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Thread: Don't Be Afraid...

  1. #1
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    Don't Be Afraid...

    I came upon this reading as a quiet time one morning many years ago, and I thought I would share this with everyone. It is a story many have read probably several times. I know I had read it several times myself, but then on this particular morning, a light came on, and I saw something I had not noticed before.

    It is the story about when Jesus feeds the five thousand. As I read the story, I saw the disciples in a new way. I hope that when this is revealed to you, you might feel a sigh of relief as you walk on your journey with Christ.

    Mark 6 (NIV)
    Jesus Sends Out the Twelve
    Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. 7 Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.
    8 These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9 Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. 10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
    12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
    John the Baptist Beheaded
    14 King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”
    15 Others said, “He is Elijah.”
    And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.”
    16 But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!”
    17 For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, 20 because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.
    21 Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests.
    The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.” 23 And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”
    24 She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?”
    “The head of John the Baptist,” she answered.
    25 At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”
    26 The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27 So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, 28 and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. 29 On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
    Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
    30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
    32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
    35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”
    37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”
    They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”
    38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”
    When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”
    39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.
    It all starts as Jesus sends out the twelve. There is much to be said about sending them out by two. One might fall into temptation, but with two there is accountability. So he sends them out to spread the good news. How did they do this?

    12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

    Jesus also gave them precise instructions on how to go about this.

    8 These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9 Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. 10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”

    So the disciples go out sharing the good news about Jesus. Now Jesus by this time has a reputation. Many of the people know what Jesus has done, and want to meet him. Why Jesus was the hottest thing since sunburn to them. So they were eager to see just who this Jesus was, and what he could do. Some said he was Elijah, some said he was a prophet. There was some who said, "He was John the Baptist returned from the dead."

    Now we get to where the feeding of the five thousand takes place.

    30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
    32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.



    So the disciples were sent out all day to the surrounding villages, and they took with them, no food, no bag to gather any food in, and no money to buy any food with.

    35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

    So now it is late in the day, and someone is hungry. Who do you think is hungry the most? The people who left their homes where they had food, or the disciples who had no food, and no way of getting any? It could very well be then, that after seeing Jesus' compassion towards the people, they thought they could add a compassionate plea so that they could get something to eat.

    I draw this conclusion because of the way Jesus responds to them. He doesn't say, "Oh, you are right, perhaps we should let them go so they can feed themselves." No, he demands that the disciples take what little food they have and give it to them. Ouch. Did he just address their pride, and their attempt to manipulate Jesus?

    37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”
    They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”
    38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”
    When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”

    Then Jesus tries to show them that they need not be like this. That God will take care of everyone’s needs. He takes the loaves and fishes and blesses them and everyone eats and is satisfied.

    The lesson isn't over...

    Jesus Walks on the Water
    45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
    47 Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified.
    Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.

    I underlined the points above to ask these questions:

    When Jesus had them get into the boat and go ahead, did he ask them to do this? No, he "made" them get into the boat. It was as if Jesus was trying to protect the people from the hearts of the disciples.

    What was it that they did not understand about the loaves that made their hearts hard? Could it be that they were afraid? Could it be that they were afraid to ask Jesus if they could eat, instead of making it seem that it was the people who were the hungry ones?

    Remember the instructions Jesus gave them? “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts." See how God had a plan? God knew the hearts of Jesus' followers and prepared a situation for them to grow. Did they grow? Perhaps not that instant, but we know from further studies that they turned out alright.
    Last edited by Church Buddy; Nov 17th 2010 at 05:19 PM. Reason: correcting grammar.
    Are you a brick, or are you a stone? Either way you are invited to read my Testimony.

    Studies that I have posted include:
    Am I absolved from not knowing what is in the Bible?
    Don't be Afraid...
    Coming soon "Innocent of the Blood of all Men." and "One More Day with the Frogs."

  2. #2
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    Wow that is alot to take in. I haven't thought of it that way before. I want to re-read it later when I feel I am more alert. Thanks for the study!

    God bless
    "People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated?" - D A Carson

  3. #3
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    What is so interesting about this (well several things) but that last verse:

    51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.

    Considering how many times I have read through the bible and even more through the gospels I just don't remember ever catching that part. Here we are reading about the boat in the storm and it ends going back to feeding the people bread and fish... How could I have missed something that seemed to be out of place?

    I notice there are many times within a passage there is what by today's standards would appear an odd sentence...seemlying out of place with the flow of the story being told. Any editor today would be marking those odd phrases out and moving them back to what they thought was the right place or deleting them all together!


    Do you think there hearts were hardened about who Jesus was...or that their needs would be taken care of? Seems like after being sent out first with nothing...and obviously they didn't die of starvation...and the feeding of all those people AND the calming of the storm they would have no doubts who Jesus was or that they would be taken care of...

    God bless
    "People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated?" - D A Carson

  4. #4
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    Re: Don't Be Afraid...

    Quote Originally Posted by moonglow View Post
    What is so interesting about this (well several things) but that last verse:

    51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.

    Considering how many times I have read through the bible and even more through the gospels I just don't remember ever catching that part. Here we are reading about the boat in the storm and it ends going back to feeding the people bread and fish... How could I have missed something that seemed to be out of place?

    I notice there are many times within a passage there is what by today's standards would appear an odd sentence...seemlying out of place with the flow of the story being told. Any editor today would be marking those odd phrases out and moving them back to what they thought was the right place or deleting them all together!


    Do you think there hearts were hardened about who Jesus was...or that their needs would be taken care of? Seems like after being sent out first with nothing...and obviously they didn't die of starvation...and the feeding of all those people AND the calming of the storm they would have no doubts who Jesus was or that they would be taken care of...

    God bless
    It was that very verse that made me stop when I was having my quiet time. "for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened." You bring up a good point because, the Fish are not mentioned. We know today what the symbol of breaking of the bread means (to share of one's self). Whenever I invite someone to my home, I will even say, "Come and break bread with me."

    But one cannot ignore the tone Jesus uses like when he says "You give them something to eat,” and "“How many loaves do you have? he asked. Go and see.”

    And we have to look close to how Jesus directs them to get into the boat.
    "Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd."
    He MADE them IMMEDIATELY get into the boat, while Jesus DISMISSED the crowd.
    This is the only place I have seen in the scriptures where Jesus separates himself from the disciples. This makes me ask "Why?" When I read further that their hearts were hard because they didn't understand the loaves, I had to go back and see if Jesus saw their hearts prior to feeding the 5k.

    I also noticed this passage which made me think of PRIDE.
    "The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all THEY HAD DONE and taught." Now it could be that they were excited and just wanted to share the good new, or it could be that they were in some way taking credit for what they did.

    To me, it seems to be clear that Mark, reports this story very differently than what Matthew and John reports. That also makes me wonder why the youngest in the group caught what was happening.

    One must also think that when they came into a home that received them, they could have been offered something to eat, but then the scripture is clear when it says "Then, because so many people were coming and going that they DID NOT EVEN HAVE A CHANCE TO EAT." This tells me there is a reason to point out that the apostles were hungry without a CHANCE to eat.

    We also know that Jesus taught that man cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that precedes the mouth of the Lord. Could this be the theme here? If so, why the strong overtones? All of this considered, I have to draw the conclusion that I did.

    To answer your question about why their hearts were hardened, I don't think it was about who Jesus was, but more so to the extent of his power. So, yes, I would say more so to the latter, that the just didn't understand that even their hunger was not something God could subside. Later though we see that their hearts change in the scriptures for them to declare "I can do all through him who strenthens me."
    Are you a brick, or are you a stone? Either way you are invited to read my Testimony.

    Studies that I have posted include:
    Am I absolved from not knowing what is in the Bible?
    Don't be Afraid...
    Coming soon "Innocent of the Blood of all Men." and "One More Day with the Frogs."

  5. #5
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    Re: Don't Be Afraid...

    I want to ponder this for a little bit before I reply...

    good study.

    God bless
    "People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated?" - D A Carson

  6. #6
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    I am having some problems replying on the board right now..now sure what is going on so I hope this goes through ok.

    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by Church Buddy View Post
    It was that very verse that made me stop when I was having my quiet time. "for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened." You bring up a good point because, the Fish are not mentioned. We know today what the symbol of breaking of the bread means (to share of one's self). Whenever I invite someone to my home, I will even say, "Come and break bread with me."

    But one cannot ignore the tone Jesus uses like when he says "You give them something to eat,” and "“How many loaves do you have? he asked. Go and see.”
    This part stands out the most to me...where Jesus tells the disciples themselves to go feed the people with what they have...yet He obviously does the miracle of expanding that food...I am having trouble wrapping my mind around this..

    And we have to look close to how Jesus directs them to get into the boat.
    "Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd."
    He MADE them IMMEDIATELY get into the boat, while Jesus DISMISSED the crowd.
    This is the only place I have seen in the scriptures where Jesus separates himself from the disciples. This makes me ask "Why?" When I read further that their hearts were hard because they didn't understand the loaves, I had to go back and see if Jesus saw their hearts prior to feeding the 5k.

    There were other times...many times actually Jesus went off by Himself to pray or do other things actually...but yes I think in this case He was separating the disciples from the people. I think He did it partly because they lacked compassion for the people...and maybe that is where their hearts were hard.

    I also noticed this passage which made me think of PRIDE.
    "The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all THEY HAD DONE and taught." Now it could be that they were excited and just wanted to share the good new, or it could be that they were in some way taking credit for what they did.

    To me, it seems to be clear that Mark, reports this story very differently than what Matthew and John reports. That also makes me wonder why the youngest in the group caught what was happening.

    One must also think that when they came into a home that received them, they could have been offered something to eat, but then the scripture is clear when it says "Then, because so many people were coming and going that they DID NOT EVEN HAVE A CHANCE TO EAT." This tells me there is a reason to point out that the apostles were hungry without a CHANCE to eat.

    We also know that Jesus taught that man cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that precedes the mouth of the Lord. Could this be the theme here? If so, why the strong overtones? All of this considered, I have to draw the conclusion that I did.
    Could very well be! Good points.

    To answer your question about why their hearts were hardened, I don't think it was about who Jesus was, but more so to the extent of his power. So, yes, I would say more so to the latter, that the just didn't understand that even their hunger was not something God could subside. Later though we see that their hearts change in the scriptures for them to declare "I can do all through him who strenthens me."
    We know the fullness of the knowledge of who Christ was wasn't revealed to them until later so now I am not sure if their hard hearts were about that or not. I mean why scold them for something they were blinded too on purpose? That is why I wanted time to think about it. I think possibly it was lack of compassion for the crowd and wanting them to go home and get something to eat themselves. What do you think?

    God bless
    "People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated?" - D A Carson

  7. #7
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    Re: Don't Be Afraid...

    It is something worth making a study out of. If nothing else just for the simple reason Mark doesn't mention Peter's attempt to walk on the water as well. This is the blessing of having the four Gospels, we get each account written from a different perspective.

    I do want to make a point with this comment of yours...

    There were other times...many times actually Jesus went off by Himself to pray or do other things actually...but yes I think in this case He was separating the disciples from the people. I think He did it partly because they lacked compassion for the people...and maybe that is where their hearts were hard.
    I am not sure that it is that clear that they lacked compassion. I mean they did go around healing the sick. I would say that would show some compassion.

    Again, worthy of study. I noticed this back in 1998 during a quiet time. Definately there is a mistery here wrapped around the loaves.
    Are you a brick, or are you a stone? Either way you are invited to read my Testimony.

    Studies that I have posted include:
    Am I absolved from not knowing what is in the Bible?
    Don't be Afraid...
    Coming soon "Innocent of the Blood of all Men." and "One More Day with the Frogs."

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