Jesus Feeds 4,000 People

By Harrison Woodard

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 distribute to the people, and they did so. They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.” — Mark 8:6-8 <NIV>

 

 

Based on Matthew 15:29-39 and Mark 8:1-9

After healing the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter, Jesus traveled through the Decapolis region, near the Sea of Galilee. Sitting on hill, people brought the sick, lame, blind, dumb, and maimed to him and placed them at his feet. Jesus healed them all.

As the people witnessed miracle after miracle, they praised and glorified God. Never before had they had witnessed such an outpouring of God’s love – the blind could see, the maimed were restored, the deaf could hear, the dumb were speaking, the lame were walking, and the sick were cured.

The people eagerly listened to the words of Jesus. He taught them about the Kingdom of God, and the mercy of their Creator. He ministered in love and under the anointing of God, and the people were so greatly moved, they stayed with him for three days, oblivious to their personal needs.

Jesus Feeds 4,000

Jesus Feeds 4,000 People.

Knowing that the people would be hungry, Jesus said, “I am concerned about the people. They have not eaten in three days and I cannot send them away hungry or they may collapse on the way home.”

The disciples complained that this was a desolate place, and there was no food nearby.

Undeterred by their pessimism, and already knowing what he was going to do, Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?”

The disciples replied that they had 7 loaves of bread and some fish.

Jesus commanded the people to sit down on the hillside. He took the bread and worshiped his Father with the gift. Then he blessed the food and broke bread. He gave it to the disciples who then distributed it to the people. Miraculously, the bread and fish multiplied, providing plenty to satisfy the needs of 4,000 men, plus the women and children that were with them.

After everyone was full, the disciples gathered up 7 very large baskets of leftovers.

 

 

Some Things To Think About

Just a few months earlier, Jesus had fed 5,000+ people in a very similar fashion. This second miracle occurred in the region of Decapolis, which was inhabited by more Gentiles than Jews. It is interesting to note that even after witnessing the first feeding, the disciples still doubted God’s ability to supply the needs of his children. Could their reluctance to believe Jesus had the solution to their problem be rooted in religious bigotry? They had been reluctant to help the Syrophoenician woman, and weren’t thrilled with the visit to Samaria and the time with the woman at the well either. That might be a bit of a stretch, but it is interesting to watch the evolution of the disciples attitude towards Gentiles. This remained a stumbling block in the spread of the Gospel even after the resurrection. Paul’s ministry to the Gentile world, and Peter’s rooftop vision and conversion of Cornelius’ household, finally broke down the wall for good. There is neither Jew or Gentile, male or female, slave or free, in the Kingdom of God. (Acts 10, Galatians 3:28)

Immediately before this event, Jesus healed a deaf man with a speech impediment in the same area. The crowd that had witnessed this event was amazed, because they had never seen anything like this before. And a short time earlier, he had freed a man in the same region who was possessed by a host of demons. The man had desired to travel with Jesus, but instead, Jesus sent him back to his hometown to tell the folks what God had done for him. This was interesting, because normally Jesus discouraged people from sharing their miracles. But this man was sent to preach about God’s goodness. The crowd that joined Jesus on that hill was likely the result of these two testimonies, among many others that may not be recorded. If you are sick, or experiencing lack in any area of your life, this can lead to hopelessness and depression. Hearing the testimony of someone who has met Jesus, and seeing their life transformed, can be a beacon of light, a glimmer of hope to those who have none. All these people suffering under all sorts of demonic ailments and oppression, came to see Jesus desiring peace and wholeness in their lives. The testimony of others helps, but hearing his words, and witnessing lives being valued and transformed, builds faith to receive the miracle, or breakthrough you need. Don’t just seek miracles though – this was the reason Jesus often discouraged people from sharing their healing – people would be more interested in the miraculous (or signs as the religious leaders demanded) rather than a Savior. Devour God’s Word, get to know Jesus personally, then the miracles come naturally as you discover what belongs to you. Jesus promised that these signs would follow Believers – they would heal the sick, speak in other tongues, cast out demons, be protected from harm – among hundreds of other promises including healing. (Exodus 15:26, Psalm 103:1-5, Isaiah 53:4-6, Malachi 4, Matthew 8:16, 17:14-20, Mark 16:17-18, John 10:10, Acts 3:16 James 5:13-16, 1 Peter 2:24, 3 John 1:2)

Jesus needed a seed (or gift) to complete this miracle. Remember, the boy who gave his bread and fish was the catalyst for feeding 5,000. Jesus was wanting the disciples to step forward and offer the food, but they simply confessed more faith in the problem/circumstances than in Jesus. Yes, they were in a desolate place, and there was lack all around. But those were just idle words, producing no faith. Jesus encouraged them to hand over what they had – 7 loaves of bread and a few fish. Jesus took that gift and worshiped his Father with it. He then broke the bread and Blessed (empowered them to prosper) both the bread and fish. He then gave it to the disciples to give to the crowd. Because of the Blessing, everyone was fully satisfied and there was plenty leftover. Every gift given to God – tithe, offerings etc., should be done with this story in mind. Present the gift to your High Priest (Jesus), who presents it before the Father. In this way, giving becomes a spiritual exchange. And you can expect God’s Blessing, and all His promises regarding giving, receiving, and abundance to manifest in your life. The same is true as you give your alms and gifts to the poor or needy. Do it with joy and discretion, as giving it to the Lord. As Jesus says, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. In this way it will have the most impact in the Kingdom of God. God will make sure you abound in everything, so that you will have plenty to share with others. (Deuteronomy 26, Proverbs 19:17, Matthew 6:1-4, Luke 6:38, 2 Corinthians 9:7-15, Philippians 4:18-19, Hebrews 4:14-16)

Had the disciples attempted to feed the crowd with just their meager resources, they might have fed 50 or so people, or a small fraction of the huge crowd. Their good intentions would have been admirable, but they would have failed miserably. Armed with a clear Word from Jesus, they were able to successfully feed as many as 4,000 men, with women and children that number may have been much bigger. Giving to those in need is a noble endeavor. Seek God’s wisdom, and empower your gifts with faith. Let God get involved and see the impact of everything you do get multiplied and amplified. Remember, without God, you can do nothing. With Him, you will bear much fruit. Believers are only limited by their faith because everything is possible if you believe. And of course its your faith that pleases God. The priority is to get people connected to God through Jesus, their unlimited source of Blessing and Life. Financing poverty keeps people enslaved to the world’s failing system. Set them free by teaching them the goodness available to them in the Kingdom of God. Demonstrate God’s love by both faith and good deeds that glorify God. (Proverbs 3:1-10, Matthew 6:25-34, Mark 11:22-25, John 10:10, 15:1-8, Hebrews 11:6, James 2:12-20)

 

 

Faith Building Exercise

Faith comes by continually hearing God’s Word. When you confess (speak) God’s Word out loud you are planting God’s incorruptible seed in your heart (spirit). In time, God’s Word will take root in your spirit (heart) and produce a plentiful harvest of all God’s blessings and promises in your life.

Confess these out loud every day until you believe them in your spirit. They will build your faith. Look up these verses and read them as they appear in your Bible. You can always trust God’s Word because He cannot lie.

 

I am Blessed because I do not listen to the ungodly. I delight in the Lord, and meditate day and night on God’s Word. I am like a tree firmly planted by the living water, bearing fruit in its season. I will not fade or wither. Everything I do prospers.
(Psalm 1)

I trust in the Lord with all my heart. I do not rely my own understanding. In all my ways I acknowledge Him, and He directs my path.
(Proverbs 3:1-10)

I put my trust in the Lord, and I am Blessed. The foolish depend on their own knowledge. I rely on God and walk in His wisdom. He delivers me. I give to those in need and lack nothing.
(Proverbs 28:25-28)

I do not do good deeds, or give to charity, to be seen by men, or to receive honor from the world. I give in secret, not letting my left hand know what my right hand is doing. My God, who sees all, rewards me openly. I only seek the honor that comes from my Heavenly Father.
(Matthew 6:1-4)

I am not anxious about what I eat, or what I wear. I do not worry about tomorrow either because my Father knows my needs. I seek first the Kingdom of God, His way of doing things and being right, and God supplies everything I need, and more.
(Matthew 6:25-34)

I love, Bless, and pray for my enemies and those that hurt me. I lend money without expecting to be repaid, and my Lord rewards me. I do not judge others, and I am not judged. I forgive others, and I am forgiven. I give, and it is given back to me in full – pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. What I give, determines what I receive.
(Luke 6:27-38)

I believe in Jesus and do the same works that he did because he is now with my Father. I can ask anything in Jesus’ name, and he will do it, so that Jesus can bring glory to the Father.
(John 14:12-14)

I do not give reluctantly, or because of peer pressure. I give joyfully and cheerfully, because God loves a cheerful giver. God generously provides everything I need. I always have more than enough, with plenty leftover to share with others.
(2 Corinthians 9:7-8)

My God supplies all my needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:15-19)

Christ dwells in my heart by faith. I am rooted and grounded in love. Though God’s love is infinite, I have the power to grasp how wide, long, high, and deep it really is. I know He is able to do immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine through me to change the world, and glorify God.
(John 14:15-26, 15:1-17, 17:20-26, Ephesians 3:17-21)

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Unless Otherwise Noted – Image Source: Free Christian Clip Art

 

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