Feeding the Multitudes… Again

Feeding the Multitudes… Again

We continue our series journeying through the Gospel of Mark. As part of this series, we will be led through the shortest—and earliest written—Gospel from beginning to end. Guided by Mark, we will focus on Jesus’ radical way of defying social norms and religious traditions. In doing so, Jesus teaches us a way of grace and love.

Additional Readings
Each week, we will include additional readings to help us work through the entire Gospel of Mark.

  • MARK 8:1–10
  • MARK 8:11–21
  • MARK 8:22–9:1
  • MARK 9:2–13
  • MARK 9:14–29

This Sunday’s text is likely familiar. Most of us are familiar with the story of Jesus feeding 5000 people. But on a close reading, this one is different—and in fact is the second time in just a few chapters that Jesus feeds thousands!

About halfway through Mark 6, we find the most commonly read story of Jesus providing for a crowd. This instance is paralleled in all four of the Gospels, but the text below follows a bit later and only the Gospel of Matthew joins Mark with this second story of a miraculous multiplication of bread and fish. Consider reading the text below, and also go back to Mark 6:31–44 and explore the similarities and differences between these two texts.

Mark 8:1–10 (CEB)
1In those days there was another large crowd with nothing to eat. Jesus called his disciples and told them, 2“I feel sorry for the crowd because they have been with me for three days and have nothing to eat. 3If I send them away hungry to their homes, they won’t have enough strength to travel, for some have come a long distance.”

4His disciples responded, “How can anyone get enough food in this wilderness to satisfy these people?”

5Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?”

They said, “Seven loaves.”

6He told the crowd to sit on the ground. He took the seven loaves, gave thanks, broke them apart, and gave them to his disciples to distribute; and they gave the bread to the crowd. 7They also had a few fish. He said a blessing over them, then gave them to the disciples to hand out also. 8They ate until they were full. They collected seven baskets full of leftovers. 9This was a crowd of about four thousand people! Jesus sent them away, 10then got into a boat with his disciples and went over to the region of Dalmanutha.

Consider these questions:

  1. From the text, we read that the crowd has followed Jesus for several days and for quite a distance. Even so, they have remained with Jesus. What do you think could have compelled them to stay for so long, even without food and drink?
  2. What motivates you to continue to follow Jesus, even when you aren’t sure how you’ll be sustained? What are you willing to sacrifice in order to follow Jesus?

Post-Worship Update on 8/20

Audio from the sermon can be heard below, and video can be found at this link (will open in a new tab).

Sunday’s message took a fairly deep dive into the parallels between the Mark 6 story and the Mark 8 story. For instance:

  • in Mark 6, 5000 are fed with 5 loaves & 2 fish; in Mark 8, 4000 are fed with 7 loaves and a few fish;
  • the earlier story takes place near settlements where many people are coming and going (perhaps in a more Jewish-centric area?), while the later story takes place far from peoples’ homes (perhaps indicating a less Jewish-centric audience?);
  • both include interaction with Pharisees (7:1-13 & 8:11-13);
  • both include a restoration of perception (7:31-37 & 8:22-26).

What I find striking is that no matter who is present and no matter what distance must be traveled, there is enough for the people to be sustained. Indeed, there is more than enough.

For us today, we may know deep spiritual hunger. Perhaps it is because we are constantly coming and going, and perhaps it is because we find ourselves spiritually distant. I believe that in every case, Jesus is enough. Indeed, I believe that Jesus is more than enough.

Consider these questions:

  1. Where do you feel your deepest spiritual hunger? Are you able to feed that hunger? How? If not, what do you need?
  2. In what ways are you constantly coming and going? What leads (or pushes) you to this busy-ness? Where do you find peace?
  3. In what ways to you find yourself spiritually distant? What leads (or pushes) you to this distance? How might you be drawn closer to God?