Mark 6: 30-44 The Bread of Life
Mark 6:30 – 44 30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” 32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”
37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.” They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.” When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”
39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.
The disciples are just getting back from their travels and want to tell Jesus all about it. They had probably had a lot of rejection and were in need of some R&R with Jesus and He wants to talk to them too. But as usual the crowds wouldn’t leave them alone.
They got in a boat to go from Capernaum to Bethsaida about four miles east. The people could see them sailing along the shore and recognized them, so figured out where they must be going and ran ahead to get there! It was eight miles by land so they must have been running really fast to beat the boat!
The story says 5000 men, so with women and children there were probably 20,000 people running!
Jesus wanted time with His disciples, but He had compassion for the crowd. He knew they were needy. Only people who are needy hunger for Christ. Hunger arises from a lack of satisfaction. The disciples hungered for Jesus Himself though while the crowd hungered for what He could do for them.
Psalm 63:1 You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
When you totally yearn for Christ Psalm 63:5 is your promise:
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
If you are hungry for Christ you will never miss an opportunity to commune with Him. The world never satisfies us – for long!
We know from the Matthew and Luke accounts of this story that Jesus was teaching and healing for hours. So now, in verse 38, it’s gotten late. The disciples want to send them away. In the John account we see it’s Philip who goes to tell Jesus this idea.
Jesus tells the disciples to feed them. And asked, “How many loaves do you have?”
5 loaves and 2 fish. That’s all they came up with! Jesus sat the people down in groups of 50s and 100s. He blessed the food and broke the loaves. As they passed it out from the basket, it never lessened! Jesus was miraculously multiplying the food as it was being passed out. Jesus performed the miracle to show His ability to provide for everyone. And the Bible said they all ate until they were satisfied.
The lesson to the miracle is the Lord Jesus satisfies. He is the only one who can spiritually satisfy. He is the bread of life. This is the 1st miracle in Mark that is repeated in all of the Gospels. In John, after the miracle is a confrontation with the crowd. The crowd follows them back to Capernaum and Jesus says to them in John 6:26 “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.”
And in John 6:32-35 32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."
They wanted more free meals. They had the bread of LIFE in their midst and they were worried about their next meal. We will never want for anything when we come to Him. Christ plus nothing. He’s ALL we need!