Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #263

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #263
Description
Innocent and had done no violence
Old Testament Prophecy
 Isaiah 53:9b
although he had done no violence,
New Testament Fulfillment
Luke 23:41
And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”
 John 18:38
Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him.

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


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Miracles · Supernatural

Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus #20 – Jesus Walks on Water

After my series on the parables, I found I was drawn to look into the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels. I have never studies the mighty works of Jesus as a focused effort before and am looking forward to finding nuggets of truth that we can be encouraged by.

I have provided a general introduction, with an opportunity to download two files for your reference in my initial post Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus – Introduction. I found that the format I used for the parable posts were useful to keep me on track, and will continue to use them for this series, with some minor tweaks. With that said, let’s take a look at

Jesus Walks on Water

Matthew 14:22-33

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night, he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.”  So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Mark 6:45-52

Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

John 6:16-21

When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

General Observations

Mark says the disciples were to go to Bethsaida? In the feeding of the five thousand, the gospels tell us they were already at Bethsaida. What is going on?

Mark 6:45 states that they were to pass over to Bethsaida, to the other side. This was a point of confusion for myself until I considered a passage in John. You see, John describes their trip as being “across the sea to Capernaum”. So, is Bethsaida located also near Capernaum?

Well, to this day, there is research being performed by archeologists on the exact location of the town of Bethsaida. Even if Bethsaida is successfully located, it was also common in ancient days to have two towns named the same.

A solution to this conundrum may exist in the naming of cities in the ancient world. John describes another Bethsaida in John 12:21, calling it “Bethsaida of Galilee” Could Bethsaida of Galilee be a settlement near Capernaum? If so, this may be the solution.

As an aside, I understand the gospel of Mark to be the gospel Peter oversaw in the writing, and that he gave direction to Mark in the recording of the the life of Jesus. If this is true, consider that Mark did not concern himself with Peter’s walking on the water, or that the Lord rescued him from his sinking.

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

This miracle had a limited audience, in that the only ones who witnessed this incredible happening were the disciples themselves. Mark is specific in stating in Mark 6:49 & 50 that “they saw Him walking on the sea”…”and they all saw Him and were terrified”

This miracle was provided for the disciples and spoke to their relationship with the One walking on water. It is also interesting that all other miracles performed were for the sake of the sick, infirmed or dead. This miracle was “self inflicted”, in that the Lord Himself was the object of the miracle. He did the miraculous, that is, He walked on the water!

When did the Lord perform this mighty work?

Immediately after He fed the five thousand. This is important to remember as we go through this miracle.

See https://www.bibletimelines.net/timelines/jesus-ministry

Where did the Lord perform this mighty work?

See Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus – Introduction for downloadable reference file.

Why did the Lord perform this mighty work?

Mark 6:48 states that the Lord saw His disciples were making headway across the water “painfully”. The Greek word used here to describe the disciples situation is basanizō and has the meaning of a testing, or to question by applying torture, to torment, to vex with grievous pains, or to be harassed or distressed. The disciples were in the middle of a fight for their lives, in the very arena that many thought of themselves as experts – four of them were fishermen, after all.

Matthew 14:24 describes the progress of the disciples as being a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, with the wind against them. He also uses the same word when describing the treatment of the waves on the disciples. They were being tormented by the waves!

Even John, in his abbreviated recounting of this miracle, speaks of the sea becoming rough, with a strong wind blowing.

In all of this torment that the disciples were experiencing, Jesus acts like a Savior, saving His people from a perilous situation. He had work for them and He loved them, and this was a perfect opportunity for a teachable moment. And this moment of teaching occurred by His walking on the water.

You know, I wouldn’t have expected this. As I imagined myself in the boat struggling with surviving a storm I may have never experienced, I would never have thought my deliverance would be through One who simply walked on the very water that was trying to kill me. And on top of that, He walked on water as if He was going to pass them by!

He is truly not like us!

What was the message for the original audience?

In Matthews portrayal, Peter had stepped out on the water but took his eyes off of the Lord, concentrating on his surroundings. He “noticed” the impossibility of his actions, the potential danger surrounding him, and I think that sinking feeling he felt, as his knees, waist (and shoulders?) were going under! The sea had not calmed down yet, and Peter was walking on water in the midst of a terrible storm.

In his sinking, Peter cried out the Jesus in the proper way. “Lord, save me.” Reaching out to Peter, Jesus not only delivered him, but also addressed Peter’s fear by speaking to him of his “little faith”.

In Marks recounting of the miracle, he simply states the disciples were “utterly astounded”. They were beside themselves, completely amazed. Mark doesn’t recount any command from the Lord in stilling the sea. As a matter fact, none of the gospels recount the Lord speaking to the wind or sea as He did in a previous crossing. (See Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus #12 – Jesus Calms a Storm). No command for nature to calm down, to settle down, to quit raging!

But that doesn’t mean He didn’t address a storm. For you see, the topic of overcoming fear is a recurring theme of this miracle. Fear of the storm, fear of a ghost the disciples thought they saw, Peter’s fear of sinking. In the midst of an incredibly fierce storm, Jesus provided relief for His disciples, not by calming the storm on the sea, but by instruction to the disciples to understand who He was.

He told His disciple to not be afraid due to His presence.

Matthew 14:27 …“Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

Mark 6:50 …“Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

John 6:20 ….“It is I; do not be afraid.”

This approach to the miracle helps me to understand the last phrase Mark adds to this miracle.

Mark 6:52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

Their fear was based on not catching the message of the feeding of the five thousand. If Jesus could provide for the five thousand, could He not protect His disciples? Did the disciples still not catch who they were hanging out with? Even after the storm calmed down, the disciples were amazed, utterly astounded, because they didn’t catch the intended message of the feeding of the five thousand.

Matthew closes the description of this miracle with the disciples worshipping Him, claiming He is the Son of God!

What is the message for us today?

If you are a new believer, you will see the Lord come to your aid in many wonderful, exciting and various ways. Many times as a young believer, the Lord performed acts of mercy toward yours truly that were intended to give me understanding of who my Savior is. Too few times, I got the message. I hope I am catching the message better as I mature.

If you are a maturing believer, recount the times when the Lord fed your five thousand, when He proved Himself in your past. Translate that message into whatever situation you find yourself in presently.

There is no guarantee the situation will change, just like the storm didn’t cease immediately for the disciples, yet if we understand who He is, another storm may just quit raging!


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Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #262

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #262
Description
Buried in a rich man’s grave
Old Testament Prophecy
 Isaiah 53:9a
And they made his grave with the wicked
    and with a rich man in his death,
New Testament Fulfillment
Matt 27:57
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus.

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


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Joy · New Testament · Philippians · Unity

Philippian Bits – 1:21

For this series in Philippians, I am going to limit each post to one verse, and hopefully produce a short, succinct read for my friends who follow.

1:21   For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

One of my first memory verses, primarily due to its shortness. Yet it packs a tremendous truth.

Life and death. How does a Christian view death? Is it the enemy? Yes. Yet Jesus conquered the effects of death on our lives. We still have to pass through death’s door, and it is important to realize that the enemy (death) is not to be entered on a whim. It is a great reality!

What are you speaking of Carl?

Consider the Lord’s entrance to the experience of death. He sought the Father’s will, and yet asked for “this cup” to be removed from Him. Death was staring Him in the face, and He sought God’s will above succumbing to the very real presence and fear of death.

Paul was also looking death in the face, and realized that without Christ, He may succumb to fear and shame. Yet His hope was in Christ, who entered death and rose the victor.

Death will come knocking my friend, either through natural causes or other means. Look to the One who has supplied all your needs for the strength and courage to avoid a shameful death.


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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 45 – B

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

In our last post we spoke of the theme of love, of the psalm as depicting a marriage between a King and His bride, and of a battle the King would enter into. Although the first verse did not describe the warfare motif, we do enter into it here.

Let’s read on to get a sense of the direction this psalm takes us

Psalm 45:2-5

You are the most handsome of the sons of men; grace is poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever.
Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one, in your splendor and majesty!
In your majesty ride out victoriously for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; let your right hand teach you awesome deeds!
Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; the peoples fall under you.

The subject of this passage is the superlative subject, the most handsome One, One who exercises gracious speech, One who is blessed forever. He is the stellar, highest example of the created being, and yet is blessed forever. Did you get that? He is described as created yet obtaining eternal blessing. Alone, without the next few verses, an argument for the hypostatic union (that is, the union of God and man in the person of Jesus Christ) could be made. He is a man. He has eternal blessing, implying His eternal existence. Truly we are entering into a very high truth about this King! And we are finding this King to be a gracious One, and that characteristic is worthy of resting on for a moment to consider.

Years back, a preacher challenged me to consider God as not good. A thought exercise that revealed to me some great truths I take for granted.

Gracious Lips

One truth is the gracious words of the Messiah. What if His words were judgmental, condemning and filled with contempt toward His rebelling creation! Could not an argument be made that He has a right for this attitude toward His sinning people? This is the importance of the revelation we are provided, since without it, it would be a logical conclusion, based on our experience, that His speech would be more like ours. How frightful!

Consider any passage in the New Testament, and replace Jesus with yourself. Consider your response to the disciples as they frustrate you. Consider your speech those who constantly wanted something. Consider your reactions to those seeking your destruction, even from the time of birth! Even in His rebukes, He showed restraint, grace, patience and a meekness that is impossible to comprehend. If He exercised the tongue I exercise, bitterness, anger and jealousies would be commonplace.

But He didn’t, since He is a good God, One whose lips have been filled with grace and truth.

Battle Ready

The topic of a battle is entered into in verse 3. The King, described as the most handsome, gracious and blessed, will now enter into battle.

Weapon of War

A sword. The King has girded a sword to His thigh, in preparation for the battle. In Old Testament picture form, this description brings to our imagination a King ready to shed blood, to vanquish his enemies though death and destruction, through subjection by force and brutality. This sword, in the theocracy of Israel, represented dominion over other countries and peoples for the sake of the Kings throne. Yet this picture, even within this Psalm, needs to be reconsidered, for the psalmist will surprise us in the next verse.

Cause of War

The King will ride out victoriously, for a specific cause or reason, and that reason is threefold.

Truth

As we are well aware in our modern society, truth is the first fatality of war, with propaganda used to support the reason for a war, to support the moral of the troops, to keep the nation unified (?) and to justify bloodshed and destruction. This King, in His march to war, is going out to war because of truth, even to spread truth, in response to truth. Truth is the banner this King is basing the war upon.

Meekness

This term is where a hint is dropped that the typical picture of a blood lusting King is not being described. A King that is seeking an expansion of His Kingdom for the purpose of worldly power and riches. This King described is going to battle for the sake of meekness.

Meekness speaks of gentleness, even condescension. How can any king wage war as we know it without a bravado, an elevated ego of self importance, of a “look at me” leadership quality. This description of meekness, or of gentleness, reminds me the true King, the King who is being described over and over again in this Psalm.

Matthew 11:29 is the only self description Jesus provides of His person.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

This battle is not the type of battle I expected as I began reading this Psalm.

Righteousness

Our last characteristic of the cause of this battle or war is righteousness. Righteousness, in my mind is the perfect balancing of all of the characteristics of our God. Even in the Old Testament, love was the dominant, overarching characteristic of our God, for the Old Testament often stated His love for the nation, or in His practice of His patient calling back of the nation.

One psalmist could not repeat the truth of the Lord’s “stedfast love” enough. Psalm 136 repeats this truth every verse, for 26 verses. God’s steadfast love endures forever.

Result of War

A battle field strewn with corpses, blood flowing into waterways, the stench of death permeating the area with columns of smoke rising from the fires. Is this the picture you are seeing in this psalm? Bodies with arrows sticking out of the enemies chest?

Let’s take a hint from the description of why the King is waging war, and consider the One who is leading the battle. It must be obvious by now that the battle is spiritual, that the Gentle King is waging war with His Sword, a sword that cuts into us, into our very being and not simply into our body.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

His arrows are sharp. The weapons Jesus uses to conquer His enemies pierce the heart. No blood is seen in this picture other than the blood of our sacrificial King in drawing us to Him, turning us from enemies to worshippers. Those Jesus is conquering, do fall under Him, but not in death, but as a result of the gift of life, in worshipping Him.

The result of this war is to conquer, but through love and not hatred, though compassion and meekness, not destruction and pride. How different is our Messiah. how utterly beyond our imagination His work toward us.

Let us be different, not for the sake of simply being different, but for the sake of following after our “battling” King!

For He is good, all the time, and His steadfast love endures forever!


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Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #261

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #261
Description
Dies for the sins of the world
Old Testament Prophecy
 Isaiah 53:8d
    stricken for the transgression of my people?
New Testament Fulfillment
1 John 2:2
He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


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Bible · Christian Security · Conditional Security · Doctrinal · Interpretation · OSAS

Conditional Security – Luke 11:24-26

Luke 11:24-26

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

Security

Many of the parables taught by the Lord address the issue of the security of the believer. It is also important to remember that the parables are given to make a specific point.

I remember as a young believer, being told not to make a parable “walk on all four legs” I am not sure what that means now that I think about it, but the message I got back then was to find one primary message from each parable. Some parables are obvious.  Some (possibly due to my obtuseness) are not that obvious.

This one seems obvious. Notice in the passage that the house had been cleaned and garnished, but no occupant was mentioned. Jesus tells this parable immediately upon casting out a demon from a mute man. He is cleaning up the house of Israel, and has just released a demon from one of it’s citizens. Jesus then responds to the evil generation of the house of Israel (See Matthew 12:45) in warning them of their future condition. He will continue to address this “evil generation” many times in the gospels, warning them of their future and final state.

The Lord had just cast out a mute demon from a man and immediately “some of them” (See Luke 11:15) continued with their claim of the Lord being empowered by Satan. Jesus had provided ample evidence to the nation of His identity, yet they turned to a lie. Instead of embracing the God of deliverance, this evil generation condemned a guiltless man, crucified their God, and became a house that was open for demons.

For the previous three years, Jesus had been cleaning the nation (the house of Israel), in this particular instance, rescuing a victim of demon possession, while the leaders condemned the Deliverer. With the final rejection of God in the flesh, the nation should only expect those of the evil horde to return and possess the man (also called the house in this passage, ie. the nation of Israel) with many more than before.

Security and Obedience

Some may say that the nation of Israel had promises from God that made this scenario impossible to occur. Promises directly from God that guaranteed a bright and glorious future for the physical nation of Israel. After all, Israel was the recipient of the promises of God.  Surely God’s promises could be counted on for security. To find a discussion on this topic I refer you to an earlier set of five posts for your consideration. The series starts with Promises to Israel – An Introduction

This passages lends itself to the truth of conditional security, generally teaching that, although many promises were granted to the nation of Israel, their continued stubborn refusal to submit to the Master left them open to “alternate influences” and a final destiny that was warned of often in the Old Testament and many times by the Master while walking amongst them.


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Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #260

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #260
Description
Killed
Old Testament Prophecy
 Isaiah 53:8c
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
New Testament Fulfillment
Matt 27:35
And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots.

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


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Miracles · Supernatural

Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus #19 – Jesus Feeds 5,000

After my series on the parables, I found I was drawn to look into the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels. I have never studies the mighty works of Jesus as a focused effort before and am looking forward to finding nuggets of truth that we can be encouraged by.

I have provided a general introduction, with an opportunity to download two files for your reference in my initial post Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus – Introduction. I found that the format I used for the parable posts were useful to keep me on track, and will continue to use them for this series, with some minor tweaks. With that said, let’s take a look at

Jesus Feeds 5,000

Matthew 14:13-21

Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Mark 6:30-44

The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

Luke 9:10-17

On their return the apostles told him all that they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida. When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing. Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, “Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place.” But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish–unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” And they did so, and had them all sit down. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.

John 6:1-15

After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then 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. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!” Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

General Observations

This miracle is recounted in all of the gospels, and as such we have much to consider as we venture through the texts. The passage speaks of supply in the face of want, of the patience of the Master as He seeks some down time, of the disciples riding high on a recent victory. This passage has it all, and hopefully we can find a small nugget of truth that will give us guidance for the day.

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

Those who witnessed this miracle were those who actively participated in the work, that is the disciples, along with those who passively participated, by consuming food until they were satisfied.

Regarding the number in the crowd, the gospels tell us of five thousand men, along with women and children. Of the number of women and children, some have suggested an equal number of women (as wives) and an even greater number of children, since the assumption is that family units were present. This may be so, and if so, the volume of the audience fed that day could be as high as twenty thousand.

Since this was the time of the festivals, as John 6:4 describes, it may be that the crowd consisted primarily of men, since festival attendance was required of the males only (Deuteronomy 16:16).

No matter the number, whether five thousand or twenty thousand, the audience was huge and this miracle stands out as a well known work of God, that had somewhat surprising results.

When did the Lord perform this mighty work?

See https://www.bibletimelines.net/timelines/jesus-ministry

It is good to remember some of the happenings just prior to this miracle, and the reason Jesus sought solitude. John the Baptist had just been martyred, and this not only reinforced the obvious course of the Messiah’s ministry and life, but indicated a step closer to the inevitable confrontation with the powers that be.

The disciples had also just returned from their first missionary journey with tales of victory, and Jesus may have sought a time of reflection and review with the disciples.

Beyond both of these pivotal occurrences, Mark 6:31 simply states that the Lord sought some relief from the constant “coming and going” of the masses. He simply wanted a break.

Fat chance that was gonna happen!

Where did the Lord perform this mighty work?

See Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus – Introduction for downloadable reference file.

Mark 6:32 speaks of the Master and His disciples heading to a desolate place for rest, while Luke 9:10 speaks of the town called Bethsaida.

Bethsaida is an interesting little town, in that Jesus included it with the town of Chorazin when He condemned the people of the region for their rejection of His ministry.

Matthew 11:21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

It is reported that the town/village of Bethsaida was abandoned in 65 AD due to the advance of the Roman armies. It is no longer a populated area.

Bethsaida is also referenced in John 1:44 as the hometown of Peter Andrew and Philip.

John 1:44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.

Grassy plain of Bethsaida

There is some debate amongst scholars and archeologist as to whether Bethsaida was on the shore of Galilee or approx. 6 miles inland (as the map above indicates). For our purposes in this post, let us understand the miracle occurred outside of the town, on a grassy solitary place.

Why did the Lord perform this mighty work?

As with the last miracle, Jesus saw the great crowd and had compassion on them. They were like sheep without a shepherd. Out of this compassion, the Lord began to teach them many things. (The miracle of the feeding was, humanly speaking, an afterthought.)

Consider the compassion of the Lord, as He recognized them as shepherdless sheep, and that He began to teach, even though He sought solitude. Even as the disciples realized the lateness of the day, and was advising the Lord to “send them away”, He wouldn’t abandon the crowd. Remember – He originally came to this desolate place to find some quiet, and to reconnect with the disciples.

Something else may be going on here that is not explicitly said within the text. The disciples had just returned from a victorious missionary journey. Tasks assigned during this journey included preaching the kingdom of God, healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing lepers, and driving out demons. (see Matthew 10:8). They had just returned from exercising authority over sickness, demons and death!

Could they not feed a few hungry souls?

But alas, the Lord’s patience is present with His people, though we are such slow learners. He took what the disciples provided to Him and multiplied the scraps to feed multitudes. I suppose He was not only teaching the multitudes, but also His disciples by the actions He continually performed in front of them!

He is the Great Teacher!

What was the message for the original audience?

For the crowds, they received a meal from a miracle working preacher, after He taught the crowd of the kingdom of God. I am curious what the Lord taught, but would not be surprised if He didn’t provide instruction on the temporariness of a meal. But that is my imagination running away with the story!

The crowds may have seen the miracle, or they may not have. Over five thousand men would have created a distance that may have restricted many from seeing how this food was provided. Complete conjecture on my part, but one thing is certain, in that when Jesus raised His eyes to heaven and said a blessing, He did so to honor and thank His heavenly Father.

For the disciples, the message was somewhat different. I like what the Lord said in Matthew 14:16

“They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”

I can just imagine the thoughts running through the disciples minds. Just as they recounted their successful missionary journey, they were being challenged to provide food for multitudes. This wasn’t part of the program – Jesus spoke of glamorous healings, and sensational raising’s of the dead. Producing food for irritating crowds had not been in the original instruction from the Lord! What’s worse – after they abdicated their ability to produce the food, (which I fully understand!), they were each assigned the task of a waiter and table cleanup for the masses. This was definitely a drop in status.

Also, it would be so good to hear the inflection of the disciples voice when they brought the loaves and fish to Jesus. Do you suppose the disciples came to the Lord with someone’s lunch, with a hopeless, “what can we do” attitude? I know that is my first response to a seemingly impossible request from the Lord.

Could the message for the disciples be somewhat different than what I first imagined when I approched this miracle? Could it include a realignment for the disciples thinking, an effort to bring them back down to earth, in that they still had so much to learn?

What is the message for us today?

Be prepared to be stretched.

Personally, I have been in a bit of a holding pattern recently, and as you may see, the emphasis of the passage is speaking of being stretched, used and entering new areas of service that may not be comfortable. New ventures that may be at first areas of failure, yet the Lord is ever patient with His people, and His mercy teaches us that He will be there for us as we seek Him. He is the Great Teacher!

Be prepared to learn

And we claim to be the students, the disciples as we Christians call ourselves. To be a disciple is to be a learner, but do you feel you have learned it all, that you are fully instructed in the ways of the Lord, that you are a guide to the blind and teacher of the ignorant?

Hold up a bit my friend, for this type of pride has caused me more harm than good. As a matter of fact, I can’t recall any good that it has provided to anyone!

Be prepared to be corrected, to be reproved, to come down a notch, to wait on tables even though you have recently moved a mountain. Be a good student, and as you seek Him, some humble pie may need to be consumed!


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Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #259

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #259
Description
He would be judged
Old Testament Prophecy
 Isaiah 53:8b
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
    stricken for the transgression of my people?
New Testament Fulfillment
John 18:13-22
First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.

It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.

Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest,

but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in.

The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.”

Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.

The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.

Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret.

Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.”

When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?”

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