, just as Moses provided water by striking the rock, just as God provided manna from heaven

2.       God delights in using us

a.        Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 2 Cor. 5:20

b.       Secondly, we learn that God will use the smallest gift if it is committed to Him

                                                               i.      God delights in using the ordinary people with ordinary gifts, just look at the disciples, just ordinary men, ordinary occupations, all walks of life, no one extraordinary

1.       We look at Paul to think he was a great giant, great giant of faith but not giant with great gifts

And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. 1 Cor. 2:1-5

a.        He found his power though his weakness

"My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness " Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Cor. 12:9-10

                                                              ii.      He even explained why God delights in using our ordinariness and weaknesses

                                                            iii.      But we have this treasure in jars of clay, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.”  2 Cor. 4:7

1.       We are jars of clay, earthen vessels, not flasks of gold or silver urns

a.        There is no doubt to whom the glory is given

c.        We often think God only desires our strengths, the areas of our greatest talents

                                                               i.      But it is our weaknesses, our barley cakes and two meesley fish that God desires, it is when we give of our weaknesses that God will turn into a miracle

1.       Elizabeth Elliot

a.        “If the only thing you have to offer is a broken heart, you offer a broken heart. So in a time of grief, the recognition that this is material for sacrifice has been a very great strength for me. Realizing that nothing I have, nothing I am will be refused on the part of Christ I simply give it to Him as the little boy gave Jesus his five loaves and two fish- with the same feeling of the disciples when they said, ‘What is the good in that for such a crowd?’ Naturally in almost anything I offer to Christ, my reaction would be, ‘What is the good in that?’ The point is, the use He makes of it is His blessing.”


V.                   Complete Care, v.42-44

a.        Needless to say when Jesus cooks, He really cooks

                                                               i.      His provision is complete, total and satisfying

b.       Another note of time reference is given in John 6, it is near the Jewish Passover Feast

                                                               i.      Celebration of their freedom from the bondage of slavery- this is the celebratory event which Christ was crucified being the perfect Passover Lamb to die for the sins of the world

1.       I am sure this was on the mind of Jesus as He supplied the 5,000 with bread

2.       When you look at the Lord’s Supper in Mark 14, the eve of the Passover of the death of Jesus, you will find vocabulary with purposeful resemblance, almost identical terms and phrases used, it is in John 6, after the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus identifies Himself as the Bread of Life

a.        It is here in the feeding of the 5,000 that we learn of the meaning of the Lord’s Communion- Christ’s life was given as the atonement for our sins-

                                                                                                                                       i.      It is complete, total and satisfactory

                                                              ii.      We are the church

1.        “which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.”  Eph. 1:23

2.        That is satisfaction- when the body of Christ is willing to commit it all, our strengths, our weaknesses to the Body, we will experience the satisfaction in the fullness of Christ

a.        The compassionate care

b.        The omnipotent care

c.        The cooperative care

d.        The complete care

                                                                                                                                       i.      Where do you lack?  Pray today that you can be part of God’s body so we can all experience the fullness of Christ

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