Power to Save the World

Posted: January 27, 2014 in Mark

Mark 8:1-10, “Power to Save the World”

The power of God is enough.  It was enough to create the universe – to breathe life into mankind…and it is enough to save mankind from sin & restore the fallen universe.  THAT is the power of our God, demonstrated through Jesus Christ.

That’s a lot to consider as we begin, but that is what’s on display as Jesus feeds the 4000.  It might not seem like that at first, but need to look closer.  This is a simple story; but with profound implications.  The Jewish Messiah feeds the Gentile masses as human insufficiencies are met by the abundant supply of God.  What man lacks, God supplies – as He alone is able to do.  And the truly amazing thing is that Jesus does it for ALL.  The same power and grace that He showed to the Jews is the power and grace He showed to the Gentiles.

This is the 2nd time Jesus demonstrated this kind of miracle.  He’s repeated some things in the past, such as the many times He’s healed the sick & given sight to the blind (so much so, that the gospel writers just began summarizing it all).  He’s done certain things like walk on water & calm storms – which were variations of a similar miracle.  Yet the feeding of the 4000 stands out as a duplication of the earlier feeding of the 5000.  Why would Jesus do the same miracle twice?  What point is He trying to make?  The people in the multitude were different, so it’s not as if they could compare the two.  It was the disciples who were present each time, witnessing the same compassion, the same power, and the same grace given out by Jesus.  He did the same for the Jew & the Gentile, and He needed His disciples to witness it all.  Jesus has power to save the world & He has the desire to save the world.  His disciples (we) are the ones to take it to them…all corners of it.

Mark 8:1–10
1 In those days, the multitude being very great and having nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples to Him and said to them,

  1. Two questions pop up immediately as Ch. 8 begins.  Question #1: which days?  “In those days” – what is the timeframe?  Jesus had been ministering among the Gentiles as He started to wrap up His Galilean ministry.  He’s about to travel south to Jerusalem (ultimately leading to the cross), but before He went there He had one more outreach to the people of Galilee.  Recently He took a brief break as He & the disciples went to the region of Tyre & Sidon, but they had returned and went to the region of Decapolis (7:31) as He engaged in more teaching and healing. 
  2. Question #2: who is the “multitude”?  The answer to the first question helps us determine the answer to the second.  Keep in mind that Decapolis was around the Sea of Galilee, but it was a Gentile area.  Jews were not unknown there, but they were not the primary population.  Although neither Matthew nor Mark tell us the exact makeup of the crowd, it seems highly likely that these were Gentiles.
  3. That brings up an interesting problem.  Why would Jesus spend so much time around Gentiles after making a point to affirm His mission to the Jews?  Remember that part of His response to the Syro-Phoenician woman was to say that the Jews came first in the plan of salvation (they were the children at the table).  Jesus had made a similar point at other times (Mt 10:6, as He sent the disciples into Judea).  So if Jesus as the Jewish Messiah was sent to minister to the Jews, what is He doing around Gentiles?  Answer: Jesus did affirm His primary mission to the Jews, but His mission was always bigger than the Jews alone (Isa 49:6)…He was always to provide salvation for all the world.  Remember that at the same time Jesus told the Syro-Phoenician woman that the Jews were the children, He also showed that certain Gentiles were included in the family household.  On top of that, when Jesus returned from Tyre & Sidon, He specifically went to a Gentile region to minister to more Gentiles.  Obviously Jesus was about to turn His attention to the Jews again, almost exclusively so as He prepared to go to the cross.  Yet this seems to have been His last major outreach to the Gentiles in His earthly ministry.
    1. Jesus is the Messiah of the Jews, but He is also the Creator of the world.  He loves ALL people – every single human being that is formed in a womb is a person made in the image of God.
  4. What does it say about Jesus that a Gentile multitude (even a mixed multitude) around Him was “very great”?  This Man’s fame and popularity went far beyond the people for whom He came!  When He had gone off to the region of Tyre & Sidon (~50 miles away), one would think that would be far enough away to get a bit of rest.  But even there He could not be hidden (7:24).  Coming back around the Sea of Galilee, even to a Gentile region, people followed Jesus by the droves – literally by the thousands.  They obviously did not understand everything about this Man, but they could not stay away from Him.
    1. People are going to have a reaction to Jesus!
  5. So we know the “when” and the “who” – look at the “what.”  There were a lot of people, and they were hungry.  It’s not that their stomachs were a little uncomfortable in want of a snack – they had “nothing to eat.”  As Jesus notes in vs. 2, it had been days for some of them.  This was a serious situation, and it should have been a similar one for the disciples.  That’s why Jesus “called His disciples” for a ministry team meeting.  They had encountered something like this before, and Jesus sets up the scenario for them.

2 “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. 3 And if I send them away hungry to their own houses, they will faint on the way; for some of them have come from afar.”

  1. Jesus specifically speaks of His “compassion.”  He saw the people and He was moved for them.  He knew their situation, and He had sympathy.  (Should be reassuring after His encounter with the Syro-Phoenician woman.  His response to her had to have been compassionate, because HE is compassionate.)
    1. The existence of God’s compassion is amazing in itself.  GOD need not feel sympathy for anyone.  After all, a God is to BE served.  We do not imagine that kings are to lower themselves to serve others; other people are expected to serve the king’s every whim.  How much more with God?  By all rights, we are to serve God without regard to ourselves, and we have no expectation of God ever looking upon us at all.  He did enough in simply allowing us the privilege to exist.  He need not have sympathy or compassion for anyone.  But He does!  He went to the extreme of actually becoming a human in order that He would not only sympathize (have feelings toward us), but empathize (have feelings WITH us).  He is with us in all of the same struggles that we are.  This is amazing grace!  As David wrote, “What is man that You are mindful of him?” (Ps 8:4)  And yet God is…He is mindful of us.  He sees us & knows us.
  2. In His compassion, Jesus took time to look upon the multitude.  What did He see?
    1. Jesus saw their dedication: they had been with Him “three days.”  They hadn’t been willing to leave Jesus.  This had been a time of tremendous ministry.  Matthew’s context leading up to this miracle shows amazing healings taking place: Matthew 15:30–31, "(30) Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them. (31) So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel." []  We talk about revivals today, but we haven’t seen anything like this!  Incredible physical miracles were taking place (even the maimed being healed!), and people were coming to faith left & right as “they glorified the God of Israel.”  It’s no wonder people didn’t want to leave!  When you’re in the middle of that kind of move of God, that’s not something you want to end.  Jesus saw it, too, and He wasn’t yet ready to send the people away.
      1. He knows our sincerity in worship.  He sees our struggle in prayer.  He won’t send us away empty-handed.
    2. Jesus saw their struggle: they had “nothing to eat.”  This was the present problem.  Three days is a long time for anyone to go without food.  Perhaps there had been some picnic lunches early on, but that was long gone.  They were hungry now, and they needed something now.  Jesus was not blind to their current need.
    3. Jesus saw their problem: they would not make it home without fainting.  This was the future problem.  Their current hunger would cause future complications.  He had the right to send them home, and humanly speaking, He had a reason to send them home (no food to give).  Yet Jesus knew exactly what would happen if the crowds left hungry.  He knew what needed to be done to provide for their future need.
    4. This His compassion!  He sees our every need, and He even knows what we will endure before we endure it.  And He is faithful to supply us, no matter what.
  3. Jesus saw all of this, and what did He do?  He called His disciples to Himself and told them.  He wanted His disciples to see the same things He saw.  Jesus is giving the disciples the opportunity to (1) see the people through His eyes, and (2) trust Jesus to lead them to the solution.  Obviously the problem before them presented an impossible situation.  We’re not told exactly where they were, but no doubt they were far out from the nearest village.  The only places that would be large enough to accommodate crowds of thousands would be outside of towns – most towns and villages at the time did not even have populations of thousands themselves.  They would have had to go to wilderness areas & broad plains to gather.  Even if some of the crowd (and the disciples) had originally taken provisions, it wouldn’t have lasted long.  After all, there wasn’t exactly refrigeration or modern preservation methods in 1st century Judea.  So with no freezers and no restaurants, what were they to do?
  4. Jesus is trying to prompt the disciples in their response.  The situation was indeed impossible, but Jesus didn’t bring an impossible situation to the disciples expecting them to try to invent some sort of human solution.  He’s God – He doesn’t need to try to piece something together haphazardly like so many of us would try to do.  Jesus brings the impossibility of the situation to the attention of the disciples in order that He would grab their attention, and that they might remember an earlier miracle.  What had happened at the feeding of the 5000?  All they needed to do was bring the situation back to Jesus.  Jesus had provided before; surely He would provide again.

4 Then His disciples answered Him, “How can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness?”

  1. The problem was that the disciples didn’t remember.  No doubt if Jesus had specifically mentioned the 5000, they would have been able to recount the details of the miracle.  But for whatever reason (wavering unbelief, most likely), they could not connect the dots to the 4000 right in front of them.
    1. Because of their doubts, some liberal scholars have concluded that the feeding of the 5000 & 4000 are actually two accounts of the same miracle.  This cannot be the case.  The general miracle is identical, but the details are vastly different.  It was a different number of people – a different location – a different demographic (Jew vs. Gentile) – a different amount of original food & leftovers – a different type of basket used to collect the leftovers – even a different amount of time spent with Jesus with no food.  With the 5000, the Jews had not been with Jesus a full 24 hours – they had simply followed Him and the disciples into the deserted place and had stayed there all day (6:35).  Here, the multitude was with Him for three days.
    2. Beyond the details (which are plenty!) Jesus Himself ought to put all doubts to rest when He specifically mentions both miracles later on in Chapter 8 (8:19-20).  To ignore Jesus’ own words goes to show how little liberal scholarship can be trusted regarding the Bible.
  2. The disciples saw the impossibility of the situation – and that is all they saw.  No doubt, it was impossible.  Their eyes were on the thousands in front of them, and the lack of provisions in their own hands.  What they missed was the God for Whom all things are possible that was sitting right before their eyes.
    1. The disciples were right to understand that there was no human solution to their problem.  Just like the issue of sin.  How can sin be addressed?  From a human perspective, it is impossible.  We cannot cleanse ourselves from our sin; we’re too stained by it.  We cannot buy our way out of sin; the cost is too great.  We cannot earn our way out of sin; our good deeds never erase our bad ones.  It’s impossible! But likewise with the hunger of the 4000, what is impossible with man is possible with God.  Jesus can handle the impossible!
    2. All we need to do is to go to Him and ask.  Just as the disciples needed to ask Jesus and trust Him to help with the bread, so do we regarding the issue of sin.  Go to Jesus & ask – trust Him to make the provision that is necessary.  Too many people hear of Jesus & hear of the forgiveness of God & then go their own way.  They never bother asking Jesus for His forgiveness.  He’s right here!  He has already made the provision for you – He’s already gone to the cross & risen from the grave!  Yet you do not have forgiveness if you do not ask for it.  ASK!
  3. Notice that the disciples not only forgot their own history as a group of 12, but they forgot their own history as a national people.  Look at their question: “How can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness?”  Let’s think about this…what people has there ever been in history who were in the wilderness and needed to be fed with bread?  Of course people can be fed with bread in the wilderness – the Hebrews were!  They had personally experienced the miraculous provision of God on a daily basis for a generation.  That was God’s history with Israel, yet the disciples were not among the children of Israel – and that may have been part of the problem.  Jesus looked upon this multitude with compassion, but the Jewish disciples may not have been so quick to have compassion upon the Gentile people.  Even if they felt pity for them, it did not seem to occur to them that the God of Israel could (or would) provide for the Gentiles in the same way that He did for the Jews.
    1. The historical prejudice between Jew & Gentile is easy for us to see – but what about us?  Are there people for whom we think it is impossible for God to reach…or to WANT to reach?  Are there people for whom we think that God would not show compassion or mercy?  Are there people for whom we simply don’t want to reach out in mercy?

5 He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven.”

  1. Why does Jesus ask about the bread?  After all, Jesus can make bread like manna, if He so desired.  Why would He have any need at all to ask the disciples what provisions of food they might have with them.  Besides, as God (and a good leader of the group), wouldn’t Jesus have known how much was with them?  Of course.  We need to remember that God always has a purpose with His questions.  God never asks a question to gain information (He already has all of that) – He asks questions to prompt a response.
  2. That’s what Jesus is doing here with the disciples.  He’s prompting the disciples to remember Who they are with and what He is capable of doing.  He’s trying to jog their memories.  We can almost hear Jesus saying, “Come on guys…remember a few weeks back?”  How soon we forget!  Be careful not to be too quick to criticize the disciples.  They had not connected the dots to what Jesus could do, but how often do we do the same thing?  How many times has God delivered us from certain situations, only for us to go running around and fear & panic the next time it comes up?  Our God hasn’t changed, but our memories are so short.  God can be trusted every time.
  3. How many loaves did they have?  Seven.  We’re not told where it came from.  For the 5000, the original loaves and fish were brought by a young boy (Jn 6:9) – seemingly the only person with sense enough to bring a picnic lunch for the day!  Then, it was only 5 loaves and 2 fish.  Here, there were 7 loaves (and the fish are pointed out later).  There was more bread, but not nearly enough.  If this was the bread that the disciples themselves had brought, or had left-over from their own daily provisions, then it wasn’t even enough to split for lunch and satisfy the hunger of Jesus and the 12 disciples.  It was a pitifully small amount of food…think 7 thick tortillas, and then face not just a group of 13, but 4000.  It might provide a snack for a handful of people, but certainly not a meal to feed thousands who had been fasting for three days.  It was such a small amount that the disciples hadn’t even brought up the bread for consideration to Jesus.  It wasn’t enough.  Right?  Wrong!  In the hands of Jesus, only ONE loaf would have been enough!
  4. Notice the implication by Jesus’ question (which the disciples understood): whatever they had, they were supposed to give it.  They had 7 loaves, and they were supposed to hand it all over to Jesus.  Remember that the 13 of them were all likely hungry, and this was all they had.  We can almost imagine at least some of the disciples thinking, “But if we give You our 7 loaves of bread, what are WE going to eat for lunch?”  (We can imagine the disciples thinking that because it’s exactly what WE would think!)  They could trust Jesus with it all because they were with Jesus.  It’s not like it was the Roman Empire coming in & demanding that the disciples give up all their bread – the Romans would be perfectly happy to see people starve.  They weren’t giving up their bread to an enemy; they were handing their provisions over to their Loving God.  To give their bread to Jesus was not to give up hope; it was to GAIN hope!  Jesus had proven Himself faithful time & time again.  If Jesus asked for bread, they knew they could give Him bread & experience His marvelous grace.  In fact, if they hadn’t given up their bread, they would have had a tiny snack between them & still gone hungry – only by giving up what they had to Jesus did they experience a meal in abundance!
    1. On a spiritual level, think of it in terms of your life.  What is it that you have?  Bring it to Jesus.  It may not seem like much, but you cannot begin to imagine what God can do with it.  Some might object: “But you don’t understand what I’ve done, or who I am!  I have nothing to offer God.”  Who are you to determine what God can & cannot use?  He’s GOD!  This is the God who needed nothing in order to create the entire physical universe.  He used 5 loaves to feed 5000, and 7 loaves to feed 4000.  If we think we are inadequate for God’s use, how much more is a box of crackers useless to feed a football stadium’s worth of people?  Bring who you are – bring what you have, and trust Jesus to do His will with you.  If you never bring what you have, you’ll never experience the abundant life that Jesus desires for you.
    2. On a practical level, the principle remains true.  We can trust God with what we give to Him.  Maybe all you have is a few dollars & the Lord prompts you to give it to someone in need.  You can trust that God is going to provide for you, perhaps in ways you cannot imagine.  Other Christians have a difficult time trusting God with their regular gifts & offerings.  They see that initial number on their check & get nervous.  Think about to Whom you’re giving it.  You need not fear when you give unto the Lord with a cheerful heart!  Our Lord can be trusted – He will provide for us.  God the Father cares for His children!

6 So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and they set them before the multitude. 7 They also had a few small fish; and having blessed them, He said to set them also before them.

  1. This is so similar to what took place before.  Jesus commands an orderly gathering.  With the Jews, He had them sit down in groups of hundreds & fifties (6:41) – with the Gentiles, He just has them get seated.  We’re not told the difference as to why.  In the wilderness, God had the tribes of Israel arranged by orderly groups around the Tabernacle every time they set up camp.  It would be interesting to know if Jesus had the 5000 arranged by tribe.  Or, it could be as simple as just changing things up a bit due to the individual situation.  Perhaps it was easier to distribute the food among the 5000 in groups of 50’s & 100’s, and just as easy to walk among the 4000 as they were all seated.  Either way, we get a clear picture of an orderly distribution.  There is no chaos as Jesus has the disciples distribute food to the hungry masses.  It is a peaceful, orderly gathering that gives glory to God.
    1. In any gift from God, the giving is orderly!  When describing the spiritual gifts to the Corinthian church, Paul chastised the Corinthians for being chaotic in the way they practiced the gifts.  Apparently people were all speaking in tongues & prophesying at the same time, and it was confusing.  Paul did not want the gifts to be censored, but he did want things to be done peacefully.  “Let all things be done decently and in order.” (1 Cor 14:40)  “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.” (1 Cor 14:33)  It is wonderful to receive and to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit!  But red flags should go up any time those gifts are being exercised in a chaotic confusing way.  God has demonstrated His desire for order from the first moments of creation (every single day, new things created in their time), and even within His very nature (each member of the Trinity submitted to God the Father).  Peaceful order is important to God!
  2. Not only was it orderly, it was sufficient.  Just as before, Jesus “gave thanks” and then distributed the food to the crowd.  Jesus seemingly “broke” the bread once, but gave repeatedly to the disciples to give to the people.  How exactly it worked, we’re not told…perhaps much to our disappointment.  This is the 2nd time the disciples saw the miracle, and neither time did they tell us how exactly Jesus multiplied the bread & fish.  Did He break it into a basket & keep reaching into the basket to hand out?  Did He break it in His hand, but after handing it out, did a new loaf suddenly materialize?  We don’t know how Jesus kept handing it out, but no doubt it was wonderful to witness!
  3. Keep in mind that to get more bread to hand out, the disciples had to repeatedly return to Jesus.  Jesus didn’t give it all out at one time, and obviously the 12 would not have been able to physically hold it in their hands all at one time if He had.  Jesus gave out just what the disciples could manage, and they had to continually go back to Him for the supply.
    1. How true this is regarding our own spiritual walk with Jesus.  We don’t get all we need from Him for all our lives all at one time; we continually go to God asking for grace & provision.  We are certainly saved the first time we ask Jesus for forgiveness, but His supply of grace is far bigger than just our eternal salvation.  We don’t only need grace for eternity, but for every day!  We need to be continually cleansed from our ongoing sins (1 Jn 1:9), and we need grace to endure the trials & thorns of life (2 Cor 12:9).  We need grace at all times for all things – but we need to remember we don’t get it all at once.  Remember how Jesus taught us to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread.” (Mt 6:11)  Just as the ancient Hebrews relied upon God’s provision every morning for manna in the wilderness, so do we rely upon God’s provision of grace & power every day for our needs.  This is partly what it means to be filled with the Spirit.  We are not filled with the Spirit once for all time; we are to be continually filled with the Spirit as we go through life.  Ephesians 5:18–20, "(18) And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, (19) speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, (20) giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ," []  “Be filled” is present tense, imperative.  It’s a command to be always filled, continually filled.  That means we are to keep going to God, asking & receiving by faith the filling/empowerment of God the Spirit.
    2. If you don’t have the strength & provision you need as a Christian, it’s because you haven’t asked.  You have not because you ask not. (Jas 4:2-3)
  4. Notice that Jesus had the disciples serve the crowd.  He didn’t have the people line up; He had the disciples go out.  What a great preview of the Great Commission!  Just as Jesus had His disciples take the food out to the 5000 Jews, He has them take it out to the 4000 Gentiles (or mixed multitude).  The crowds may have been different, but God’s power and method of reaching them had not changed.  The disciples were to go among the people and personally hand out the provision of Jesus.
    1. It sounds so simple, yet it can be so difficult for us to do.  Jesus has made the provision for the entire world – we simply need to take it to them.  Sometimes it’s as getting face to face with someone & telling them about Jesus.  Sometimes it may be as simple as giving out a literal piece of bread, as long as they know where the gift originated.  However we share the message about Jesus, we need to remember that He has given it to us to give out.  There is a multitude of people out there, and they need to know what Jesus offers them – what He has already made available to them.  WE are the delivery method.  Not just in far-off places around the world (though we cannot neglect them), but right here in our hometown.  How many people do you know that are not born-again believers in Jesus Christ?  YOU are the missionary that Jesus has placed in their path.  Hand out the bread of life!
  5. By the way – where did the fish come from?  Jesus hadn’t asked about the fish – He only asked about bread.  (Which is the same in both Matthew & Mark’s accounts.)  The disciples apparently didn’t have much fish, but when Jesus asked about the bread, it seems that the wheels started turning in their minds.  At that point, they seem to have remembered what Jesus had done with the earlier miracle.  If Jesus was asking for bread, then they could trust Him with the fish as well.  That time, Jesus didn’t have to ask; they willingly offered it up.

8 So they ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets of leftover fragments.

  1. How much did they eat?  Enough!  More than enough!  The Greek implies that they ate until they were fully satisfied.  Think about that for a moment.  They had been with Jesus for three days, and likely many of them hadn’t had anything to eat that entire time.  They were hungry.  And yet Jesus took 7 loaves and some fish, and fed them so much that they had “leftover fragments.”  They ate so much that they could not eat any more.  They ate & ate & ate, and could not out-eat what the Lord graciously provided for them.  His blessing & grace was more than enough.
  2. How many leftovers did they have? “Seven large baskets” worth.  How many loaves of bread did they start with?  Seven.  Coincidence?  Absolutely not.  THAT is the provision of our God!  THAT is what He can do.  He can take 7 paltry loaves, not much more than tortillas, and turn it into so much that it would fill up 7 laundry baskets of just the leftovers!  Jesus was making a specific point, showing what His power can do.  He is enough for our every need.
    1. Have you ever wondered if what Jesus offers is truly enough?  Can His power really strengthen you for every trial?  Can His blood really cover every sin?  Yes!  Without question, yes, His grace is enough – abundantly so.  You cannot encounter anything that the Lord Jesus cannot overwhelm by His power.  You have not done anything in the past that is so bad that the blood of the Son of God is not powerful enough to cleanse.  He is overwhelmingly more than enough!
  3. This is one more detail that differs between the 5000 & the 4000, and it is significant.  The 5000 had 12 baskets of leftovers (6:43), whereas the 4000 had 7 baskets.  Don’t assume that the 4000 had less.  The word used for “basket” is different.  For the 5000, the basket was the small basket typically used by the Jews to carry around their lunch.  For the 4000, the basket is the same sort of basket used by the Christians in Damascus to hide Saul/Paul & let him down over the wall to escape, when Saul first became a believer (Acts 9:25).  These were much larger than the lunch buckets used by the Jews.  It’s quite possible that the 7 large baskets actually contained more leftovers than the 12 smaller ones, though Jesus fed more people the first time.
  4. Is there significance to the numbers themselves?  Probably.  The 12 baskets for the 5000 Jews immediately call to mind the 12 tribes of Israel, and the 12 disciples.  It was a very Jewish event, that called to mind the God of Israel providing manna in the wilderness for His people.  The 7 baskets for the 4000 Gentiles (or mixed multitude) probably signify completeness.  The perfect God is able to supply the needs of the imperfect world – able to reconcile all back to Himself through Jesus.

9 Now those who had eaten were about four thousand. And He sent them away, 10 immediately got into the boat with His disciples, and came to the region of Dalmanutha.

  1. Although Mark doesn’t give us the detail, Matthew tells us that the 4000 counted men only, and not the women and children that were there (Mt 15:38).  As with the 5000, this number could easily be doubled in size.  When Jesus fed the crowd, He fed a stadium’s worth full of people.  (Not bad for 7 loaves and a few fish!)
  2. After everything was done, Jesus sent the people away (with the baskets of leftovers), and they had enough provision to get them to their homes without trouble.  As the crowds left, Jesus & the disciples also left, getting into their boat and travelling to another Gentile area.  The account here differs with Matthew a bit, in that Matthew records them going to Magdala/Magadan (Mt 15:39), but it is not unusual for towns to have been known by two names.  One name could have been the region; the other the actual town.  We do the same thing.  Two people in the same car might describe a day-trip as going to Dallas & the other as going to Plano.  Which one is correct?  They both are…one is simply more specific than the other.  The Biblical writers often do the same thing.  Scholars have always had a difficult time locating the city, as both Matthew’s & Mark’s accounts are the only places where these towns are named in the Bible.  However, some archaeologists believe Dalmanutha may have been discovered, according to an article published by Livescience.com in September 2013.  Artifacts have been found there that show Jews & Gentiles living in the same city, and on its shoreline was found a boat that dates back 2000 years, indicating a fishing community.  No direct tie has been found, and this town is on the NW shore of Galilee, opposite from the area of Decapolis, but it’s an interesting development.
    1. Given enough time, history/archaeology always proves the Bible true!  Town names and historical people that were scoffed at by skeptics are often discovered, and new light is shed on Biblical texts, helping our interpretations.  The Christian faith is rooted in actual history, and not a single archaeological find has ever disproven the Bible.  And no doubt, skeptics have searched.  We can trust the word of God!

Conclusion:
The same power with which Jesus reaches the Jews is the power that reaches the Gentiles.

The Gentiles may or may not have seen Jesus actually perform the miracle, though they likely knew something miraculous was taking place. The Gentiles may or may not have known about the earlier miracle in feeding the 5000. The word may have spread, but we don’t know. What we do know is that the disciples were witnesses to both events. They knew what Jesus did in multiplying the loaves and they knew how Jesus had done it earlier. Jesus was not limited in either case, nor was His compassion or provision different. How He gave grace to one group is how He gave grace to the other. Jesus would expect His disciples to do the same.

The plan to bring salvation to the Jews was just the beginning. In the gospel, God had a plan to bring salvation to all humanity – to right every wrong in the entire fallen universe.

Jesus loves all people.
Jesus can use all things at His disposal. (He is God.)
Jesus gives grace in abundance.

This is His plan for the world. This is His plan for you.

Do we make the gospel too small? Do we make it too American and too individualistic? The Son of God is far bigger than that, and so is His mission.

How are you participating? Have you given all you have to the Lord Jesus? Have you received of everything He has to give? Do you truly believe that Jesus wants to reach the world? And that He wants to use you in the process?

The first step is to give yourself.  Maybe you’ve never gone to Jesus and asked for His grace.  You’ve never brought what little you’ve had to the Lord, and received what He’s had to give.  Remember there is no sin too great that Jesus cannot forgive.  There is no person that has done too much that the grace of Jesus cannot use.  The only things that prevent you from receiving the forgiveness of God available through Jesus Christ are pride & unbelief.  And that can change today.  Go before the Lord in prayer, sinner that you are, and confess your sin to the Lord.  Trust that Jesus can and will forgive you of your sin because of what He did on the cross & how He rose from the grave.  He’s already demonstrated His love for you & proven that His grace is abundant.  You simply need to ask Him to receive of it.

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Comments
  1. John Warren Jr. says:

    His grace is sufficient.

  2. timburns says:

    Amen!

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