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In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, 2 “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. 3 And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” 4 And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?” 5 And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” 6 And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. 7 And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. 8 And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. 9 And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. 10 And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.
11 The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” 13 And he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side.
14 Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”16 And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” 20 “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” 21 And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”
22 And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. 23 And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” 24 And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” 25 Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 And he sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.”
27 And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28 And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” 29 And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” 30 And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.
31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Questions to Consider
1. In verses 1-10, what need of the people had Jesus already met (2), and what need was He about to meet (1-3)? How does this passage demonstrate that God cares about and provides for both our material and spiritual needs? How does this passage mesh with, and provide a real life example of the truth of Matthew 6:25-33? Considering verse 4, why do you think none of the disciples seemed to remember Jesus feeding the 5000 and asked Him to provide in the same way? How could this incident have instilled greater trust and dependence on Christ in the disciples and the crowd?
2. Examine verses 11-13. Compare and contrast the crowd’s satisfaction (8) with the dissatisfaction of the Pharisees. How would you apply the following words to the crowd versus the Pharisees as they related to and interacted with Jesus: enough/not enough, content/discontent, not demanding/demanding, humble/proud? What was Jesus’ response to the Pharisees?
3. Jesus’ teaching, compassion, provision, healing, and miracles were sufficient in God’s eyes to provide for the spiritual needs of all people and to fulfill God’s purposes, yet the Pharisees judged God’s ways not to be enough to satisfy them and demanded signs and miracles that were above and beyond God’s ways. Compare the Pharisees and their demands with “churches” today who are not satisfied with God’s sufficient written Word and ways, and demand things like hearing God’s voice, ecstatic utterances (“speaking in tongues”), faith healing, fortune telling-esque “prophecies,” miracles, etc.
4. Read verses 14-21 in light of the miracle the disciples had just witnessed in verses 1-10, the interaction between Jesus and the Pharisees in verses 11-13, and the fact that the disciples had forgotten to bring bread (14,16). Notice how Jesus uses a metaphorical interplay between “bread” (1-10, 14,16) and “leaven” (15). What does this passage teach us about rightly handling God’s word? How did the disciples mess up by taking Jesus’ words literally instead of metaphorically, as He meant them? Compare Jesus’ use of metaphor here to “He said this plainly” in verse 32. What did Jesus’ warning in verse 15 mean? Re-read question 3 above. What teaching(s) of the Pharisees was Jesus warning against?
5. Compare the healing of the blind man in verses 22-26 to healings we’ve seen in previous lessons. How did the man get to Jesus, and who interceded for him? (22) Why did Jesus take him out of the village before healing him (23) and instruct him not to return afterwards (26)? What method did Jesus use for healing the man? (23-25)
6. Examine verses 27-38. Think about what John the Baptist, Elijah, and the Old Testament prophets preached and the miracles they (Elijah and the prophets) performed. Considering what the people had seen Jesus do and heard Him preach, why would they more readily have compared Jesus to John and the prophets than recognizing Him as the Messiah (hint: think about the kind of messiah they were expecting)?
7. Most of Israel, including at least some of the disciples, expected a Messiah like David- one who would free them from Roman tyranny, reestablish Israel as an independent nation, and reign as a literal, political king. Compare Peter’s identification of Jesus as the Messiah (29) with his rebuke of Jesus (32) for saying that He would be crucified. What kind of Messiah do you think Peter was expecting? Why would Peter have been surprised or confused when Jesus said He would suffer, be rejected, and be killed? (31-32)
8. What is the significance of Jesus “turning and seeing His disciples” in verse 33? Compare Jesus’ rebuke of Peter (33) to Jesus’ rebuke (12) and warning (15) about the Pharisees. In what ways were they each believing and spreading “leaven” (false doctrine)? How were each setting their minds on the things of man instead of the things of God? (33)
9. Imagine you’re one of the disciples listening to what Jesus is saying in verses 31-38. What might you be thinking as Jesus dispels the idea that He will reign over Israel as an earthly king (and that you might have a significant position in His court), and teaches the exact opposite: that He will be humiliated, rejected, and murdered, and that the same is in store for His followers? Consider your own service to Christ- do you serve Him hoping for glory and high position, or do you embrace anonymity, suffering, persecution, and humiliation?
Take some time to examine the Open Doors web site. What might Jesus’ words in 34-38 mean to a Christian in North Korea, Somalia, or Afghanistan compared to a Christian in the United States?
Suggested Memory Verse
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.