Steve Ngai (危 志 荣) KuaLa Lumpur, Malaysia

Mark 8: 1-13 (Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand)

Mark 8
Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand
1 During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, 2 “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. 3 If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.”

4 His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”

5 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.

“Seven,” they replied.

6 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people, and they did so. 7 They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. 8 The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 9 About four thousand were present. And having sent them away, 10 he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha.

11 The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. 12 He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.” 13 Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.

Note:

I did some comparison between Mark 6 and Mark 8 about Jesus Feeds the thousands. Found it interesting to compare these two similar passages.

v4 His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”
We can imagine Jesus hoping one of the disciples might say, “Jesus, You did this before. You can do the same kind of work again.” Jesus hoped they would regard His past faithfulness as a promise to meet their present need. But, the disciples ask the same question again but Jesus is patient re-teaching them again. Maybe he understand that we all easily forget.

v6 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people, and they did so. 7 They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them.

The beautiful partnership with God to do great work – What is the disciples cannot do is the miracle to multiply the food. Thus, Jesus do so. But Jesus wants us to participate in His work to meet people needs. In v7, Jesus told the disciples to distribute them. It is not the case, that Jesus cannot work without us. He can. But he choose to use us, not make use of us. But to make us participate or involve in his work. He wants to work together with us.

7 They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them.

Find this really funny after reading the below commentary:

It seems that the disciples kept the fish from Jesus until they saw He could multiply the bread. They needed to see that we are safe giving everything to Jesus.

i. “Why were these not mentioned before? Could it be that they had been withheld by the doubting disciples until they saw how the bread was multiplied? Apparently, the fishes were blessed separately and then distributed as the bread had been.” (Ironside)

v11 The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven.

The word tested could be translated tempted. The Pharisees are tempting Jesus to perform a miraculous sign just as Satan did in the wilderness (Matthew 4: 5-7). Just like in the wilderness, Jesus didn’t fall into Satan’s trap. He didn’t give them a sign and left them (v12-13)