I invite you on a journey through Mark’s Good News about Jesus Christ. We are thinking about what Mark wants to tell us through bread. If you missed where we started, click here. Now, I invite you to consider Mark 8:1-10.
We began our journey watching Jesus feed thousands of people, an event in Jewish territory that told the Jews that God has come and he is feeding his people with bread! Then Jesus takes his disciples to the other side, a bad place with pigs and demons and unclean people. Sure enough, they run into a Syrophoenician woman. What does she get from Jesus? Bread!*
Now we are in Mark 8 and we are going to watch Jesus feed another group of people. Seems like a repeat of the event in Mark 6 but there are subtle but critically important difference. Please read the passage because I have some questions for you.
Who said the people had to be fed?
How many loaves of bread did they have?
How was the crowd arranged when they sat down?
What did Jesus do with the bread?
How many baskets of bread did they gather?
Did anybody go hungry?
Everything in this passage shouts Gentile. How many loves of bread? Seven.
How many baskets of bread left over? Seven. There are no five books of the law here; no twelve tribes of Israel. Seven tells us this is Gentile territory. There were seven nations in Canaan that were sent packing by the Jews. Even their baskets are wrong – spuris baskets, not kophinos, the Jewish word for bread baskets.
This time around, the people need to eat but it’s not the disciples who point this out, it’s Jesus. Back in Jewish territory, the disciples told Jesus their people needed to eat. Now they are silent. Why wouldn’t they want to give them something to eat? These are not God’s people! They don’t know Moses, they don’t keep the commandments! No bread for them!
And yet, did anyone go hungry? No, they all ate and were satisfied.
Are you understanding yet?