Mark 6:33-43

(A Bible Study Led by Dr. Larry Reynolds, June 7, 2012)

 

In journey through Mark's Gospel have come to one of most beautiful events in all the Scripture -- the account of Jesus feeding great multitude with five loaves and two fish...listen again to this wonderful event…

 

One of the places we visited on our trip to Israel is a church built over a rock that Christians have viewed since the mid 300’s as the place where this miracle occurred.

 

This is the only miracle of Jesus recorded in all four Gospels.  It is clear that the early Christians attached great significance to this event.  For example:

·         Clear indication Jesus was the Messiah....Jews expected Messiah to feed the people as Moses provided food for the Israelites in the wilderness...if take time to compare will find obvious parallels between actions of Jesus and actions of Moses...

·         Foreshadowing of Lord' Supper...many similarities between Jesus actions here and His actions that night in upper room when instituted the Lord's Supper...taking bread, giving thanks, breaking bread, giving to disciples...

·         Preview of great messianic banquet at end of age...some say symbolizes fellowship all God's people will have around Messiah's table in future...

·         Connection between giving people physical bread and Jesus being spiritual bread of life...in John' Gospel event followed by long discourse about Jesus being bread of life...

Any of those ideas would take hours for us to explore fully.  However, in this session I want simply to point out a couple of things this event reveals to us about what we experience in the presence of Jesus.

 

I.    In the presence of Jesus there is compassion

1.   When Jesus and disciples landed somewhere along the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, found large multitude, perhaps as many as seven or eight thousand people, there waiting for them...interestingly, Mark does not record the disciples' response to the presence of these people... I suspect they weren't too happy to see them...after all, they were trying to get away to rest...more than likely as small boat made way toward shore and disciples saw the multitude, a groan of despair went up from lips...

2.   Mark does tell us Jesus' reaction to the people...says in v.34 "... and He felt compassion for them..."...compassion is one of those graphic words which does not translate well from Greek to English...literally, it means to feel something in your stomach or mid-section...it is a physical reaction...Jesus was so moved by the needs of the people, that He felt it physically...

3.   In biblical sense, compassion always leads to action...can't feel compassion toward a person and not do something for that person...Jesus compassion moved Him to do two things...first, He taught the people because they were lost...had no direction, no purpose, no meaning to their lives...like sheep with no shepherd....second, He fed the people because they were hungry ...in other words, His compassion moved Him to give them food for their souls and food for their bodies...

 

1.      Remember reading an interesting story this week from life of Abraham Lincoln ...during early days of War Between the States old man called on Lincoln in Washington...son in Union army...convicted of gross crimes and sentenced to be shot...came to plead with President for life of his only son...Lincoln had reputation for pardoning people in trouble, so much so that his generals criticized his leniency...on very day this man came to make request Lincoln had received a telegram from one of his generals which said, "Mr. President, I beg you not to interfere with the court-martials of this army.  You will destroy all discipline in the army."...showed the man the telegram and was moved to compassion with the shadow of disappointment and sorrow which came across the man's face...then, Lincoln got idea of how he could save the boy and appease his generals...on sheet of paper wrote the following order:  "Job Smith is not to be shot until further orders from me.  Abraham Lincoln." ...when father read the note said, "Why this is no pardon.  You may order him to be shot next week."...to which Lincoln replied, "Sir, evidently you do not understand my character."

 

1.   And if we do not know that Jesus has tender compassion toward us, then we don't understand His character...it was His compassion, His tender mercy which caused Him to--

--leave the glory of heaven, become flesh, and dwell in our world...

--to reach out to the very people the religious establishment detested and pronounced unfit, unworthy, and unclean...

--to proclaim "Come unto me all you that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest."

--to endure with grace the abuse of religious leaders, the mockery and torture of the Roman soldiers, and the shame of the cross...

--to pour out His precious blood as the sacrifice for our sins...

2.   When you get to feeling that no-one in the entire world cares about you, that no-one understands what you are experiencing, remember that in the presence of Jesus you can always find compassion...the kind of compassion which feels and acts...

 

II.  In the presence of Jesus there is satisfaction

1.   Mark's description of this event is very vivid and colorful...as I've told you before, Peter was probably the main source for Mark's Gospel...and this scene was indelibly etched into Peter's mind...of all Gospel accounts only Mark mentions the "green grass" (v.39)...then in v.40 speaks of the people reclining on the green grass in "companies"..that word literally means "garden plots"[Hughes, p.150]...Mark is painting with words a picture of clusters of people in colorful clothing sitting in orderly groups like neatly manicured flower beds in a green lawn...

2.   Then Mark tells us in v.42 that "...they all ate and were satisfied."...and as an exclamation point, Jesus made sure there were twelve baskets of food left-over, one for each of skeptical disciples...

3.   Taken all together, that is a picture of people who were peaceful, joyful, fulfilled, and content...in the presence of Jesus they found satisfaction....

 

1.      Jesus really is the answer to our deepest need.  That's because the thing we need more than anything else is to be rightly related to the God who made us...and reason Jesus came to our world is make it possible for us to live in right relationship with God...

2.      One of my favorite Scripture verses is Colossians 2:9-10a... "For in Him [Jesus] all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete..."...The Living Bible paraphrases this way:  "In Christ there is all of God in a human body; so you have everything when you have Christ."...that is real satisfaction...and it cannot be found anywhere except in the presence of Jesus...

 

CONCLUSION

1.   I suspect if you asked the average person, "What is it that you need your life more than anything else?" would probably get two answers over and over again--

--I need someone to love me.  I need to be understood, accepted and loved others...

--I need to have a sense of fulfillment...I need this empty spot inside of me to be filled with something meaningful...

That's exactly what Jesus does for us!  When we come into His presence we find compassion and we find satisfaction.

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