- Matt. 15:21-31; Mark 7:24-37
- Mark 8:1-10
- Matt. 16:1-12; Mark 8:11-21
- Mark 8:22-26
Not long after Jesus fed a group of over 5,000 people, He fed another crowd of about 4,000 people. Jesus said:
2 “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. 3 If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.”
(Mark 8:2-3 NIV)
This crowd had been there for three days with Jesus. That's a long time to be present for the purpose of healing and learning. By this point, they were hungry and had nothing available to eat. What dedication these people must have had! How special it must have been to physically be with Jesus!
Even though Jesus had recently performed the same miracle in feeding over 5,000 people, it's as if the disciples weren't even there before. There's no mention of them saying, "Lord, you did this miracle recently, so why can't You do it again?" Instead, they said:
“But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”
(Mark 8:4b NIV)
Jesus asks how many loaves of bread they have, and after finding out there are seven loaves with a few small fish, Jesus has the people sit on the ground, broke the bread and had His disciples give the pieces to the people. This time there were seven leftover basketfuls.
Later on, Jesus warned the disciples to beware the leaven of the Pharisees. But they thought Jesus was saying this because they hadn't brought any bread. Jesus then said:
17 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?” “Twelve,” they replied. 20 “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?” They answered, “Seven.” 21 He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”
(Mark 8:17-21 NIV)
Just like the disciples somehow missed the point that Jesus was fully able to provide all of their needs, including physical food, it is quite possible for you and I to miss what should be easy-to-see truths that GOD is teaching us. For example, we might be very worried about something and forget to give it to GOD in prayer. We might be asking for GOD's help or guidance for us to make a certain decision, when the answer is right in front of our face the entire time. So rather than think, "How could these disciples miss the point of Jesus' feeding the 5,000?", we should instead pray, "GOD, please open my eyes to see those situations where you're showing me something or teaching me a lesson and I'm missing the point." He will show you. It's His will for you to understand.