He Had Compassion On Them
When John’s disciple came to Jesus, he took them to find a private place to rest. When someone we are close to dies, we feel grief, and it is good for us to take time away. They all went together, but the crowd ran ahead. Jesus in Mark 6:34 “had compassion on them …and he began to teach them”.
Jesus compassion overcame His grief at the loss of John. As it says in Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a high priest who is not able to sympathize with our weaknesses, but who has been tempted in all things in the same way, without sin. Therefore let us approach with confidence to the throne of grace, in order that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need1.
His compassion, “That (human) disposition that fuels acts of kindness and mercy … (that) form of love, (that) is aroused within us when we are confronted with those who suffer or are vulnerable”2.
It was late, and the disciples said, enough, “send them away” and Jesus answered, “you give them to eat”. They had purposely come away to a remote place, there was o provision for this crowd. And, the disciples had planned a time of rest, they didn’t have any provision for others.
How Many Loaves Do You Have?
And, now, in their grief, fatigue from the day, and in the midst of this desolate place, He says, “How many loaves do you have?
Provision begins with what you have. Provision comes when things are in order, Provision arrives when we give thanks and distribute what we have.
Not only were all fed, but each of Jesus disciples had a basket left over for themselves.
The Wind Was Against Them
He still needed time for himself. Jesus sent the disciples on to their next destination, Bethsaida. He dismissed the crowd. And finally found His time away to pray.
Then, in “about the fourth watch of the night,” between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m.”3. Jesus had been praying for maybe six or more hours, and the disciples had been rowing and fighting the wind this whole time. When Jesus walked up to the boat, walking on the water, He said “Have courage”.
And All Those Who Touched it (His Cloak) Were Healed
His fame had spread abroad. The woman with the issue of blood had just touched His cloak and was healed. Everyone had heard about her experience and they were reaching out to touch Him.
Can’t They See the Miracles?
Everywhere Jesus went, people were getting healed. And, the best the Pharisees could say, in Mark 7:5 is “Why do your disciples … eat their bread with unclean hands?” Day after day we read the crowds pressed so could not eat. They were working hard to meet the needs of the people and it was tiring and demanding.
I like Jesus response in Mark 7:9 “You splendidly ignore the commandment of God so that you can keep your tradition” and in Mark 7:13 “making void the word of God”.
Anytime we attach our own ideas to God’s name, anytime we put our own wants on others, we create a barrier between them and God.
Listen to Me
Jesus took the time to get everyone’s attention and said in Mark 7:15 “there is nothing outside of a person that is able to defile him by going in”. He further explained to His disciples in Mark 7:20 “What comes out of a person, that defiles a person”.
It isn’t how clean or washed, or proper you are that God cares about. It is what you think and say and how you behave that matters. Don’t we all know the effect of someones evil plans, deceit, abusive speech, and all the rest on the people around them?
As James 1:27 says, “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: …”
It is Not Right to Take The Children’s Bread
Jesus is still looking for some privacy but He couldn’t escape the eye of the people.
And this woman, a mother desperate for her daughter, would not stop. Jesus responded with His mission, as it says in Mt 15:24 But he answered and* said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”4
Matthew (Mt 15:22) calls her “a woman of Canaan”—a more intelligible description to his Jewish readers (compare Jdg 1:30, 32, 33)5.
And, she knew she was outside of the covenant with Israel but she didn’t stop. For her, healing her daughter was a very small thing for the Son of God. And, Jesus agreed.
He Has Done All Things Well
Jesus is back in the region of the Decapolis. And, there are still people to be healed. For this man, it was a compound problem. He wasn’t hearing right, and he wasn’t able to speak right. Jesus dealt with the hearing first. Now, would you let anyone put their fingers in your ears? How about letting someone spit and then touch your tongue? He let Jesus do this and then Jesus also spoke, in Mark 7:34 , “Be opened”. There is often an action needed for healing to occur. Are we willing to take the action? Remember Naaman in the Old Testament?
And They Did Not Have Anything To Eat
Again, there was a large crowd. Again, Jesus has compassion on them and does not want to sent them away empty. Again, Jesus asks, “How many loaves do you have?”
They bring what they have, they set everyone in order, and they gave thanks and began to break the pieces before setting it before the crowd. And, again, they have baskets left over.
Demanding a Sign From Heaven
The deaf hear, the mute speak, the dead are raised, incurable blood disease is stopped, and thousands are fed. What more sign could you need? The works of God were happening right in front of them.
Even His disciples had trouble here, because He had to remind them of the work done in feeding the thousands. For us, it should be enough for us to have our daily bread and continue doing “the Works of God” as mentioned in John 6:28 fulfilling our part in thew “hidden warfare between God and Satan in which an author believes the stakes are final judgment and salvation (John 3:19–21)”6.
- Mark 6:30-37
- Mark 7:31-37
- Mark 7:14-24
- Mark 8:1-10
- Mark 6:30-56
- Mark 7:1-37
- Mark 8:1-21
- Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Heb 4:15–16). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
- Engelhard, D. H. (1996). Compassion. In Evangelical dictionary of biblical theology (electronic ed., p. 109). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
- Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Mk 6:46–48). Biblical Studies Press.
- Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Mt 15:24). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
- Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 76). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
- Minear, P. S. (1992). Works of God. In D. N. Freedman (Ed.), The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (Vol. 6, p. 972). New York: Doubleday.