Jesus feeds four thousand people. The Pharisees demand a miraculous sign. Beware hypocrisy. Peter says Jesus is the Christ. Jesus predicts his own resurrection.
VERSE 1. In those days, when there was a very great multitude, and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to himself, and said to them,
VERSE 2. “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have stayed with me now three days, and have nothing to eat.
I have compassion. Jesus has exceptional compassion. And so should we Christians. However, in our day, Christians are often noted for anger. They often rage out against human rights for women, against human rights for homosexuals, against benefits for poor people, against the so-called “War on Christmas,” and much more.
on the multitude. In case there is any confusion, the compassion of Jesus Christ is for the multitude. It is not for billionaires. It is for the multitude.
VERSE 3. If I send them away fasting to their home, they will faint on the way, for some of them have come a long way.”
VERSE 4. His disciples answered him, “From where could one satisfy these people with bread here in a deserted place?”
VERSE 5. He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.”
VERSE 6. He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves. Having given thanks, he broke them, and gave them to his disciples to serve, and they served the multitude.
VERSE 7. They had a few small fish. Having blessed them, he said to serve these also.
VERSE 8. They ate, and were filled. They took up seven baskets of broken pieces that were left over.
about four thousand. In this narrative, there are about 4,000 people. In a different narrative, there are about 5,000. There is a difference of 1,000 people.
Some people notice that difference and assert that the Bible is just made-up stories that conflict with each other. However, there is an interpretation that is much simpler and far more likely. It is this: there were at least two separate feeding events.
VERSE 10. Immediately he entered into the boat with his disciples, and came into the region of Dalmanutha.
VERSE 11. The Pharisees came out and began to question him, seeking from him a sign from heaven, and testing him.
began to question him. The Pharisees were trying to start an argument. In our day, there are lots of Christians like that. They lure people into an argument with them.
Here is some solid advice from Saint Paul about how to handle argumentative people:
2 Timothy 2:23. But refuse foolish and ignorant questionings, knowing that they generate strife.
VERSE 12. He sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Most certainly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.”
VERSE 13. He left them, and again entering into the boat, departed to the other side.
VERSE 14. They forgot to take bread; and they didn’t have more than one loaf in the boat with them.
VERSE 15. He warned them, saying, “Take heed: beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.”
the yeast of the Pharisees. That is, hypocrisy. The Pharisees were hypocrites.
the yeast of Herod. That is, hypocrisy. Herod was a hypocrite.
VERSE 16. They reasoned with one another, saying, “It’s because we have no bread.”
VERSE 17. Jesus, perceiving it, said to them, “Why do you reason that it’s because you have no bread? Don’t you perceive yet, neither understand? Is your heart still hardened?
VERSE 18. Having eyes, don’t you see? Having ears, don’t you hear? Don’t you remember?
VERSE 19. When I broke the five loaves among the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They told him, “Twelve.”
VERSE 20. “When the seven loaves fed the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They told him, “Seven.”
VERSE 21. He asked them, “Don’t you understand yet?”
VERSE 22. He came to Bethsaida. They brought a blind man to him, and begged him to touch him.
VERSE 23. He took hold of the blind man by the hand, and brought him out of the village. When he had spat on his eyes, and laid his hands on him, he asked him if he saw anything.
VERSE 24. He looked up, and said, “I see men; for I see them like trees walking.”
VERSE 25. Then again he laid his hands on his eyes. He looked intently, and was restored, and saw everyone clearly.
again he laid his hands on his eyes. It took Jesus two “attempts” to heal the blind man in Bethsaida.
Not all miraculous cures are instantaneous. Some might take two attempts. Others might be of an even more gradual nature.
VERSE 26. He sent him away to his house, saying, “Don’t enter into the village, nor tell anyone in the village.”
VERSE 27. Jesus went out, with his disciples, into the villages of Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?”
VERSE 28. They told him, “John the Baptizer, and others say Elijah, but others: one of the prophets.”
You are the Christ. The Greek word is Χριστός (“Christos”). It means Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ.
It means deliverer. Most people imagined the Messiah would deliver them from the evil Roman Empire.
In our day, we Christians equate the word “Christ” with divinity. However, in biblical usage, the word “Christ” does not necessarily imply divinity.
tell no one about him. Some people take this to mean that they should never speak about Jesus Christ. However, that is not the case.
At this moment in the narrative, Jesus needed to keep his true identity a secret. Otherwise, the crowds of people would have seized him to make him their king. That was not his mission. So he needed to withhold his identiy from them.
Later, the time for secrecy would come to a close. His followers would never stop announcing Jesus Christ to the world.
VERSE 31. He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
the Son of Man must. What was the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ? How did he himself define it? Here are the verses we find in the four gospels.
VERSE 32. He spoke to them openly. Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.
VERSE 33. But he, turning around, and seeing his disciples, rebuked Peter, and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you have in mind not the things of God, but the things of men.”
VERSE 34. He called the multitude to himself with his disciples, and said to them, “Whoever wants to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
take up. The Greek word is ἀράτω (“aratō”). It means raise, lift up, take away, remove.
his cross. The Greek word is σταυρὸν (“stauron”). It means an upright stake, a cross.
take up his cross, and follow me. We can paraphrase it like this:
Remove the stake that is tethering you down. Pull it up so you can follow me.
VERSE 35. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; and whoever will lose his life for my sake and the sake of the Good News will save it.
Job 35:3. That you ask, ‘What advantage will it be to you? What profit shall I have, more than if I had sinned?’
VERSE 37. For what will a man give in exchange for his life?
VERSE 38. For whoever will be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also will be ashamed of him, when he comes in his Father’s glory, with the holy angels.”
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.