Context-King Herod’s Kingdom of Man Banquet, Mark 6:14-29
Story comes after disciples sent out to “be Jesus”, preaching the Kingdom of God has drawn near and healing. They return and need dessert Sabbath, just like Jesus after his first leg of ministry in Mark 1:35, but the crowds still clamor.
Questions for meaning
Different kind of banquets. In what ways does Jesus’ Messianic banquet look different than Herod’s Kingdom of Man banquet? In what ways do our Church dinners look different than White House big dinners? In what ways are the same?
Conflicting message. Jesus seems to both desire Sabbath but still keep working and want the disciples to have Sabbath then tells them to keep on working. What do you think?
Jesus takes, blesses and breaks the bread. In the same way, the disciples are taken, blesses then they are broken for the world. What do you think about this image?
What do you think it means the disciples they didn’t understand about the bread because their hearts are hardened?
The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31He said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. 33Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. 34As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. 35When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; 36send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.’ 37But he answered them, ‘You give them something to eat.’ They said to him, ‘Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?’ 38And he said to them, ‘How many loaves have you? Go and see.’ When they had found out, they said, ‘Five, and two fish.’ 39Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. 41Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all.42And all ate and were filled; 43and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand men.
45 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46After saying farewell to them, he went up on the mountain to pray.47 When evening came, the boat was out on the lake, and he was alone on the land. 48When he saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the lake. He intended to pass them by. 49But when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought it was a ghost and cried out; 50for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.’ 51Then he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
What can close us off from Jesus’ work and power in our lives? What causes us to reject him?
One commentator makes the distinction that the Twelve are sent, not with independent authority, but as an extension of Jesus’ authority.
What is important about this distinction?
In regards to the sending of the Twelve: “Learning to hear a passage like this and to respond obediently involves learning to listen to the prophetic call of God, and to the pain of the present world, and to live at the point of intersection between the two. And when the call comes, there’s not time to lose.” – N.T. Wright
What does it look like to live in that intersection? How do you discern that call?
The subject of the teachings of chapter 4 is how do we have a fruitful faith that survives and grows to harvest rather than one that bears no fruit. What are some of the answers and wisdom provided by all of these teachings?
We become the sower in this second part of chapter four. We are responsible for scattering the seed. What are the reasons we are not faithful in the “simple” task of sharing the Word?
Where/when have you seen the “Word” that you have sown seem not to take, but you are trusting something is happening in the ground?
Luke and Matthew change the mustard bush to a tree. What seems lost in this change from the point that Jesus wanted to make? How has the Church/Christendom lost the point of this teaching?