This sermon was preached at Red Rocks Baptist Church (14711 W. Morrison Rd. Morrison, CO 80465) on August 19, 2012 by Pastor Les Heinze. These notes are provided as a recap and for further study into the message from God’s Word.
SEEING THE MEANING BEHIND THE FEEDING
People acquainted with Christ’s miracles recorded in the Gospels, especially Mark, will immediately recognize the feeding of these four thousand people as a ‘encore performance’. Jesus once again provided people with a physical need that couldn’t be met any other way.
While we are blessed by this similar situation with the feeding of five thousand people as recorded in Mark 6:30-44, some see a problem. Always looking for perceived discrepancies to discredit Scripture, others skeptically fault Mark for recording the same incident twice just to make Jesus look good and build his public image.
Certainly not so! Taken at face value, the two passages record two different miracles for at least the following reasons.
- The five thousand were with Jesus one day, as opposed to the four thousand being with him three days.
- Jesus offered one prayer of thanks in the first instance, but two in the second.
- After the first miracle, there were twelve small baskets (lunch box size) of food left. After the second, there were seven large baskets remaining.
- Finally, according to Mark 8:19, Jesus himself acknowledged two different miracles.
But is pointing out the differences merely choking and straining at minutiae and insignificant details? NO! The veracity of Scripture is at stake, as well as some significant spiritual lessons. Focusing on the details can deflect from the ‘big picture’ Jesus wanted to communicate. There are at least three important gleanings from this second miracle.
First, Jesus was re-emphasizing that he was the Bread of Life (John 6:48-51). He not only provided physical bread, but more importantly he was spiritual bread, without which no one can live forever.
Secondly, because this second miracle was done in Decapolis, a heavily Gentile area, the clear intent was to communicate that Jew and Gentile alike could have a relationship with the Son of God. Jesus came to minister to all.
Finally, Jesus was saying his supply always meets the need. Little by little, as he broke the bread and fishes, it was distributed a portion at a time at just the right time. And that is still the way God operates today. He can always be depended on. He is never late.
All present were filled to capacity as evidenced by what was left over. By comparison, our stomach capacity is static, but our spiritual capacity is elastic. It can never be fully satisfied with Christ because the more we know and experience of him, the more we desire him. To grow deeper in our relationship should always be the never-reached goal of every believer.
Are you ready for your next meal?