Mark – How many loaves to you have?
(We are not trying to answer all the questions in Mark. But before we move on to the next study it is important to remark something on two more questions:
1. Mark 4:38: The disciples asked Jesus: “Teacher, don’t You care if we drown?” This question follows the description of the task Jesus gave to the disciples of sowing the Word. Our Lord follows their question up with: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (verse 41). Christ performed a real miracle by calming the storm. But perhaps this episode is included here to describe the helplessness and fear of the disciples as they faced their task. Our Lord has power to calm the storm!
2. Mark 5:39: “Why all this commotion and wailing?” A question followed by the statement, “The child is not dead but asleep.” This was a real miracle and the little girl was indeed brought back to life, but perhaps this episode was included here for the disciples to understand that the last enemy they might face has no power against Him who sent them into the world to proclaim the mysteries of God. See Mark 6:7-12, and 14-29, which records the death of John the Baptist.)
Read Mark 6:30-44 and 8:1-21.
A common line in the Gospel of Mark is his description of large crowds following Christ. As a matter of fact, every new development in the ministry of Jesus begins with a large crowd gathered.
1. Read Mark 6:34. What was the reaction of our Lord when He saw the large crowd?
2. What was the first thing He did meeting the crowd (see verse 34). Why?
3. Read Mark 6:36. The disciples saw a resolution to the problem. What was it? Would we do any different?
4. Jesus responded in a remarkable way. “You give them something to eat.” Was this a unreasonable command?
One can only wonder what the disciples thought when Jesus took the loaves and two fish in his hands, facing the multitude.
5. Read Mark 6:41. How do you understand this prayer? Was it the prayer which caused the bread and fish to multiply? Was it a prayer of thanksgiving to the heavenly Father? Or was it perhaps it was to teach the disciples something? What?
6. What do you think God wanted his disciples to learn from his command, “You give them something to eat” and his question, “How many loaves to do you have?”
7. There a few important things presented to us in this paragraph:
- How should we look at those around us who “are like sheep without a shepherd.” (verse 34)
- What is it that people need most? (verse 34 – see also previous study: what is the seed which grows into a harvest?)
- Read Mark 8:11-15. Our task is not to pray for miracles to feed the lost. Our Lord is not a miracle-worker in the fist place. What danger does the asking for miracles harbour?
Jesus (in Mark 8:18) uses a phrase we heard in our previous study, “ … eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear.” They disciples still did “not understand” that Christ would provide in all their needs to fulfil their calling “… that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach.” (Mark 3:14, NIV)
- There will always be more than enough for those who trust the Lord Jesus who is the Lord of the harvest.
“All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:28–29, NIV)
- The work of the church is to faithfully sow the seed and wait for God to provide the harvest – all along He will provide the needs for his church to continue with their mission.