Mark 8:1-10 (ESV)
1 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.
Jesus continued to travel and teach others, ending up on the east side of the Sea of Galilee. He was in Gentile territory again. The crowd with him had followed him for days! They were hungry and weak. Jesus felt sorry for them and didn’t want to send them home with no food. What if they fainted on their way back? So, it was time to feed another crowd, although this time the crowd was made of up Gentiles. Again, the disciples wondered how Jesus would provide for so many people in such a desolate place. Where would they get bread or fish for such a large crowd? Jesus asked his disciples how many loaves they had. They had collected seven loves and a few small fish. Jesus took the food, thanked God for it, and had the people sit down. God miraculously multiplied the bread and the fish so that all who were present ate and were full. Plus, seven large baskets of food were left over. Right after they finished, Jesus and the disciples got into a boat and made their way back to the west side of the Sea of Galilee.
Mark had just recorded the feeding of the five thousand (6:36-44). Now he records the feeding of the seven thousand. In both stories, large crowds gathered, Jesus had compassion upon the people, the disciples didn’t know how Jesus would feed so many, the people sat down, Jesus gave thanks for the food, they ate bread and fish, all were full, and there was food left over. Whew! That seems like the same incident, doesn’t it? Why would Jesus repeat and Mark record such similar episodes? Well, the disciples weren’t “getting it” regarding who Jesus was and what he expected from them (6:52). He was patient though, and continued to teach, illustrate, and even prove the truths he wanted them to learn. Think about yourself. Is there an area that Jesus keeps “revisiting” in your life? Maybe some unique circumstance happens over and over again. Perhaps you fail to respond in faith when it comes to a certain situation. Or maybe you are just continually convicted about something you need to change, but haven’t done so yet. If so, ask Jesus for faith to learn and properly respond to what he’s trying to teach you. Don’t let more time go by. Instead, do what Jesus is calling you to do today!