The Compassion Of The Savior

The Compassion Of The Savior: Mark 8:1-10
Pastor John Nicholas
Sunday July 19, 2020

Keep in mind that this narrative is in the first person (from Jesus) not like the feeding of the 5000 which is in the third person

This is from Jesus

Mark 8:1–10 (LGNTI:SBL)
1Ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις πάλιν πολλοῦ ὄχλου ὄντος καὶ μὴ ἐχόντων τί φάγωσιν, προσκαλεσάμενος τοὺς μαθητὰς λέγει αὐτοῖς·

In those days again there was a large crowd and they did not have anything they could eat, summoning the disciples he said to them

  • In those days, after the deaf man had been healed
  • After the healing of the Syrophoenician woman
  • In the area of the Decapolis
  • The ten Gentile cities
  • On the eastern/southeastern side of the Sea of Galilee
  • There was another large crowd
  • People were seeking out Jesus
  • Large crowds were seeking out Jesus
    • And they had nothing to eat
    • They had come to Jesus with no planning
    • They had heard he was in the area
    • And apparently, they quickly went to meet Him
    • They had stayed a long time
    • They had nothing to eat
    • And we know that there were 4,000
    • Jesus calling the disciples is a means of teaching them
    • Showing them something

2Σπλαγχνίζομαι ἐπὶ τὸν ὄχλον ὅτι ἤδη ἡμέραι τρεῖς προσμένουσίν μοι καὶ οὐκ ἔχουσιν τί φάγωσιν·

I have compassion on the crowd because already they have remained with me three days and do not have anything to eat

John 6:65-66 (NASB)
65 And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”
Peter’s Confession of Faith
66 As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.

Mark 7:25-30 (NASB)
25 But after hearing of Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately came and fell at His feet.
26 Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter.
27 And He was saying to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
28 But she answered and *said to Him, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.”
29 And He said to her, “Because of this answer go; the demon has gone out of your daughter.”
30 And going back to her home, she found the child lying on the bed, the demon having left.

  • Jesus, by telling them He has compassion for the crowd, is taking responsibility for them to himself
  • Jesus is showing mercy towards the crowd
  • His actions are teaching the disciples
  • The crowds have remained with Jesus
    • And He has been teaching them
  • The Greek is prosmenein – an interesting word, rare word
    • It means attached to
    • Abiding in
    • Committed to
    • Mark uses the term about lepers, gentiles, and the demon possessed
    • And he used it regarding the last feeding as compassion because they had no shepherd
    • And this is the only time Jesus uses the word himself
    • It is quite a statement about these gentiles
    • And something quite different than the previous feeding
    • This is a positive view of the crowd
    • Compassion to meet their needs
    • Psalm 34:10 (NASB)
      10 The young lions do lack and suffer hunger;
But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.
  • Psalm 103:13 (NASB)
    13 Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
  • Genesis 4:10-15 (NASB)
    10 He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground.
    11 Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.
    12 When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.”
    13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is too great to bear!
    14 Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
    15 So the Lord said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him.
  • Psalm 145:8 (NASB)
    8 The Lord is gracious and merciful;
Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.

3καὶ ἐὰν ἀπολύσω αὐτοὺς νήστεις εἰς οἶκον αὐτῶν, ἐκλυθήσονται ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ· καί τινες αὐτῶν ἀπὸ μακρόθεν ἥκασιν.

And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will give out on the way and some of them have come from far away.

  • The mercy /compassion demonstrated
  • They will faint, they will become weary, their legs will give out
  • Jesus is concerned for their physical needs
    • Note that this is not at the beginning of the 3 days
    • Is there significance that it is at the end of the teaching?
  • Note that some have come from far away
  • Isaiah 40:31 = on wings of eagles
    Isaiah 40:31 (NASB)
    31 Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

4καὶ ἀπεκρίθησαν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ὅτι Πόθεν τούτους δυνήσεταί τις ὧδε χορτάσαι ἄρτων ἐπʼ ἐρημίας;

And his disciples answered him, “where is anyone here able to feed these people with bread in the wilderness?”

  • They are in the wilderness
  • Away from the towns and cities
  • Now Jesus has fed miraculously before
  • Yet the disciple’s question where they will get food
    • How can that be when they have seen so much?
      • What does is say about our condition?
      • The Gospels do not conceal the deficiencies of the disciples.
  • But one should not assume that not asking for a miracle is a bad thing
  • Typically, only the ones who were opponents sought signs not the true followers
  • Numbers 11:21-23 – the Lord can provide
    21 But Moses said, “The people, among whom I am, are 600,000 on foot; yet You have said, ‘I will give them meat, so that they may eat for a whole month.’
    22 Should flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to be sufficient for them? Or should all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to be sufficient for them?”
    23 The Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.”
  • Numbers 11:31-32
    The Quail and the Plague
    31 Now there went forth a wind from the Lord and it brought quail from the sea, and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp and about two cubits deep on the surface of the ground.
    32 The people spent all day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail (he who gathered least gathered ten homers) and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp.
  • Psalm 78:19 – can the Lord prepare a table in the wilderness
    19 Then they spoke against God;
They said, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?

5καὶ ἠρώτα αὐτούς· Πόσους ἔχετε ἄρτους; οἱ δὲ εἶπαν· Ἑπτά.

  • And he asked them, “how many loaves do you have?” so, they said seven.
    Seven loaves only – for 4,000 people
  • According to Matthew, they also mentioned that they had “a few little fishes” (15:34).
    Matthew 15:34 (NASB)
    34 And Jesus *said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven, and a few small fish.”

6καὶ παραγγέλλει τῷ ὄχλῳ ἀναπεσεῖν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς· καὶ λαβὼν τοὺς ἑπτὰ ἄρτους εὐχαριστήσας ἔκλασεν καὶ ἐδίδου τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ ἵνα παρατιθῶσιν καὶ παρέθηκαν τῷ ὄχλῳ.

And he commanded the crowd to recline on the ground, and taking the seven loaves after he had given thanks he broke them and began giving them to his disciples so that they could set them before them and they set them before the crowd

  • Notice that He tells them to sit on the ground. It is a different time of year. Later. Previously it had been the spring, before the Passover.

7καὶ εἶχον ἰχθύδια ὀλίγα· καὶ εὐλογήσας αὐτὰ εἶπεν καὶ ταῦτα παρατιθέναι.

And they had a few small fish and after giving thanks for them he said also to set these before them.

  • Thanking the Father for what has been provided
    • The daily bread
  • Direct provision from God
    • All provision is from God
  • Christ indeed, as God, was able of his own will and by his own power to multiply the loaves. But as man he gave thanks.- Jones
  • Fish also provided with thanks given
  • The food is set before them
  • A few small fishes (ἰχθυδια ὀλιγα [ichthudia oliga]). Mark mentions them last as if they were served after the food, but not so Matt. 15:34f.
  • “They had a few small fishes”—dried fish, commonly eaten with the bread. Few indicates that they had more than two (6:38), but small stresses their diminutive size.

8καὶ ἔφαγον καὶ ἐχορτάσθησαν, καὶ ἦραν περισσεύματα κλασμάτων ἑπτὰ σπυρίδας.

And they ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the broken pieces that were left, seven baskets full

  • Needs completely met
  • An abundance is provided
  • And the baskets are different
  • Big enough to hold a man – Acts 9:25
    Acts 9:25 (NASB)
    25 but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket.

9ἦσαν δὲ ὡς τετρακισχίλιοι. καὶ ἀπέλυσεν αὐτούς.

Now there were about four thousand and he sent them away

  • 2 Kings 4:42-44 – Elisha and the loaves
    2 Kings 4:42-44 (NASB)
    42 Now a man came from Baal-shalishah, and brought the man of God bread of the first fruits, twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. And he said, “Give them to the people that they may eat.”
    43 His attendant said, “What, will I set this before a hundred men?” But he said, “Give them to the people that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left over.’”
    44 So he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord.
  • “They that had eaten were about four thousand”—Matthew adds, “beside women and children” (15:38). The number was probably ascertained from the arrangement of the people in definite groups as on the former occasion.
    Matthew 15:38 (NASB)
    38 And those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children.
  • He sent them away”—only the act of dismissal is recorded. No hint of the effect of the miracle on the crowd is given. Obviously, there was now no plot to crown Jesus as King as before (John 6:14–15). This crowd, apparently largely Gentile, simply acted in mute astonishment.

John 6:14-15 (NASB)
14 Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
Jesus Walks on the Water
15 So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone.

10καὶ εὐθὺς ἐμβὰς εἰς τὸ πλοῖον μετὰ τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ ἦλθεν εἰς τὰ μέρη Δαλμανουθά.

And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went the district of Dalmanutha

  • Euthus – immediately
  • Into the parts of Dalmanutha (εἰς τα μερη Δαλμανουθα [eis ta merē Dalmanoutha]). Matt. 15:39 calls it “the borders of Magadan.” Both names are unknown elsewhere, but apparently the same region of Galilee on the western side of the lake not far from Tiberias. Mark here uses “parts” (μερη [merē]) in the same sense as “borders” (ὁρια [horia]) in 7:24 just as Matthew reverses it with “parts” in 15:21 and “borders” here in 15:39. Mark has here “with his disciples” (μετα των μαθητων αὐτου [meta tōn mathētōn autou]) only implied in Matt. 15:39.
    Matthew 15:39 (NASB)
    39 And sending away the crowds, Jesus got into the boat and came to the region of Magadan.

Matthew 15:21 (NASB)
The Syrophoenician Woman
21 Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon.

Mark 7:24 (NASB)
The Syrophoenician Woman
24 Jesus got up and went away from there to the region of Tyre. And when He had entered a house, He wanted no one to know of it; yet He could not escape notice.

  • “Straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples”—at once departing from the place where the crowd had been fed. Now Jesus did not send the disciples off ahead of Him but went with them. The boat used was apparently the boat Jesus and the disciples were accustomed to using. This boat apparently had been left at Capernaum when the trip north was begun. Perhaps it had been brought over to the eastern shore by friends on hearing that Jesus was working there.

The highly compressed narrative stresses the satisfaction of the people’s need, the abundance of the provision as witnessed by the seven large rope baskets of fragments that remained over, and the vastness of the crowd that had gathered.


Interesting how this miracle is different than the other feeding

The first-person dialogue in the second narrative has the effect of declaring Jesus’ compassion directly to the Gentile crowd—and, by extension, to Mark’s Roman readers.

In the first feed Jesus showed compassion by teaching them

In this miracle he showed compassion by feeding them

In the first they had no shepherd and He led them

In the second they had remained with Him and He fed them

Where the Syrophoenician woman begged for the crumbs of bread these he literally fed.

They had been there a short time

There he had compassion on them because they were like a sheep without a shepherd

There was an emphasis on the lack of teaching the lack of guidance

Here there is a different emphasis

Here Jesus is not focusing on the lack of leadership

  • Probably because they are in a mostly gentile area

Think about the syrophoneician woman she sought the crumbs from the table of the jews

She sought what Jesus could give

And here, on the heals of the man who could not hear and was given the gift of sound, we have a large number of people who have been with Jesus in the wilderness

People who had looked and found Jesus away from the towns

People who had not only travelled but stayed for three days with him

Exhausting any supplies that they had

They were beggars who knew where the bread came from

And Jesus looked to them

Jesus the good shepherd

Jesus the one who saves

And from His creation He performed a miracle and fed them to excess

He met their need at that moment

Those who sought Him He provided for

Yet is Jesus just about met physical needs?

Without a doubt NO

So what does this narrative tell us?

What does it say to us when Jesus has provided for their physical need?

It is certainly not a hidden message

We don’t need to look behind letters and phrases to attempt to make it something it is not

And with that we should focus on one thing and one thing only in this story


Jesus had compassion for them

Jesus is not a hard master

Jesus is the one with the light yoke

Jesus is the one with the easy burden

Jesus is the one who takes from us

Jesus is the one who gives in abundance

From His riches we are clothed

And we see it here

He had compassion on them

He had compassion about their hunger

And they had such abundance that seven large baskets were full of the leftovers

No crumbs

Not crust

Not the bones of the fish

But baskets the size of which would hold a man – full

Jesus has compassion for us

For those who cannot do for themselves

For the beggar who holds out his hands for what the lord will give

The beggar who is blessed form Matthew 5:3
Matthew 5:3 (NASB)
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

We hear and picture this story in our minds

We hear and see Jesus’ actions

How he must have looked at them

How he cared for them

How he loved them

How he loves us

How he suffered and died for the payment of sin

How he was the firstborn from the grave

How His compassion conquered sin and death

How His compassion provides life that overflows into all that we touch

Not only did Jesus bring the saving bread to the gentiles in the desert

But He is the saving bread of life

Full of compassion for the sorry state of sinners like us

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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