vs 1-3 Why does Jesus share this with his disciples? What does this event remind you of? Where in Mark was the previous similar event found?
Notice how Jesus is training his disciples to be servants. He is taking them step by step through the process of faith. In the previous feeding of the 5000 it was the disciples who broached the subject of the peoples need to get home. Here, Jesus brings up the subject differently they need to be fed. Instead of just performing a miracle, Jesus wants his disciples to have compassion on others, and to learn how to respond in faith. This is the first step in being Christs servant we must have compassion for others.
vs 4 Why do you think the Disciples responded this way?
Even though the disciples may have remembered the previous miracle, they are distracted by the practical possibilities. Im sure if Jesus had asked them if they believed he could feed these 4000 the same way he fed the 5000, they would have answered, yes. But this was not the way Jesus taught his followers in this instance. He wanted them to understand the peoples hunger and need for food.
If we are to be servants of Christ, we need to understand peoples spiritual hunger and need for spiritual food. We will not begin to address peoples needs until we have compassion on them. There are many who are spiritually starving and are desperate for answers. We need to learn how to share the bread of life with them.
vs 5-6 What did the disciples find for the crowd to eat? Why do you think they were looking for the food? What did Jesus do with the loaves? What did the disciples do with the loaves?
It seems to me that between verse 4 and 5 some of the disciples started looking for bread. They returned to Jesus, and he asked his question in verse 5. The disciples compassion had taken the form of action. They were looking for the food to help the people, and perhaps they knew that whatever small amount they found, Jesus would multiply it. After Jesus blessed the bread, the disciples went among the people to distribute the bread. This is the second step in being Christs servant we must take action to help others.
vs 7 When did the disciples find the fish? Why do you think they brought them to Christs attention?
While they were distributing the bread, it seems they also found some people with fish. No doubt remembering the previous miracle, they brought the fish to Jesus. This time the disciples were more involved in the process of this miracle. They brought the fish to Jesus in faith. It is one thing to take action, and it is another to do things in faith. This is the third step of being Christs servant we must act in faith.
Notice how Jesus taught his disciples these steps compassion, action, faith. We must also learn the same lessons as we strive to be Christs followers today.
vs 8-10 How many similarities are there between this miracle and the previous feeding miracle? How would these similarities make an impression on the disciples? Has God ever repeated a miracle for you?
Jesus is repeating a miracle for the benefit of the disciples. Notice the similarities bread, fish, large group of people, far from town, disciples serve the food to the people, there are baskets left over, and after the people are fed, they are sent away. There can be no doubt in the disciples minds about this miracle. Sometimes God repeats lessons to us so that we can learn important truths. Here the disciples learned compassion, action, and faith. What lessons have you learned when God has repeated a miracle to you?
vs 11-12 Why was Jesus upset that the Pharisees were seeking a sign? How does this statement by Jesus in verse 12 square with Jesus many miracles?
When people come to Christ in faith, God performs miracles because of his love toward them, and because he wants them to be taught about the power of God. But God does not want people coming to him solely for the purpose of seeing "signs" or "miracles." Faith must come first, not just a desire for something exciting. Jesus performed many miracles, but that is not why he came. He came to heal our broken spirit. When people turned to Jesus in faith, their spirit was healed, and as a result they often were also healed physically. But the only important healing is that of the spirit or the soul. Jesus wants people to be right with God. So Christians need to be seeking God, not miracles. As we seek God, miracles may come because God loves us, but our focus must always be on God and the salvation that he offers to our soul and the healing he offers our spirit.
vs 13-15 What do you think Jesus meant by the "yeast of the Pharisees"? If you dont know, read on, because the disciples didnt understand either.
Once again the disciples are looking at the natural instead of the spiritual. The Pharisees doctrines were blinding them from seeing what God was doing in their midst. They were so concerned with legalisms that they had lost all spiritual perspective. Their rules, regulations, and dogma had blinded them to Gods move in their midst. We need to be careful that we dont stifle Gods Spirit in our own life. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in what we think is important that the things of God lose their luster. God help us to have a heavenly vision.
vs 16-18 What parts of the human body is Jesus referring to in verses 17-18? What would be the spiritual application of each part?
Jesus roundly condemns the disciples. Notice he mentions their physical senses their heart, their eyes, their ears, their mind. Their hearts were desiring physical bread when they should have been desiring heavenly bread. Their eyes could not see past the outward, and their ears had heard Christs instructions, but they had failed to truly listen. Their minds were so focused on the present, that they had forgotten the significance of the miracles that Christ had performed. The problem is that all their senses were focusing on this life.
Let our heart desire the things of God, not the things of this world. May our eyes see wondrous sights from heaven instead of being blinded by the treasures of this world. Let our ears hear that still, small voice speaking to us spiritual truth and not be deafened by the clamor of this world. May our minds remember all the blessings God has bestowed upon us and all the lessons Christ is teaching us instead of being distracted by our own wants and wishes. Jesus was training his disciples to view things from a heavenly perspective so that they would know how to be his servants. Let us also see the heavenly perspective.
vs 19-21 After reading these verses, what application was Jesus trying to make with the "yeast of the Pharisees" in verse 15? What was the disciples problem in understanding this? Why do we have difficulty understanding spiritual things? What area of your faith does God need to work on?
Jesus tries to explain to his followers how unimportant the bread of this life is. Even though people today are pre-occupied with gathering bread, and fish, and other provisions, Jesus simply spoke the word and it was provided. The disciples needed to understand that it is not the things of this world that are important, or that should be a priority. God controls all things in this world. Everything we need we will have. Our focus needs to be on spiritual things. Allow God to work in your life in the areas of faith, compassion, forgiveness, witnessing, encouraging, praying, Bible reading, and especially being a servant.
This study on Mark 8:1-21 © 1999 by David Humpal, all rights reserved.