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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: F.E. Marsh :: Readings 101-150 (Countenance - For)

F.E. Marsh :: 141. Feeding the Five Thousand

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MARK 6:30-44

CHRIST is the Pivot of Scripture. Take Christ away from the Scripture, and everything falls into confusion. See Christ in the Scripture, and the Key is found to unlock every difficulty, and solve every problem.

  1. Gathered to Jesus. “The Apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus” (Mark 6:30). As Abraham came back to Bethel (The House of God, Gen. 13:3), and as Israel returned to Gilgal (The rolling away, Josh. 5:9), the place where the reproach of Egypt was rolled from them, after their battles with their enemies (Josh. 10:43), so the Apostles gathered to Christ. They could not leave Him (John 6:68). He was the centre and circumference of their being.
  2. Speaking with Jesus. “Told Him” (Mark 6:30). To have the ear of Jesus to listen to our words, is to have the hand of Jesus to bless us in our work. Prayer is the key to open the storehouse of blessing (Matt. 15:25-28), the eye salve to open the eyes (2 Kings 6:17), the harbinger of peace (Phil. 4:6-7), the swift messenger in temptation (Eph. 6:18), the encourager in persecution (Neh. 4:9), the dynamo for power (Acts 4:31-33), and the succourer of others (Acts 12:5).
  3. Invited by Jesus. “He said: Come,” &c. (Mark 6:31). The disciples were so busy that they had neither time to eat, nor leisure to commune with Christ. It is possible to be occupied with work for Christ, and lose sight of the Christ of the work. There should be the activity of Martha without her anxiety, blended with the attention of Mary and her restfulness; but the Mary character must precede the Martha. We must go inside the veil to worship, before we go outside the camp to work.
  4. Running after Jesus (Mark 6:33). The people were determined not to lose sight of Christ. So anxious were they to see and hear Him, that they “ran” after Him. O that every Christian was as desirous to keep Christ in view! Let the prayer of the bride be ours, namely, “Draw me, we will run after Thee” (Sgs 1:4). If we are drawn we shall draw someone else, as is indicated in the change of the singular pronoun “me” to the plural “we.”
  5. Compassion of Jesus (Mark 6:34). Christ has the compassion of a Shepherd to find (Matt. 9:36); the compassion of a Provider to supply (Matt. 15:32); the compassion of a Healer to give sight (Matt. 20:34); the compassion of a Cleanser to cleanse (Mark 1:41); the compassion of Power to deliver (Mark 5:19); the compassion of a Deliverer to emancipate (Mark 9:22, 25); the compassion of a Comforter to console (Luke 7:13); the compassion of a Father to love (Luke 15:20); and the compassion of God to bless. Note the five times God is said to be “full of compassion” in Psalms 78:38; 86:15; 111:4; 112:4; 145:8.
  6. Instruction from Jesus. “He began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:34). We are not told what the “many things” were that Jesus taught the people. Doubtless He would teach them what they were, namely, sheep without a shepherd (Isa. 53:6); and what He was, viz., the Good Shepherd seeking the wandering sheep (Luke 15).
  7. Directed by Jesus (Mark 6:37). The Lord Jesus bids His disciples to give the multitude to eat. In like manner believers now are bidden to care for the hungry (Heb. 13:16), and, above all, to supply famishing beings with the Gospel of the Bread of Life.
  8. Questioned by Jesus. “How many loaves have ye?” The Lord asks for what the disciples have got, and uses what they have to accomplish His purpose. “What is that in thine hand?” (Ex. 4:2) was the question that the Lord put to Moses, and through that rod God did wondrous things. In like manner, if we only place ourselves and what we have at the disposal of the Lord, He can multiply and use them to His glory and others’ good.
  9. Commanded by Jesus. “He commanded them to make all sit down” (Mark 6:39-40). There must be quiet and order before Christ can meet the need of the people. In like manner there must be quietness before the Lord (Psalm 62:1, margin), and a willingness to receive from the Lord (John 1:12), before there can be satisfaction in the Lord (Psalm 16:2, R.V.).
  10. Look of Jesus. “He looked up to heaven” (Mark 6:41). That look of faith expresses His absolute dependence on His Father. What an Example for us! If we look to heaven before our actions, we shall be guided as to our actions, and in them.
  11. Blessing of Jesus (Mark 6:41). The blessing of Jesus made the bread to multiply to the satisfying of the need of the people. Verily the blessing of the Lord maketh rich (Proverbs 10:22). The blessing of His grace will make us rich unto salvation (Eph. 2:6-8); the blessing of His sanctification will make us holy in life (1 Cor. 1:30); the blessing of His strength will make us strong to endure in the time of trial (2 Cor. 12:9); and the blessing of Himself will meet every need (Col. 2:10).
  12. Action of Jesus (Mark 6:41). Jesus “brake” the bread before He gave. In like manner His body was broken and bruised in death for us, before the blessing of His grace came to us.
  13. Gift of Jesus (Mark 6:41). As Christ gave the bread to the disciples to give to the multitude, so the Word of the Gospel is committed to believers to give to the unsaved (2 Cor. 5:19-20).
  14. Divided by Jesus. “Divided He among them all” (Mark 6:41). The Lord saw that everyone got his portion. He overlooked none. He acts in the same way now. His desire is to bless, “whosoever” (John 3:16) “any man” (John 10:9).

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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