Blessed Are The Sheep

Blessed Are The Sheep: Mark 6:30-44
Pastor John Nicholas
Sunday June 7, 2020

We beggars before God
Last week John spoke about the death of John the baptist
It was the middle of the sandwich between sending out the disciples and their return
But I want to talk a little about the situation with John prior to this story
John is imprisoned
And he sends his disciples to Jesus to see if He is the messiah
Matthew 11:2-6
The man who baptized Jesus
Questions if Jesus is the one
And what is the answer?
See what I am doing
Matthew 11:5 – the gospel preached to the poor
2 Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples
3 and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?”
4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see:
5 the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
6 And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”

Matthew 11
It is the story of miraculous feeding that isn’t about the food
Mark 6:30–32 (LGNTI:SBL)
30Καὶ συνάγονται οἱ ἀπόστολοι πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν, καὶ ἀπήγγειλαν αὐτῷ πάντα ὅσα ἐποίησαν καὶ ὅσα ἐδίδαξαν.
And the apostles re-gathered to Jesus and reported to Him everything that they had done and they had taught

  • Picking up where they left off in Mark 6:13
  • They told him the results of their missionary journey
  • They had taught
  • They had healed
  • They had cast out demons

Mark 6:13 (NASB)
13 And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them.
31καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· Δεῦτε ὑμεῖς αὐτοὶ κατʼ ἰδίαν εἰς ἔρημον τόπον καὶ ἀναπαύσασθε ὀλίγον. ἦσαν γὰρ οἱ ἐρχόμενοι καὶ οἱ ὑπάγοντες πολλοί, καὶ οὐδὲ φαγεῖν εὐκαίρουν.
And He said to them, “you yourselves come and rest for a short time privately to an isolated place.” For many were those who were coming and going and they did not have time to eat.

  • Jesus recognizes/knows the toll of the ministry is upon them
  • Much like Jesus – go to an isolated place to pray/rest
  • Because the crowds are following
    • Which would surely have been a combination of people
    • Those who truly wanted to know about the kingdom of God
      • To repent and believe
    • And those who want to see the next show
  • So many that they cannot even eat
  • Notice that they are coming and going
    • In waves

32καὶ ἀπῆλθον ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ εἰς ἔρημον τόπον κατʼ ἰδίαν.
And they went away in the boat to an isolated place by themselves.

  • Via the sea of Galilee is the only way to a place of rest
  • In the boat that they used before
    • V. 5:1-2

Mark 5:1-2 (NASB)
The Gerasene Demoniac
1 They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes.
2 When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him,

  • Luke 9:10 tells us that they are heading to Bethsaida

Luke 9:10 (NASB)
10 When the apostles returned, they gave an account to Him of all that they had done. Taking them with Him, He withdrew by Himself to a city called Bethsaida.

  • On the east bank of the Jordan River
    • Left in the morning

Mark 6:33–44 (LGNTI:SBL)
33καὶ εἶδον αὐτοὺς ὑπάγοντας καὶ ἐπέγνωσαν πολλοί, καὶ πεζῇ ἀπὸ πασῶν τῶν πόλεων συνέδραμον ἐκεῖ καὶ προῆλθον αὐτούς.
And many people saw them leaving and recognized them and ran there together by land from all the towns and arrived ahead of them

  • Again they were noticed
  • People saw them leave and desired to follow them
  • They knew where they were heading and got there ahead of time

34καὶ ἐξελθὼν εἶδεν πολὺν ὄχλον, καὶ ἐσπλαγχνίσθη ἐπʼ αὐτοὺς ὅτι ἦσαν ὡς πρόβατα μὴ ἔχοντα ποιμένα, καὶ ἤρξατο διδάσκειν αὐτοὺς πολλά.
And getting out of the boat He saw the large crowd and had compassion on them because they were like sheep not having a shepherd and he began to teach them many things

  • The journey had ended
  • Jesus sees the crowd
  • See Luke 9:11
    • And healed them
  • That had trekked to get to them
  • That had travelled overland to see Him
  • And he had compassion
    • He felt sad for them
    • He had mercy on them
  • Interesting the sheep reference
  • He had compassion on them because they had no shepherd
  • They had no one to show them the way
  • They had no life giver instructing them
  • So…
  • He taught them
  • He is the shepherd
  • And He guides and instructs them
  • He shows them the way
  • Isaiah 40:11 – God tends the flock
    • And we will think about the words that Jesus said to the followers of John the Baptist
  • Isaiah 40:11 (NASB)
    11 Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes.
  • The way of repentance and belief
  • The central point of His work was to teach them, for this was their greatest need. – Hiebert
  • Numbers 27:15-17 – Moses asking the lord for a shepherd to take his place(it will be Joshua)

Numbers 27:15-17 (NASB)
Joshua to Succeed Moses
15 Then Moses spoke to the Lord, saying,
16 “May the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation,
17 who will go out and come in before them, and who will lead them out and bring them in, so that the congregation of the Lord will not be like sheep which have no shepherd.”

Ezekiel 34:1-6 (NASB)
Prophecy against the Shepherds of Israel
1 Then the word of the Lord came to me saying,
2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock?
3 You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock.
4 Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them.
5 They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered.
6 My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill; My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth, and there was no one to search or seek for them.”’”

  • V. 23 the prophecy tells us that the shepherd will be from the line of David
  • V. 25 – and they will dwell peacefully in the wilderness
  • And here we have the shepherd less people in the wilderness
    • Their supposed leaders are no shepherds for them
    • It is a condemnation of their current religious leaders
    • They have no guidance
  • Jeremiah 23:1-4 (NASB)

The Coming Messiah: the Righteous Branch
1  “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” declares the Lord.
2 Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel concerning the shepherds who are tending My people: “You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; behold, I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds,” declares the Lord.
3 “Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fruitful and multiply.
4 I will also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord.

  • And the meal of peace will be with their shepherd
  • No animal is as dependent upon a shepherd as a sheep. Without the shepherd, sheep wander aimlessly and get lost. Without the shepherd to show them to the good places to graze, sheep do not eat. Without a shepherd to lead them to water, sheep die of thirst. Without the shepherd, wolves can devour the sheep. Jesus viewed the people as helpless sheep. – RL Cooper

35Καὶ ἤδη ὥρας πολλῆς γενομένης προσελθόντες αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἔλεγον ὅτι Ἔρημός ἐστιν ὁ τόπος, καὶ ἤδη ὥρα πολλή·
And the hour had already become late and the disciples came up to Him saying, “the place is desolate and the hour is already late

  • The teaching has concluded
  • The day is late
    • after 3pm
  • The travelers have come a long distance overland
  • The place is desolate
  • There is nothing there
  • Teaching without distraction
  • The first evening which began at 3 P.M. (Matt. 14:23 mentions the second evening, beginning with sunset.) Hour after hour, He continued to deal with the multitude, appearing to be unmindful of their physical need for food. – Hiebert

Matthew 14:23 (NASB)
23 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.

36ἀπόλυσον αὐτούς, ἵνα ἀπελθόντες εἰς τοὺς κύκλῳ ἀγροὺς καὶ κώμας ἀγοράσωσιν ἑαυτοῖς τί φάγωσιν.
Send them away so that they can go into the surrounding farms and villages and purchase for themselves something to eat.”

  • Here is the solution
  • Since it is late it is time to let them go so that they can eat
  • The people can travel to the neighboring areas to get food
  • The teaching will end
  • But there are more lessons

37ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· Δότε αὐτοῖς ὑμεῖς φαγεῖν. καὶ λέγουσιν αὐτῷ· Ἀπελθόντες ἀγοράσωμεν δηναρίων διακοσίων ἄρτους καὶ δώσομεν αὐτοῖς φαγεῖν;
But he answered and said to them, “you give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “should we go and purchase for two hundred denarii bread and give it to them to eat?”

  • The disciples answer was to send them away
  • But this was not Jesus thought
  • Jesus tells them to provide food for the sheep
    • And the food was not the point
  • For them to be the shepherds
    • Part of the lesson – and it does not have to do with food
  • To give them what they need
    • Which is truly the gospel
  • And they respond
    • We need 200 denari
    • A denar is a Roman coin worth about 18c
    • A workers day wage
    • So the equivalent of 200 workers wages to feed the sheep
    • The Greek text says “two hundred denarii worth of bread” (RSV, p 109 NRSV). A denarius was a day’s wage for an agricultural worker (cf. Matt 20:2). Therefore two hundred denarii was about “eight months of a man’s wages” (NIV).
  • Philip says in John 6:7 that even 200 denari is not enough for all the people

John 6:7 (NASB)
7 Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little.”

  • They desire to give them food but the way is blocked for them
  • They cannot see beyond the physical realm
    • Even having seen all they have seen
  • The disciples had this problem of which they were not prepared
  • And we see a similar complaint by Moses- Numbers 11:13 – where is he to get the meat to feed the multitude in the wilderness
  • Do you see the similarities?

Numbers 11:13 (NASB)
13 Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me, saying, ‘Give us meat that we may eat!’
38ὁ δὲ λέγει αὐτοῖς· Πόσους ἔχετε ἄρτους; ὑπάγετε ἴδετε. καὶ γνόντες λέγουσιν· Πέντε, καὶ δύο ἰχθύας.
And He said to them, “how many loaves do you have? Go look.” And when they found out they said, “five loaves and two fish.”

  • The good shepherd points to the food that they have
  • The daily bread that has been given by God
  • That which is to sustain their small group
  • John 6:8 tells us that they are barley loaves, probably small and round

John 6:8-9 (NASB)
8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, *said to Him,
9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?”

  • And probably small dried fish
  • A meager amount, impossibly small, for the group in front of them
  • Jesus’ willingness to start feeding the crowd with this scant supply at once suggested that something extraordinary was to occur.

39καὶ ἐπέταξεν αὐτοῖς ἀνακλῖναι πάντας συμπόσια συμπόσια ἐπὶ τῷ χλωρῷ χόρτῳ.
And he ordered them to recline all in groups on the green grass

  • Marks detail about green grass
  • This is during the time of the passover, before the dry season
  • John tells us the same in Chapter 6:4

John 6:4 (NASB)
4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near.

  • Think about the good shepherd imagery
  • Psalm 23, lying in the green grass by the still waters

The Lord, the Psalmist’s Shepherd.
A Psalm of David.
1  The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

  • Relying upon the Lord as shepherd
  • Jesus is the good shepherd and they will see it here
  • Leading the sheep
  • Protecting the sheep
  • Providing for the sheep
  • You sheep, go here, and recline there
  • And it is a test of the faith of the disciples
  • The ones who will testify to Him
  • Remember 1 year for the day of His crucifixion
  • They have seen the meager supplies and now Jesus has told all the people to sit
  • How could they possibly be fed on 5 loaves and 2 fish?(it is not even enough for them)

40καὶ ἀνέπεσαν πρασιαὶ πρασιαὶ κατὰ ἑκατὸν καὶ κατὰ πεντήκοντα.
And they reclined in groups by hundreds and by fifties

  • The groups sit
  • Prasiai – in garden row formation, like rows of vines in the vineyard, students of rabbis would sit like this (Rogers, 80-81)
  • And they wait
  • What would happen
  • The day is late
  • The night is coming
  • It is still one year before the last passover when Jesus was crucified. – Robertson

41καὶ λαβὼν τοὺς πέντε ἄρτους καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας ἀναβλέψας εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν εὐλόγησεν καὶ κατέκλασεν τοὺς ἄρτους καὶ ἐδίδου τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ ἵνα παρατιθῶσιν αὐτοῖς, καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας ἐμέρισεν πᾶσιν.
And taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven He gave thanks and broke the loaves and gave them to His disciples so that they could set them before them and he distributed the two fish to all of them.

  • Praying and thanking as the Lords prayer
  • In Judaism nothing should be eaten before thanking God and then God is thanked afterward
    • The Good Shepherd

42καὶ ἔφαγον πάντες καὶ ἐχορτάσθησαν·

And they all ate and were satisfied

  • No one was hungry
  • Satisfied, full, not wanting more
  • They were filled, satisfied

43καὶ ἦραν κλάσματα δώδεκα κοφίνων πληρώματα καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν ἰχθύων.
And they picked up the broken pieces, twelve baskets full of loaves and fish

  • God’s gift is overflowing
  • Like the lavish gift of salvation

7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace
8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight

  • That we spoke of a number of weeks ago

44καὶ ἦσαν οἱ φαγόντες τοὺς ἄρτους πεντακισχίλιοι ἄνδρες.
And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men

  • 5,000 men
  • Matthew 14:21 – beside the women and children
    21 There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children.
    • Think about the size of the crowd
    • Much bigger than 5,000

Like the superabundant harvest in the parable of the sower (4:9, 20), the feeding of the five thousand supersedes any human harvest. J.R. Edwards

The similarities between the Christlikeness of Moses and the actual Christ
The people going into the wilderness for salvation
The woman at the well and the harvest to come
Matthew 5:3 – blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God
The feeding of the 5000
Fully dependent upon God
Fully reliant on Him
Like the people on the green grass
Sitting in groups
Seemingly Insurmountable the feeding of all these people
They have followed
They have heard the teaching
And now…
The physical representation of the full reliance on God
They are sitting
They are waiting
And the sustenance is passed out
So much so that there is an abundance of overflow
It would take work not to see it in this story
They were sheep without a shepherd
The sheep is the most dependent of the animals
And this is what Jesus tells Peter to do

Feed the sheep
This is not about bread and fish
It is about repent and believe
It is what Jesus told the followers of John
Look and see what I am doing and you will know who I am
Jesus is the one who brings us to salvation
Jesus is the coming of the Old Testament prophecies
He is the shepherd who guides his sheep to the pasture of eternal life
Think about Jesus’ words in John 4:33-38

John 4:31-38 (NASB)
31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”
32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”
33 So the disciples were saying to one another, “No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?”
34 Jesus *said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.
35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.
36 Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.
37 For in this case the saying is true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’
38 I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor.”

After the encounter with the woman at the well
The field is white ready for the harvest
The time has come
Those who are in the wilderness are ready for salvation
Repent and believe

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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