Mark 6:31-44

Sunday Morning Bible Study

December 5, 2004

:30-32 Getting away to rest

Earlier in the chapter (Mark 6:7-13) Jesus had sent His twelve disciples out by twos on their first mission trip. They went out and preached that men should repent. They cast out demons. They anointed sick people with oil and they were healed.

Based on Matthew’s account (Mat. 14:12-13), it seems that while the disciples were out on this first trip, John the Baptist had been executed by Herod. Perhaps the event of John’s death might have even brought their trip to a sudden close.

:31 Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while

desert place - eremos - solitary, lonely, desolate, uninhabited



Sometimes we can drive ourselves into a frenzy thinking that there’s something unspiritual about taking a day off or spending an evening with the family.
Jesus is telling the guys to take a break.
Things have been so busy they weren’t even able to sit down and enjoy a meal together.
When God created the world, He created everything in six days and on the seventh day He rested.
He didn’t rest because He was tired. He rested to give us an example so we would learn to take time to rest as well.
A newspaper writer, after working for 7 long years, was finally granted two months of leave, during which time he would be fully paid. However, he turned down his boss’ kind offer. The boss asked him why? The newspaper writer said there are 2 reasons. “The first,” he said “is that I thought by taking such a long leave it might affect the newspaper’s circulation.” The boss asked him what is the other reason. “The other reason,” replied the writer, “is that it might not affect the newspaper’s circulation.”
It’s okay to rest.  God can take care all those people who need you.
It’s okay to get away from the pressing needs.
It’s even okay to get a break from ministry every once in a while.
Keep in mind that they’re not going to actually get the break they’re expecting to.

:32 And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.

Luke identifies the place as being near the city of Bethsaida Julias, located on the northeastern corner of the Sea of Galilee (Luke 9:10).

:33 …and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities…

Capernaum is at the northwestern end of the Sea of Galilee.  It’s only about six miles wide so you can see all the way across the lake.  It wouldn’t be hard for the people to get an idea where they were going.  So they ran along the shore, perhaps even gathering people as they went as they might have passed through the towns of Korazin and Bethsaida Julias.  Keep in mind that the disciples have all just finished their own preaching tours and so the combined crowds may have been big to begin with.  By the time Jesus and His group land, there’s quite a crowd waiting for them.

So here’s Jesus and His disciples, all worn out, needing to get away from the people, and the people get to their quiet retreat spot before them and are sitting them waiting for them when they arrive.

:34 And Jesus…was moved with compassion toward them…

moved with compassionsplagchnizomai – to be moved as to one’s bowels; the bowels were thought to be were love and pity came from, so  this is why we translate this “moved with compassion”.

I may not be very nice in saying this, but if I were one of the disciples, I wouldn’t be moved with compassion, I’d be pretty ticked off at the crowds of people.  Here Jesus has offered to take the fellows away from the hectic life of ministry and give them a chance to rest, but when they get there they are faced with more crowds!

Though I can identify with the disciples, I’m sure glad Jesus is different.


A Good Shepherd

(Ezek 34:1-16 KJV) And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, {2} Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?
The shepherds of Israel were the leaders – the kings and princes of Israel.
{3} Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock.
The shepherds benefit from the flock but the flock doesn’t benefit from the shepherds.
{4} The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. {5} And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. {6} My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. {7} Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; {8} As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; {9} Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; {10} Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.
God was speaking about the leaders of Israel in Ezekiel’s day, but the principal applies to Jesus’ day and our day as well.
People will let you down. Leaders will let you down.

The people in the Roman Catholic Church are going through a difficult time as they wrestle with this huge issue of sexual abuse within the church.

This was in yesterday’s Register:

The $100 million settlement between the Diocese of Orange and 87 people alleging sexual abuse covers accusations against 17 previously unnamed church employees and explicit new charges against a dozen previously accused priests.

Diocese officials say the settlement closes the books on accusations against 31 priests, two nuns and 10 lay people from the 1960s to the 1990s. It is the largest settlement of clergy sexual abuse charges in history.

The settlement, the first of any consolidated cases in the state, sets a baseline for the handling of future cases against the Catholic Church, including at least 533 claims against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. More than 800 lawsuits have been filed against dioceses across the state, and there are more than 10,000 nationwide, according to a study released in February.

I would imagine there might be some people feeling a bit lost through all of this.

{11} For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. {12} As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. {13} And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. {14} I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. {15} I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. {16} I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.
Yet Jesus is the Good Shepherd who loves His flock. He is looking for the lost sheep. He wants to heal those that have been broken.
He promises to “feed” His flock.

He starts by teaching them.

Are you a broken and hurting person?  You need a new Shepherd.  You need the Good Shepherd.  You need Jesus.

:35 And when the day was now far spent…

It’s probably after 3:00 p.m., in a little while the sun will be going down.

:36 Send them away…

If I were one of the disciples, I’d be thinking of lots of reasons for Jesus to send the people away so they can get on with their vacation.

:37 …two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?

pennyworthdenarion – A Roman silver coin in NT time. One coin was thought to be roughly equivalent to one day’s wage for the ordinary laborer (Mat. 20:2-13).  200 denarii would be about seven month’s wages.

John records:

(John 6:5-7 KJV) When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? {6} And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. {7} Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.

This was a test.  Jesus was testing the disciples.


Money isn’t always the answer.

Winner of $149M Lottery Faces Divorce
Sat Dec 4, 4:12 PM ET   U.S. National - AP

NEW YORK - Money — not even $149 million — can't buy you love. Juan Rodriguez, who collected the huge windfall in the Mega Millions lottery last month, is now on the outs with his wife, the New York Post reported Saturday. Iris Rodriguez wants a divorce from her husband of 17 years, and she filed the paperwork just 10 days after Juan bought the winning ticket on Nov. 19.  Iris Rodriguez is seeking a portion of her husband's huge lottery check, the Post said. Rodriguez, 49, opted to take his winnings in a single lump-sum payment of $88.5 million before taxes.  Although the couple appeared together at a news conference after Rodriguez matched the winning numbers, his wife had previously given him the boot over his financial difficulties. Rodriguez had filed for bankruptcy a month before his lottery win, and court papers showed he had just 78 cents in a savings account and owed $44,000 to creditors.  The Colombian immigrant bought the winning ticket at a store near the midtown Manhattan parking lot where he worked double shifts as an attendant, earning about $28,000 a year.

Are you so sure you want to win the Lottery now?
King Amaziah faced a time of testing.  When he became king, he began to work on national security, building up his army in order to face an upcoming war.
(2 Chr 25:5-9 KJV) Moreover Amaziah gathered Judah together, and made them captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, according to the houses of their fathers, throughout all Judah and Benjamin: and he numbered them from twenty years old and above, and found them three hundred thousand choice men, able to go forth to war, that could handle spear and shield. {6} He hired also an hundred thousand mighty men of valour out of Israel for an hundred talents of silver. {7} But there came a man of God to him, saying, O king, let not the army of Israel go with thee; for the LORD is not with Israel, to wit, with all the children of Ephraim. {8} But if thou wilt go, do it, be strong for the battle: God shall make thee fall before the enemy: for God hath power to help, and to cast down. {9} And Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel? And the man of God answered, The LORD is able to give thee much more than this.
Instead of trusting in the best hired army that money could buy, Amaziah was encouraged to trust the Lord instead.  It cost him, and there were some repercussions from it, but in the end Amaziah did win the battle with the Lord’s help.
The other day on the radio I heard Pastor Chuck tell the story of what happened back in the days when they were outgrowing the church they had built on Sunflower (the old Maranatha Village). He shared how a man came to visit him who had been building a financial portfolio for the purpose of investing in God’s work. The money in the portfolio had grown quite large and the man was looking to put the money into a ministry. He had chosen Calvary Chapel as a place he wanted to give to. He offered Chuck a million dollars. Chuck said that they needed the money, but he told the man that he would need to pray about it first. He spent a lot of time praying about it, and felt like the Lord told him to turn the money down. The Lord told Chuck that if he accepted the money, then as God continued to do His work at Calvary Chapel, people would point to the man’s gift and say that it was all because of this man’s money. God promised Chuck that if he would reject the gift and trust God, that God would provide for their needs and they would never have a lack of funds. That’s what they did, and God has kept His promise.
Some wise person had the following words put on our dollar bills to remind us: “In God we trust”. That’s the way it should be – trusting God, not money.

:38 Five, and two fishes

John tells us just where the bread and fish came from:

(John 6:8-9 KJV) One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him, {9} There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?

The only person with any food is a little boy. The entire crowd is going to be fed from a little boy’s lunch.

:39 sit down by companies upon the green grass.

sit downanaklino – to lean against, the people usually ate in a semi-reclined position

:40 And they sat down in ranks

in ranksprasia – a plot of ground, a garden bed; as Peter is telling this to Mark, Peter can remember the day as the people reclined, looking like colorful garden plots on the green grass.

:41  brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples

gave – imperfect tense, was continuously giving.  It seems the actual multiplication of food happened in Jesus’ own hands after He broke the loaves and when He started giving out the food to the disciples.

:42 And they did all eat, and were filled.

were filledchortazo – to fill or satisfy men

It wasn’t like when we serve communion and everyone only gets a little sliver of a cracker.  Each person was full.


There’s a commercial on TV for Taco Bell where the idea is to make you amazed that people actually get full by eating the food on the Taco Bell value menu.

:44 And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.

It seems that the language Mark is using indicates that the count only included the men.  Matthew records that there were women and children present.  This is why some feel there may have been 10-15,000 people there that day.


It doesn’t take much.

You may not feel like you have that much to give, but if you give it to God, He can do amazing things with what little you have.
The little boy was willing to give up his lunch.
The 57 Cents That Made History. A true story by Dr. Russel H. Conwell
A sobbing little girl stood near a small church from which she had been turned away because it ‘was too crowded’. “I can’t go to Sunday School,” she sobbed to the pastor as he walked by. Seeing her shabby, unkempt appearance, the pastor guessed the reason and, taking her by the hand, took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday School class. The child was so touched that she went to bed that night thinking of the children who have no place to worship Jesus. Some two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement buildings and the parents called for the kind-hearted pastor, who had befriended their daughter, to handle the final arrangements. As her poor little body was being moved, a worn and crumpled purse was found which seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump. Inside was found 57 cents and a note scribble in childish handwriting which read, “This is to help build the little church bigger so more children can go to Sunday school.” For two years she had saved for this offering of love. When the pastor tearfully read that note, he knew instantly what he would do. Carrying this note and the cracked, red pocketbook to the pulpit, he told the story of her unselfish love and devotion. He challenged his deacons to get busy and raise enough money for the larger building. But the story does not end there! A newspaper learned of the story and published it. It was read by a Realtor who offered them a parcel of land worth many thousands. When told that the church could not pay so much, he offered it for a 57 cent payment. Church members made large subscriptions. Checks came from far and wide. Within five years the little girl’s gift had increased to $250,000.00 - a huge sum for that time (near the turn of the century). Her unselfish love had paid large dividends. When you are in the city of Philadelphia, look up Temple Baptist Church, with a seating capacity of 3,300, and Temple University, where hundreds of students are trained. Have a look, too, at the Good Samaritan Hospital and at a Sunday School building which houses hundreds of Sunday scholars, so that no child in the area will ever need to be left outside at Sunday school time. In one of the rooms of this building may be seen the picture of the sweet face of the little girl whose 57 cents, so sacrificially saved, made such remarkable history.
When Greg first shared this story with the church, my parents were greatly moved because my dad’s parents met at Temple Baptist Church.  In a sense, you could say that our own church has a little bit of a connection with that little girl’s 57 cents.
You may not think that what you have to offer to God is very much, or very significant.
What do you have to offer the Lord?

It may be your 57 cents.

Perhaps it’s a love of music – you may not be very good, but you can pick out a few chords on the guitar.    I remember my first time leading worship in a home Bible Study with High Schoolers almost thirty years ago, with a cheap old nylon string guitar and barely knowing more than four or five chords.

Maybe it’s a skill at sports.  Spike it for the Lord.

Maybe it’s a love of cars.  But you have to give it to the Lord before you’ll see something happen with it.

Could God use your love of video games?  Give it to Him and see what He’ll do.

Maybe He’ll give you the opportunity to make new friends – friends that you can bring to Jesus.

But when you give what you have to God, just watch and see what He’ll do with it.

Sometimes He may just keep the things you give to Him.  Perhaps you didn’t really “need it” anyway.

Oftentimes He’ll give it right back to you.  When the little boy gave his lunch to Jesus, over five thousand people ate lunch, including the little boy.