Saturday, June 13, 2020

Feeding the Four Thousand - Mark 8:1-10 - June 14, 2020

These are the Sermon Notes for June 14, 2020. We are now meeting at the church with limited seating and specific procedures and protocols that need to be followed. Read our Returning to Worship plan here. You can still watch our livestream service every Sunday at 9:37 am on our facebook page or watch the livestream recordings any time.

Mark 8:1-10 Feeding the Four Thousand
Welcome back! We are returning to our study of the Gospel of Mark with chapter 8, verses 1-10, page 843 in the pew Bibles.
I am tempted to entitle this sermon, “What a Bunch of Idiots.”
We are going to look at Mark’s account of the feeding of the four thousand, otherwise known as the Assistant Pastor’s crowd feeding sermon text, Senior pastor’s get to preach on the feeding of the FIVE thousand…
In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?” And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. 10 And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.
Let’s pray.
So does this account sound familiar to you? Didn’t we go through this just a few weeks ago?
In fact, we did. Mark chapter six details the account of Jesus feeding five thousand men, and here we are again in chapter eight with a very similar account. Some scholars believe that they are the same but both Matthew and Mark make it clear in their Gospels that they were in fact separate instances. The feeding of the five thousand took place near Bethsaida in Galilee and the people were predominately Jewish where this account takes place near the Decapolis and involved mostly Gentiles. Instead of five loaves and two fish, here Jesus started with seven loaves and a few small fish. In the earlier account the disciples picked up twelve small baskets (kophinus) full of leftovers, where in this account they picked up seven hamper sized baskets (spuris) full of leftovers.
Later in this same chapter, chapter eight, Jesus also refers to both events as separate instances.
As we talked about in the last instance of Jesus feeding such a large crowd the frail humanity and powerlessness of the disciples is put on full display. At the feeding of the five thousand the disciples were pretty high on themselves after coming back from a very successful ministry trip where they had proclaimed that people should repent, and cast out demons and healed a lot of sick people. When they returned from their trip and were faced with a shortage of food Jesus challenged the disciples to feed the people since they were so powerful, but of course, they couldn’t.
Here at the feeding of the four thousand Jesus doesn’t ask them to feed the people He just simply points out that the people who had been with Him for three days in the wilderness had nothing to eat and if He sent them away with no food that they would faint on the way.
So how do the disciples respond? “Hey Jesus, you’ve fed more people than this before!”
This is why I want to title this sermon, “What a Bunch of Idiots.” 
The disciples don’t mention the feeding of the five thousand at all, they just said, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?”
How quickly they forgot. 
They were the living embodiment of what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:27-29…
27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
And we should be thankful for that because that’s us too, we are no different. How quickly we forget when the Father answers our prayers, how quickly we forget when He miraculously provides for our needs.
How quickly they forgot – but so do we. The truth is, there is one major difference between believers today and the disciples here in Mark 8. The only reason any of us who have faith in Jesus have a clue at all, unlike the disciples here, is because we have the Holy Spirit living in us. So don’t get too down on these idiots, we are all in the same boat without the Holy Spirit.
So we can learn from the disciples here, pay attention to what the Lord has done and look for Him to do it again. But also be mindful of asking for more before being thankful for what we have been given.
We can also learn from the Lord Himself here: a lesson in compassion.
Jesus had compassion on the hungry crowd, they had been with Him listening to His teaching and witnessing His healing for three days and now had nothing to eat when the time came for Jesus to move on. He was concerned that they’d faint on the way home.
He also had compassion on the disciples, He didn’t expose their arrogance like last time by insisting that they feed the crowd since they were so powerful.
Jesus paid attention to the needs of the people. He had love and sympathy for the distress of each one. He trusted in the Father for provision and translated physical care into spiritual care.
Here is the example set for each of us. 
We are all surrounded by needy people, we ourselves are needy people, we need to pay attention to the needs of the people around us, we need to have love and sympathy for the distress of each one, we need to trust the Father to provide for those needs even if it’s through us, and translate that physical care for spiritual care.
This is what ministry looks like for all Christians, this is the framework, this is the pattern. Compassion for people that translates from physical care to spiritual care.
The disciples remind us to be mindful and thankful, Jesus reminds us to be compassionate, and the people remind us, that like them, we will have our bellies fed by the Lord.
I don’t mean necessarily that Jesus is going to buy your lunch today, though it’s not out of the question. What I do mean is that when we feed on the Lord He will fill us up.
Jesus said in John 6:53-58,
53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”
What Jesus meant is that if we take Him in through faith, He will abide in us by His Spirit. Those four thousand plus people were fed physically, their bellies were full. Our bellies will be filled, we will be spiritually fed if it’s Jesus that we’re hungry for.
Is it Jesus that you are hungry for? Feed on Him, feed on His Word, feed on Him through prayer. He is all sufficient, He will provide everything that we need. Though we starve to death in this life, if we feed on the Living Bread, that is Jesus, we will live forever in his eternal kingdom.
So our lessons for today:
From the disciples, look to what the Lord has done and be thankful not forgetful.
From Jesus, look with compassion to the needs of those around us, every person and every need holds an opportunity to serve and glorify the Lord.
From the four thousand plus, Jesus has and will supply all of our needs, we can trust Him.
So what has the Lord done in and through you? What are the needs around you, who do you know that needs your help? And, do you trust the Lord Jesus, with your life, with your sin, with your eternity?
Let’s pray.