Lesson 201-October 20, 2019
Lesson: “Bread and Fish for the Gentiles??”
Scripture: Mark 8:1-10; Matthew 15:32-39
Lesson Goal: To see, understand, and remember the Lord’s provision and care for all people.
Introduction: Please read today’s lesson text in its entirety. After reading the entire text, please focus on Matthew 15:33 and Mark 8:4. What question did Jesus’ disciples ask of Him in these verses?
Does this question seem a bit strange or inappropriate to us? Why?
Perhaps we are unaware but the disciples’ question helps us to see again the hand of God as He continues to swing the door of the gospel open to all people.
“While in the Decapolis area, Christ no doubt used the time profitably ministering to the Twelve. But during these days a large crowd came to Jesus, perhaps because those who had witnessed the healing of the deaf and dumb man had not heeded His injunction to remain silent. The crowd continued with Christ, intent on listening to His teaching. So intent were they that they remained with Him for three days without eating. Christ’s heart was filled with compassion for the multitude. He knew that if He sent them away without satisfying their physical hunger, they would collapse in their weakness because some had come a great distance to hear His words. The Twelve recognized the impossibility of acquiring food in the region to feed so many people. It evidently did not occur to them that Christ on this occasion could or would repeat the miracle situation. The reasons seem to be that : The multitude in the present case we my conceive to have been collected Gentile; the multitude in the former case was apparently from Capernaum and its vicinity and probably mainly Jewish.”
Question: How could the disciples’ question have been influenced by their preconceived notions concerning Gentiles?
Mark 8:1: In those days, the multitude being very great and having nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples to Him and said to them,“In those days”, just simply picks up the narrative from the end of chapter 7. Word no doubt had spread concerning Jesus’ presence in this region along with the fact of the healing of the deaf man. Matthew tells us that great multitudes came to Jesus consisting of “the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others and they laid them at Jesus feet, and He healed them” (Matthew 15:30). Matthew offers the details that “the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made hole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing, and they glorified the God of Israel (Matthew 15:31).
(vv1b-2) Jesus called His disciples and said to them, I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat.
responds to their physical need of nourishment. Some have traveled great distances and physically could not make it home without nourishment. Jesus saw their need.
Question: What did it mean for the people in our text that Jesus saw their need?
Question: Do you believe Jesus sees and knows your need today?
Question: What is the need of your life today? What is the need of your life that causes you great concern, that you are constantly giving thought to?
Question: Can Jesus meet the need of your life today?
(v4) Then His disciples answered Him, how can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness?
Question: How does Jesus use these moments to teach His disciples?
Question: Does God provide us (followers of Jesus) with teachable moments?
Question: Are we (followers of Jesus) sensitive to God’s teaching moments in our lives? Can you remember one of those teaching moments?
Before we rebuke and scold the disciples too harshly for what we perceive as doubt or lack of faith, or certainly a lack of wisdom, let us first honestly examine our own lives.
Question: How often do we forget the Lord’s mercies in our own lives?
Question: How many times has God moved in power in our own lives only to be forgotten with the passing of time? How many times has God shown up, right on His time in our lives to minister to us only for us to find ourselves questioning Him when we face our next battle or struggle?
Question: How can we be blessed today as we face life’s struggles by remembering God’s provision in the past?
(vv5-7) He asked them “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “seven”. 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. They also had a few small fish, and having blessed them, He said to set them also before them.”
Jesus takes that which is available and uses it for His glory!
That which is available He blesses and uses it!
(vv8-10) So they ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets of leftover fragments. Now those who had eaten were about four thousand. And He sent them away, immediately got into the boat with the disciples and came to the region of Dalmanutha.
No one went away hungry. Matthew tells us (15:38) that in the multitude were “4000 men besides women and children.” They ate and were filed. After everyone ate, seven baskets full of the fragments were collected.
An interesting point is found in the word “baskets”. Unlike the previous feeding of the multitudes where twelve baskets of leftovers were collected, the term “basket” referring to the twelve baskets in the Greek is “kophinos” meaning “a wicker basket in which a traveling Jew would have kept his food.” But on this occasion the seven “baskets” the word baskets being the Greek word “spuris”, which signifies a large platted and woven basket. “Luke used ‘surpuris’ to refer to the kind of basket in which the Christians of Damascus lowered Paul down over the wall (Acts 9;25). Phillips
Jesus chided the disciples later because of their lack of faith (see Matthew 16:9-10). Jesus used the words “kophinos” in reference to the baskets of the five loaves and five thousand and “spuris” in reference to the seven loaves and four thousand.
How big is your faith basket?