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Lesson 11
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I.       Observation

A.     Outline

Feeding Five Thousand (6:30-45)

After the disciples return, Jesus goes to a solitary place with them (30-32)

A crowd is waiting for them; Jesus teaches the crowd (33-34)

The crowd needs to eat (35-37)

Jesus feeds the crowd with five loaves and two fish (38-45)

Walking on Water (6:46-52)

Jesus alone on land (46-47)

Jesus walks past the disciples’ boat, which frightens them (48-49)

Jesus gets into the boat (50-52)

In Gennesaret, People Come to Be Healed (6:53-56)

B.     Key Words/Phrases

Quiet place, rest, compassion, “sheep without a shepherd”, green grass, bread, fish, “straining at the oars”, terrified, amazed, not understand, hearts hardened

II.    Segment Analysis

1. They must have been excited over how much they could do (12-13). The more miracles they performed, the more confident they were in preaching that people should repent. The many people coming and going proved that people needed Jesus’ teaching and power. However, they still did not understand Jesus’ entire message; Mark tells us “their heart was hardened” (52).

2. If verse 31 refers to while the apostles were out preaching, this shows how Jesus cared a lot about their wellbeing. Jesus acted like a loving father, taking them to get some rest after they had worked long and hard.

If it refers to after the disciples had returned to Jesus, it implies that many people were following the apostles. This was the fruit of their labor, to bring many people to the Lord. However, it meant that once again Jesus did not have time to eat (cf. 3:20). He was just like His disciples. He also needed rest.

3b. The Lord loved the people so much that He set aside His own needs to care for them. He was moved with compassion when He saw their desperation. He began to “teach them many things” (This takes much time and effort). Even after teaching the multitudes, He did not send them away (although that was what the disciples wanted Him to do). Instead, He made sure that they were also filled physically.

It can be quite annoying when our rest is interrupted by others’ requests. But we can learn from the Lord’s selfless compassion and great patience. In Him we see an example of genuine and sacrificial love. We ought to also learn to place the needs of others above our own needs.

4d. They did what Jesus commanded (counting the loaves), but they also put in a little more effort and ingenuity. They did not insist that Jesus use the fish. They only showed Jesus what else they found, and let the Lord decide.

5. When we pray to God for help, often we have our own ideas on how to solve the problem. Sometimes God’s reply is unexpected, even unreasonable. His solution does not seem to help us at all. But Jesus tells us to “go and see” (38) what and how much we have. That’s how we show our faith. We put in everything we have, however little. Jesus puts in the rest. His power is made perfect in our weakness (2Cor 12:9). This principle is true for solving our earthly problems and for working out our salvation (Php 2:12).

6. Mark compares the crowd to sheep resting on green grass (Ps 23:2). Jesus taught them many things (34) to guide them in paths of righteousness (Ps 23:3). He fed them when they were hungry. Jesus the good shepherd took care of their every need, and they were content. Little did they know that Jesus would give up His life for them.

7. Jesus stayed behind to dismiss the crowd. Before sending them away, He made sure they got what they needed (the people were satisfied and did not chase after Him again). Follow-up is important. The church must satisfy a person’s spiritual needs first and physical needs second. We can not ignore a person after he or she is baptized. At some point, everyone needs some words of concern and encouragement, no matter how long we have believed in Jesus Christ.

A servant stays behind after everyone has left. There are many testimonies of church members who stay after service or come during off-hours to clean up the church premise.

8a. From the account in John, we understand that the crowd, having witnessed such a great miracle, intended to make Jesus king by force. This was a temptation for Jesus and the disciples. Jesus was able to discern the spiritual danger, but the disciples, who lusted for power and greatness, would easily fall for such a trap. In fact, the fact that Jesus had to “make” them get into the boat suggests that they were already basking in the crowd’s adulation.

8b. As soon as we have completed some works of service, we need to withdraw from people’s admiration and praises. This is especially necessary when God has just manifested His great power through us. Resist the temptation of enjoying popularity as a result of our service and quickly find time to be with God alone to prepare for the next task that God has in store for you.

9. After supper, Jesus had sent the disciples to Bethsaida. “When evening came” (47), He saw them straining at rowing (it’s amazing that Jesus saw them in the middle of the lake while He was still on land). Jesus waited a while longer, until at least 3:00 A.M. (cf. Did You Know 8), before going out to them. It was quite a few hours, depending on how long Jesus had been praying on the mountainside.

11. Jesus calmly walked on water through the strong wind. Also, the wind died down without Jesus’ rebuke. If the storm was again the devil’s work, it seems to have weakened compared to the last time. Although the disciples were straining against the wind, they were no longer terrified of the storm. However, their superstition overshadowed their faith in Jesus; they were terrified when they mistook Jesus for a ghost.

12. The disciples did not recognize that the miracle of the loaves was unlike any of the previous miracles. Jesus repeatedly confirmed his divine nature through His teachings and miracles, but their hearts were hardened. They had not “considered” (KJV) nor “understood” (NKJV). They were surprised that Jesus could walk on water, as if it was the first time Jesus did something beyond their imagination. Their fear and amazement is similar to that of the women who could not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead (cf. 16:5, 8).

To be “awed” and to be “surprised” are quite different reactions. We limited human beings will never cease to be awed by what God can do. However, if we are ever surprised, that means we have underestimated His power. Nothing is too difficult or marvelous for the Almighty God (Gen 18:13-14; Jer 32:27; Zech 8:6).

13. The people of Gennesaret recognized that Jesus was their Savior. They “ran” (55) and “begged” (56) Jesus to help them. They followed Jesus wherever He went. Because of their faith, “as many as touched him were made well” (56). In contrast, the Nazarenes treated Jesus with contempt and even tried to throw Him down a cliff (cf. Lk 4:29).

14. Like the men who carried a paralytic on a mat (2:3), the people of Gennesaret also overcame physical inconveniences and carried the sick on mats to Jesus (6:55). Like the woman who suffered from bleeding (5:28), they also believed that they would be healed just by touching Jesus’ cloak (6:56).

The people of Gennesaret might have been following the examples of others who have been healed by Jesus. Whether from testimonies or from Bible stories, we learn from other people’s experience and teachings (Heb 6:12; 13:7). We see how they received God’s grace and follow their examples. And when we experience God’s grace (Jn 4:42), we will have our own experience to share with others.

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