Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XXVIII: Discerning God's Meaning In Our Repeated Cycles Of Shortages
(Mark 8:1-10)
  1. Introduction
    1. In living for Christ, the believer at times may go through a crises where a material shortage is met by God, only to follow with round after round of the same material-shortag e-and-divine-provision motif.
    2. He may wonder what is going on, what point God is trying to clarify to him.
    3. The events in Mark 8:1-30 are practically a repetition of Mark 6:31-7:37 with a clear, single purpose that we do well to heed to discern God's meaning in such crisis cycles in our own lives.
  2. Discerning God's Meaning In Our Repeated Cycles Of Shortages, Mark 8:1-10.
    1. Mark 8:1-10 is the account of the feeding of the 4,000, an event clearly similar to the feeding of the 5,000 recorded back in Mark 6:31-44, William L. Lane, The Gospel According To Mark, p. 269.
    2. If we look at the broad context around these feedings, we note that they are likewise divine duplications:
      1. Where Mark 6:31-44 records Christ's feeding of the 5,000, Mark 8:1-10 has the feeding of the 4,000.
      2. Immediately following both feeding events, Jesus and the disciples crossed the sea, 6:45-56; 8:10.
      3. Following these two crossings, Jesus had conflicts with unbelieving Pharisees, 7:1-23; 8:11-13.
      4. Following these conflicts, Jesus discussed the need for faith using bread as an illustration: in the first case, He spoke with the Syrophoenician woman and in the second with His disciples, 7:24-30; 8:14-21.
      5. Following these discussions on bread, both segments record healings by Jesus of people who were first deaf and then blind, Mk. 7:31-36; 8:22-26.
      6. Following these healings, there were escalating confessions of faith regarding Jesus: in Mark 7:37 the people confess Jesus had done things well where Mark 8:27-30 has Peter confessing Jesus as Messiah.
    3. The lesson these two major cycles of events teach is that Christ needed to repeat His works and teachings to break through His disciple's darkness to reveal His Messianic identity: (Ibid.)
      1. Deuteronomy 18:18 commands the people of Israel to anticipate the arrival of a Prophet like Moses, and the Jews knew that this one would be Messiah.
      2. When Jesus miraculously fed the people in the wilderness bread, He essentially sent very strong signals that he was that prophet who, like Moses, miraculously fed the people in the wilderness, Ex. 16:1-36.
      3. After both feedings, Mark stresses in his context the failure of the twelve disciples to understand how these miracles reveal Christ's Messianic qualifications:
        1. Mark 6:52 flatly notes that the disciples did not consider the meaning of the feeding of the five thousand to explain why they wondered what kind of man Jesus was who had just walked on water!
        2. Mark 8:14-21 shows the disciples understanding Jesus' warning about the Pharisees' "leaven" as a warning not to buy their bread. Yet, He only warned them about false teaching. They didn't realize the willingness of Jesus to provide more bread miraculously rather than having to buy more were the need to arise, and so were hardened to misunderstanding his warning, Mk. 8:14-21.
      4. The healing of the deaf mute after the feeding of the 5,000 (7:31-36) with the healing of the blind man after the feeding of the 4,000 (Mk. 8:22-26) picture the need for Jesus to work also to unstop the spiritual hears of the disciples and their blindness to the meaning of the two miraculous feedings.
      5. Finally, after the second cycle was complete, Peter gave his confession of faith that Jesus was the Hebrew Messiah, Mk. 8:27-30. The Deuteronomy 18:18 significance of His first and second miraculous feedings of people in the wildernes s had finally sunk in to at least one of the disciples!
Lesson: Jesus had to repeat the two stressful food shortage miracles, complete with their respective repeateing fallout events in the presence of the disciples for them to see by His repeated rescues in both events that He was the Messianic Prophet like Moses who was to come.

Application: When we experience repeated material shortages and repeated divine provisions for those shortages, they are landmark signals from God for us to focus on the meaning of His attributes displayed in His provisions to appreciate His Person and Work all the more. Thus, seek to learn the first time around what God is trying to REVEAL of Himself when He bails us out of the FIRST crisis!