Mark 6:30-44 Discussion Guide
This week’s passage from the Gospel of Mark tells us about one of the most famous miracles ever performed. The face value of it is a story worth telling and marveling about.
Related Message: Jireh, God Our Provider
Jesus Feeds 5,000 Men
30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 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. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 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. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii[a] worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 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.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 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. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.Mark 6:30-44
Pause & Discuss
- How old were you the first time you remember hearing the story of this miracle?
- How did this story help you to understand who Jesus is?
- Did you find it easy or difficult to believe that Jesus could feed 5,000 men from 5 loaves of bread and two fish? Why or why not?
A Prophet Like Moses
15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— 16 just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17 And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.Deuteronomy 18:15-19
In your group, consider that Mark is deliberately presenting Jesus as a unique figure in the history of God’s salvation. All throughout the Gospel, we are given clues that Mark wants us to understand Jesus is the second and greater Moses. His mission, like Moses’ mission on a greater scale, is to deliver his people from slavery to sin and death.
Here are some of the clues Mark leaves us in this story.
- Jesus crosses a sea (like the Red Sea)
- The crowd follows Jesus into the wilderness (Like the Exodus)
- Jesus uses the wilderness to teach the people (like Mount Sinai)
- The people are hungry, and God miraculously provides food (like manna)
- The people are all satisfied (the Israelites never starved in 40 years)
- The people are organized into groups (like Moses appointing elders)
- The number of leftover baskets is twelve (the number of tribes is twelve)
The Gospel is using the details of Jesus’ miracles to give us a more precise picture of who he is and what he came to accomplish. Jesus didn’t come to be a revolutionary, a teacher, or a miracle worker. He came to be the savior. Jesus would gather a people and lead them to freedom.
- What are some other ways in the first six chapters of Mark that you have noticed parallels between Jesus and Moses?
- Does understanding the story of the Exodus give you a greater sense of what Jesus came to accomplish?
- Do you think the crowd was counting on Jesus feeding them?
- What was the spiritual food that Jesus had for the crowd?
- Why was it important for the people to understand that Jesus spoke and taught with the very words of God?
- How do you think Jesus’ feeding was misinterpreted by the crowd?
- Do we sometimes treat Jesus more as a miracle worker and less as a savior?