2019-12-15 – Mark 6.30-44 – Feast in the Desert
Bible Text: Mark 6:30-44 | Preacher: Pastor Jerry Higdon | Series: Mark | 2019-12-15 – Mark 6.30-44 – Feast in the Desert
(Holiday Cheer – Be the blessing, Caroling, Youth Lock-in)
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.
We have been going through the book of Mark, and last week we talked bout how John the Baptist was persecuted. We also talked about the missionaries around the world that are persecuted for the cause of Christ. We should all continue to lift them up in prayer and support, and I appreciate your offerings last week in that regard. Today we are going to read about a Feast in the Desert. How Jesus provided for the people under His care, and He still provides for us even today.
Please turn in your Bibles to Mark 6.30, pew Bibles pg. 893 in God’s Inspired, Infallible and Living Word, but let us first start with Prayer.
Have you ever been so captivated with what was going on, so much to the point that you forgot even to provide for yourself or your family with food and drink? Then you find yourself all of a sudden wondering how and where you will get satisfied in that regard? Not a good position to be in for sure. Today in America we are so blessed that we have food and provisions available at most stops along the highway even. Not so in many places around the world, and that can be a highly stressful situation as you can imagine indeed. That what we are going to see unfold today in scripture. The title of today’s message is Feast in the Desert.
I remember being in the desert while serving in the military around the world, and there just wasn’t a 7/11 or Dollar General anywhere in sight. What a scary proposition, indeed, LoL. Read with me now, starting at verse 30, Mark wrote:
30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all that they had done and taught. 31 He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.” For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. 32 So they went away in the boat by themselves to a remote place, 33 but many saw them leaving and recognized them, and they ran on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore, he saw a large crowd and had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Then he began to teach them many things.
35 When it grew late, his disciples approached him and said, “This place is deserted, and it is already late. 36 Send them away so that they can go into the surrounding countryside and villages to buy themselves something to eat.” 37 “You give them something to eat,” he responded. They said to him, “Should we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?” 38 He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” When they found out they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he instructed 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 He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed and broke the loaves. He kept giving them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 Everyone ate and was satisfied. 43 They picked up twelve baskets full of pieces of bread and fish. 44 Now those who had eaten the loaves were five thousand men.
All four of the Gospels describe this miraculous event. It is believed that Mark’s Gospel version was used as a starter for Matthew and Luke’s Gospel books, but John’s rendition of this event has several other details and I would like to use that rendition as the main text of our lesson today. So now please turn with me to John chapter 6, page 946 in the pew bibles, starting at verse 1.
1After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. 2 A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. 3 Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples.
I wonder what would it have been like to be there with Jesus that day? It must have been amazing to see Jesus do the many miracles that He did at the start of His ministry. Our verses this morning refers to there being a “Large crowd” and later tells us there were 5,000 men. So let’s do some estimating.. With 5,000 men, we could suppose that maybe there was and additional one women and perhaps one or two children per couple. That would equate to being between 15,000 to 20,000 people around Jesus and the disciples that day. That is a very large crowd I would argue. According to the latest census, that’s about half the size of the city of Moline. More than two-times what could fit in the I-Wireless center. That’s a lot of people that Jesus gathered that day. How would you like to be greeted by a crowd like that?
According of Marks gospel, He paints the initial intent surrounding this event that Jesus and His disciples were trying to get away for a while to get some rest and peace. But found themselves in even more of a congested circumstance than even what they started with in the first place. Although not the main point today, Jesus demonstrates that it is important for us sometimes to seek that quiet place where we can find some rest and regain our peace and sanity. 23rd Psalm says He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. We all need to get away sometimes, AMEN? Verse 5 continues:
4 Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. 5 When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. 7 Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.
Again, Jesus was looking at the 20,000 or so people and He had compassion for them. He saw that they were getting hungry. I don’t know about you, but even after I miss one meal, my stomach starts singing to me.. I imagine with that many hungry bellies, by this time they might be singing in harmony like a choir J The Apostles Philip, Andrew and Peter were all originally from the village of Bethsaida, which is on the shores of the north end of the Sea of Galilee, and not too far from where this feeding miracle occurred.
Jesus asks Philip a simple question, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” I find it interesting that many times in the Bible, Father God or Jesus asks questions that they already know the answers for. Here Jesus asked Philip, who had been with Him from the start; who saw Jesus perform many miracles by now.. Philip, who probably knew many of the people in the crowd.. Jesus asked Philip.. so Philip would have the opportunity to exercise his faith and perhaps become stronger as a result. Sometimes, as our loving Father, God allows us to go through situations so that we will have the opportunity to exercise our faith as well. And in doing so, we might also become stronger in our faith as a result, and thus be better prepared for what yet lies ahead.
Question: How is God stretching you?.. so like Phillip, you too might have the opportunity to exercise your faith as well?, hmmm
”8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him,9 “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” 10 Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all.
It didn’t add up for the Apostles, did it.. Jesus was about to show again that He can do anything.. Jesus’ math is not our math. How might Five barley loaves and Two fish.. feed 15,000-20,000 people.. SHOW THE BREAD… SMELL
How much food did Jesus actually create, you might ask? Short answer: An amazing amount. Let’s do some estimating focusing only on the bread:
If each person eats about 1/3 of a loaf of bread.
15,000 people X 1/3 loaf per person = 5,000 loaves.
That is a lot of bread. Could you imagine 5,000 loaves of bread? I did some research and found it would fill up about 1.2 big semi-truck trailers. And that just the bread. All together we are talking about 2-3 Semi-Truck trailers of food. This is an amazing feet indeed. Truly Jesus is JEHOVAH JIREH, which means Provider.
11 Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.
So before He distributed the food, before they ate the food.. Jesus gave Thanks.. He gave a public thanksgiving prayer to Father God for the food, revealing the importance to the people that day, and now to us, of acknowledging God who provides everything, and from whom all blessing come. Make no mistake, Thanksgiving is a primary ingredient in receiving blessings from God, and it is something we should all humbly exercise I would argue, whether in private or in public, just as Jesus modeled for us in these verses. Do you Give thanks for your meals? Do you take time to recognize Father God as Jesus aptly demonstrated for us in these verses? We shouldn’t be ashamed to pray, especially in public. Matthew 10:32 says, “everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven”.
We should all take the time to honor God in prayer, Amen?
It is noteworthy that Jesus, as written in (Mark 6:41) “gave it first to his disciples to distribute to the people”. In this way, the disciples also demonstrated their dependence upon the Lord for their supply. God still uses people and the church the same way today. God Provides us with His blessings and we are to subsequently distribute the blessings and share with others. It is called Benevolence: an act of kindness or a generous gift. I feel this is instrumental to our fundamental church health even. I believe that if we become too introverted in our service offerings in church, we will subsequently then lose our purpose.
12 When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets.
Interesting to know the number twelve is a biblically symbolic number. There were twelve tribes of Israel in the Old Testament, and twelve disciples/apostles of the New Testament. According to the Book of Revelation, the kingdom of God has 12 gates guarded by 12 angels, and there will be 144,000 servants of God, which is the sum of 12 x 12,000. The number 12 is displayed in many other contexts, such as the 12 months of the year for instance. Numerology is a very interesting subject indeed. In the context of our verses today, there were 12 Apostles, and each effectively now had a basket of food to carry with them. That is a lot of leftovers, especially knowing that it all came from just five loaves and two fish.
There’s a Song by the Gathers that says, “Little is much when God is in it! Labor not for wealth or fame; There’s a crown, and you can win it, If you go in Jesus’ name.
“Little is much when God is in it.” That little boys offering turned into a Feast in the Desert. Likewise, when Christians are willing to offer their provisions and their lives sacrificially, relinquishing their hold on whatever God has given them in terms of time, money, talents, etc., God will use these ordinary things to create extraordinary things. Christians must never believe their resources are too little to serve God. God delights in taking the humble, the seemingly insignificant and using it for His glory in big ways. When the author wrote in these verses that they were “satisfied” here, that means they were filled-up. And take note also, there was no waist. We must always take care that we make no waste of God’s good provision, Amen?
14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
The people acknowledged Jesus was a miracle worker and a prophet.. All religions around the world recognize Jesus Christ as a great prophet.. But that doesn’t mean they yet believe that He is the Messiah and Savior. And there is a huge difference in that understanding and with eternal implications..
Paul writes about the Jews later in Romans 1:21, “although they knew God, they did not glorify [Jesus] as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened”.
So sad it was then, and so sad that we see the same situation in our world today.
If you read the Bible and believe the Bible, then you know that our God is a miracle-working God. And God is not limited in any degree to our understanding or acceptance. He is totally sovereign. I wholeheartedly believe in miracles as written in scripture then and even now, but I trust so much more in my Savior Jesus. Put your faith and your trust only in the Lord Jesus Christ, and to that I promise you will never regret it.
Now there are two things I want you to take home with you today…
#1: There Is No Person Too Small For Jesus To Use
When Jesus solves problems, He most always chooses to use people. Jesus chose to use Philip, Andrew and the disciples that day to feed the masses, and He wants to use you in His ministry here as well. Andrew said, “There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes”. Here was a little lad who had a little lunch. It was meager in quantity and quality, but with it, the Lord Jesus blessed and fed the multitude. Jesus is still blessing and feeding you and me today some two-thousand years later. God specializes in doing extraordinary things with ordinary people, like the Disciples and this little boy. I love what dear Pastor Adrian Rogers once said “You may be too big for God to use, but you’ll never be too small for God to use!”
Do you think this little lad went away hungry? I bet not. He gave and it was given back in abundance. You cannot “out-give” God. Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.” God is not asking you to give what you don’t have, He’s asking you to give what you do have. And He wants us to consider giving in a way the exercises trust, compassion and even cheerfulness.
#2: There Is No Problem Too Big For Jesus To Solve
There was a monumental problem that day — 5,000 hungry men, along with women and children, and hardly a bite of food! That was a problem indeed, but Jesus solved it..
You too right now may have a very serious problem or challenge yourself. Not to take it lightly but think about a problem for a minute.. Take that problem and double it. Now, double it again. Now, I want to ask you a question. Do you think it too big for God to handle? Of course not. He is the Lord, the Creator of Heaven and Earth. Give your Problems to God.
Genesis 18:14 asks, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” NO..
There is no problem too big for Jesus to solve. Do you believe that? I hope you do. God cares and knows what’s going on in your life. He knows everything..
We are now preparing for Christmas time, and although it can be “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, it can be also some of the most stressful.
God doesn’t want that for you. Like Jesus gave thanks in the middle of that life challenge, we should be doing likewise. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.
Would you please stand and pray with me now.