"Meanderings in Mark"
Series on Mark, Lesson 30

Feeding a Multitude - Again

Read: Mark 8:1-10

Text: (Mark 8:8 KJV) So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets.

Theme: Jesus meets our every need, if we only believe in Him.


 Today we examine three seemingly separate incidents, which, taken together teach us one important truth:

Jesus meets our every need, if we only believe in Him.

I. The miracle - a 2nd time

QUESTION - Some critics of the Bible believe there was only one feeding miracle, and that it is an error in scripture to have it recorded as 5000 in one place and 4000 in another. How would you respond to such a charge?


QUOTE (Archibald Thomas Robertson)- The repetition of a nature miracle of feeding four thousand in Decapolis disturbs some
modern critics who cannot imagine how Jesus could or would perform another miracle
elsewhere so similar to the feeding of the five thousand up near Bethsaida Julias. But both Mark
and Matthew give both miracles, distinguish the words for baskets (kophinos, sphuris), and
both make Jesus later refer to both incidents and use these two words with the same distinction
(Mark 8:19f.; Matthew 16:9f.). Surely it is easier to conceive that Jesus wrought two such
miracles than to hold that Mark and Matthew have made such a jumble of the whole business.

QUESTION - If this was, indeed, a second miraculous feeding (and it was), then how do you explain the disciples' incredible lack of faith here? How could they ask the same question again? (Mark 8:4)

QUESTION - Do we ever act similarly, not expecting God to meet a need in our life after He has plainly done so before?

A. Comparison to feeding of 5000

QUESTION - Let's compare this miracle with the feeding of the 5000 described in Mark 6:35-44. What similarities do you see between the two? What differences?

1. Similarities

NOTE - "Brake and gave" (eklasen kai edidou). Constative aorist followed by imperfect. The giving kept on.

2. Differences

NOTE - Dalmanutha - unknown location, but suuth of the plain of Gennesaret a cave has been found bearing the name Talmanutha. this may be the place.

NOTE - Matthew has Magadan as location - cf 15:39

NOTE - Two different words for baskets used - (kophinos, sphuris). One refers to a small lunch basket (feeding of the 5000), but the one used here refers to a basket large enough to contain a full grown man! (Acts 9:25 KJV) Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.

B. This miracle demonstrates that Jesus is in the business of meeting needs.

QUESTION - How so? What details in this account give us insight into Jesus' ability to meet needs?

QUESTION - What kind of need(s) did Jesus meet here?

QUESTION - Jesus met their NEEDS. He will also meet our NEEDS. What are some examples of NEEDS, as defined in the Bible? (1 Tim 6:8 KJV) And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

QUESTION - If Jesus meets our NEEDS, why are so many believers discontented today?

ANSWER - We confuse WANTS with NEEDS. (Subject of another sermon, though.)

1. He was concerned for their physical needs. (Vs. 2)

2. He was also concerned with their spiritual needs. (As indicated by 3 days of teaching)

Compare previous miracle, where His compassion was due to their spiritual need: (Mark 6:34 KJV) And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.

C. This miracle is a teaching miracle (note - just as 5000 was)

QUESTION - What teaching methods do we see here?

1. Note Jesus' use of repetition - familiar & effective teaching technique.

NOTE - We can't be too hard on the disciples considering how we, too, often need to be told over & over again.

QUESTION - Can you think of times in your life (i.e. if you are willing to share them) when Jesus taught you something, but the very next time around you needed to be taught the same thing again?

QUESTION - What was Jesus trying to teach the disciples?

2. Teaches the disciples that they can trust Him instead of relying on their own human resources, or lack thereof.


We can depend on Jesus for nourishment.


II. The rejection of the unbelievers

QUESTION - Was there anything wrong with the request of the Pharisees in verse 11? What?

QUESTION - Why do you think Jesus refused to give them the desired sign, even when He had just provided a strong demonstration of His identity in the feeding of the 4000? He was constantly working miracles and performing feats that demonstrated His deity, so why would He not do the same for these Pharisees?

A. They sought a sign only to test discredit (not because they truly wanted to understand/believe)

1. This is same demand Satan made in Matthew 4 - "Show me and I will believe!"

QUESTION - How did the Pharisees' request make the Lord feel?

2. This demand discouraged Jesus.

QUESTION - How did Jesus respond to the Pharisees' request?

B. Jesus rejected demand & walked away.

NOTE - "verily I say...." - a Hebrew oath formula, a strong negation w/ the meaning "if I do such a thing may I die!" (never in a 1000 years! Never ever ever!!)

NOTE - Jesus offered same sign He had offered to them earlier (Sign of Jonah) (cf. Matthew. 16:4, 12:39)

QUOTE - MacArthur "the supreme sign verifying His claim to be Son of God & Messiah was to be His resurrection."

QUESTION - Does this have a parallel in our lives? Will Jesus ever respond to people today in a similar manner? When?

C. In the same way, God will reject all unbelievers.

(Mat 7:23 KJV) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

(Mat 25:41 KJV) Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

(Rev 21:8 KJV) But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

NOTE - ONLY unbelievers, though - "him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."

III. The rebuke of the dull-hearted disciples

QUESTION - What was it that the disciples failed to understand? Why didn't they understand it?

QUESTION - Do you think the disciples were just lunkheads, or would our behavior have been the same? Why?

A. Jesus gave a warning which they did not initially understand

QUESTION - In the Bible, the imagery of "leaven" (or "yeast") is used often. What is the Bible usually referring to when this imagery is used? ANSWER - Sin.

QUESTION - Why is leaven a good illustration of sin?

1. Leaven speaks of sin

READ Galatians 5:7-9

NOTE - This was specifically what Jesus was referring to in vs. 15 re: the Pharisees. (Cf. Matthew 16:12).

QUESTION - The "leaven of the Pharisees" is described as false doctrine in Matthew16:12 and as hypocrisy here. Is this a contradiction in scripture? How do you reconcile the two different points?

QUOTE - MacArthur "The two things are inextricably linked." (i.e. hypocrisy starts with false doctrine)

NOTE - Ryrie believes that the "leaven of Herod" was "secularism and worldliness")

2. Leaven speaks particularly of the gradual influence of sin.

(Gal 5:9 KJV) A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

3. Leaven cannot be STOPPED. It must be PURGED.

(1 Cor 5:6-7 KJV) Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

B. Jesus continued teaching! (Vss. 18-21)

QUESTION - Do we ever get discouraged thinking that those we witness to and teach "will just never get it?" What do we learn from Jesus' example here?

QUESTION - What method of teaching did He use now?

1. Jesus asked a series of questions (vss 18-20) to help disciples understand.

QUESTION - Examine these questions in turn. How would they have helped the disciples' understanding?

2. Jesus confirmed their understanding (21)

QUESTION - Do you think the disciples ever truly "got it?"

C. According to Matt. 16:12, they did finally understand.

(Mat 16:12 KJV) Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.



 The miracle teaches that Jesus meets our every need, if we only believe in Him.

(Emphasis on the meeting of needs)

The rejection of the unbelievers teaches that Jesus meets our every need, if we only believe in Him.

(Emphasis on believing)

The dullness of the disciples teaches that Jesus meets our every need, if we only believe in Him.

(Emphasis again, on the believing.


May God help us to remember, no matter what the need may be in our life, JESUS IS THE ANSWER. He meets our every need, if we only believe in Him.

Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright © 1998 William E. Johnson.