Faithlife Sermons

Mark 6:30-44

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Verses 30-34

This is one of the rare things that is found in all 4 of the gospel accounts, and the only miracle recorded by all 4 gospel writers. It is also the one miracle that is probably the most often attempted to explain away. It is found here, as well as Matthew 14:13-21, Luke 9:10-17, and John 6:1-15 with each account giving us a bit more detail.
Here in Mark and Luke’s account of the events, we see that Jesus told the disciples after they had come back from being sent out that they should come with Him to a deserted place that Luke’s account says is part of Bethsaida to get some rest because of their busy ministry schedule with so many people coming and going and they didn’t even have time to eat.
We know from Matthew that Jesus just heard the news about His cousin John the Baptist, from Mark and Luke that He wanted His disciples/Apostles to get away and rest a bit, and by John that all these people followed them because they saw the signs that Jesus was doing.
All of this adds up to a very busy and hectic season of ministry for Jesus and His disciples. If you remember from our study through Luke, it was in times like these that Jesus liked to get away to a deserted place and spend time in prayer. In those times that you and I would want to take a nap or just space out on the couch and stare blankly at the TV, Jesus knew the secret to continuing on was time spent with the our heavenly Father in prayer. In His presence is where we will find the rest we need and the place to get rejuvenated, reenergized, and refocused.
So moved with compassion for the people was Jesus that even though He and His disciples were tired and worn out, Jesus ministered to the needs of the people by teaching them, healing them, and as we will soon see, feeding them. That is because He is the great provider who cares for our spiritual and physical needs.
The Greek word that we see in English as compassion is a powerful word. It goes beyond mere compassion as we understand it.
It is defined like this - to experience great affection and compassion for someone—‘to feel compassion for, to have great affection for, love, compassion.’

Verses 35-44

Denarius was an average day’s wage, so the question is should we go spend 8 months worth of wages to feed all these people?
He blessed (said grace, gave thanks) and broke -
Don’t miss what Jesus is doing here. He is creating (bringing something into existence that was previously not in physical existence) molecules and mass every time He is breaking off a piece it is multiplying.
"Jesus, who created the physical laws and stands outside of them and over them, could, as He purposed, change or countermand any of them. In fact He could, if He so willed, create an entirely new law of multiplication for that specific occasion so that the bread and fish multiplied." (Jerry Bridges)
Since He is the Creator - We are not producers, just distributors
This takes the pressure off of us to try and perform and produce that which God alone can do, while putting things in proper perspective regarding what we are to do.
Jesus told the disciples "you give them something to eat", but He was going to produce that something for them to distribute.
Jesus could have just told everyone to sit and put food in their laps, but He chose to use His disciples to pass out the food. He loves to include His disciples in His work!
Again notice how this all works.
Jesus produces then places that into the hands of His disciples so that they can then give to the hungry crowds.
I’m always struck with how long all this took. It’s already late in the day, everyone is probably getting a bit tired and grumpy including the disciples, when all of a sudden Jesus tells His disciples to get thousands of people into groups of hundreds and fifties. Now that alone could take hours with a tired and grumpy crowd.
Then once they are seated in their groups, Jesus begins to multiply the bread and fish and begins handing them to His disciples to distribute out to the people.
How long did that take? How many trips did each disciple have to make to each group of 50 or 100?
They were filled - Stuffed like Thanksgiving when you need to put on sweatpants so that your regular pants don’t push on your stomach and your stomach doesn’t push on your diaphragm and prevent you from taking deep breaths.
They took up the scraps - A good lesson and reminder not to waste what God has given us.

Verses 45-46

It may be that Jesus made His disciples get in the boat and head out right then because of what John’s gospel records, that the people tried to take Jesus by force and make Him their king after He fed the 5,000. Perhaps Jesus was keeping the disciples from getting too caught up with the excitement of the people. We do know that one of the reasons He sent them away was so that He could spend some time alone in prayer.
It is also apparent to me that Jesus wanted the disciples to be out in the middle of the Sea of Galilee just in time for the storm to hit.
This was to be a faith building exercise. You see before Jesus was about to do anything about the disciples in the boat in the storm He was first going to spend time in prayer for His disciples.
Side note - We often times want to jump right in and help everyone by doing something, when what we need to do for them and for ourselves first is to pray. We don’t know what God’s purpose is in every situation, so we need to spend time with Him in prayer before trying to be His hands and feet.
Now where was the boat?
Matthew tells us
Matthew 14:24 ESV
but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them.
John 6:16-21 tells us the disciples were now about 3-4 miles away from where Jesus was.
Unlike the last time they got into a storm on the Sea of Galilee in chapter 4, Jesus wasn’t in the boat sleeping.
Don’t forget that we are reading this after it all happened with 2,000 years of history between us, but they are living through it in real time.
Let’s remember that they had just hours before watched and participated as Jesus fed the 5,000. They each walked away with a basket a piece as a reminder of the whole event, yet when this storm comes, they aren’t looking at their baskets, they’re looking at the waves, they’re hearing the wind and the crashing waves against their boat as they struggle to row and steer their boat against the wind and waves. They are hearing one another’s worried and struggling voices, while experiencing their own individual fears and fatigue in the midst of all of this. And in this moment, Jesus is not in the boat for them to wake up. All they know is that they left Him on the shore dismissing the crowd of people.
They are all alone - or so they think.
Does any of this sound familiar in your own lives at times?
Let’s not forget that Jesus has been praying for them, let’s not forget that Jesus is the One who sent them onto the water and into the storm, let’s not think for one second that He was not already fully aware of the weather forecast that evening.

Verses 47-52

"Jesus sent the disciples away and dismissed the crowds before it got dark, perhaps by 7:00 or 8:00 at night, and Jesus prayed from that hour until he came to the disciples during the fourth watch of the night (v. 25). Early in their history, the Jews had divided the night into three watches. At this point, however, they were following the Roman system, which included four watches and assigned to the fourth the hours between 3:00 and 6:00 a.m. This suggests that Jesus had been praying for six or seven hours and that the disciples had been rowing for the same length of time. Crossing the lake would normally not have taken that long, but a storm had come up suddenly, and the boat was being buffeted by waves and wind." (James Montgomery Boice)
They were physically, emotionally, mentally, and perhaps even spiritually exhausted in the midst of the storm they were in. Which is why they responded the way they did when they first saw Jesus walking towards them…
And they thought they were seeing a ghost! The idea is that they thought they were seeing a spirit, apparition, phantom.
Perhaps they thought they were seeing just an image of Jesus as a way for Him to basically say "sorry fellas, you’re all gonna die out here tonight". I’m not sure what they thought exactly since it doesn’t say.
Now think about this, It’s pitch dark outside, any lanterns they may have had have been blown out by the harsh winds. So I don’t know how they saw Jesus out there on the water walking towards them. Was there lighting in the sky that flashed and made His appearance known like there was for the Israelites as God reveled Himself up on Mount Sinai as He gave the 10 Commandments to Moses?
Was it a full moon that illuminated the night and reflected off the water that allowed them to see Jesus coming their way?
I don’t know, but I do know that the One person who should have brought them peace in the midst of this exhausting storm, first terrified them.
They should have had a peace and a joy at the presence of Jesus, but their experience in the storm the last few hours had caused them to not trust in Jesus somehow, and they instead were terrified. No doubt they thought they weren’t going to make it. But again, may I remind you that it was Jesus who sent them into this storm?
He had a plan for their lives which included crossing through this storm to the other side that they forgot about when the wind and waves got too extreme for them. Instead of resting in their faith in Jesus, they had begun to be ruled by their fear.
I’m not being too harsh towards them. I don’t know about you but I’ve been there, done that many times in my walk. But to not point it out does no good for any of us.
Jesus walking on the water is amazing enough, but it also is another proof that He is far more than just a man. He is God come in the flesh. The idea here is that Jesus is once again showing His power over the natural realm.
But look now at how graciously Jesus addresses them knowing everything going on within them.
Take heart it is I. Do not be afraid
When Jesus says "It is I" what He is actually saying in the Greek is "Ego Eimi".
You might remember that Ego Eimi in the Greek is I AM, which come from Exodus 3 when God reveals His name to Moses as something we today call the tetragrammaton YHWH…
Exodus 3:13–15 ESV
Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.
I don’t think Jesus said Ego Eimi by accident, I believe His purpose was clearly to reveal Himself more fully to them in order to rid them of the fear within them in that moment. To return to them their previous faith in the midst of fear.
As we have said before the great enemy of faith is fear, they are opposing of each other.
In John’s account of this he tells us that as soon as Jesus got in the boat they were at their destination…
John 6:21 ESV
Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.
You see, Jesus had their safe travel across the Sea of Galilee taken care of the whole time. In fact He made the last part of the trip much easier than the first. But that’s not the big end to the story. It’s what follows in the last 3 verses that is.

Verses 53-56

What we see here with the hem of Jesus garment is a point of contact for the people to release their faith. It’s not that material that touched their bodies had any significant power, it’s simply that it provided a physical point of contact for people to release their faith in God for the miraculous to take place.
I wonder sometimes if this is why we are instructed to lay hands on the sick for healing in James 5
James 5:13–15 ESV
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
Just that point of physical contact that allows us to release our faith in the power of Jesus Christ according to His word. Speaking of His power as given to us in His word…
Let’s not leave here without understand the most powerful message on planet earth - that through the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross for all humanity can we be forgiven for our sin and wrongdoing before a holy and righteous God.
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