The Savior Who Cares
by Alan Carr
Gospel Reading: St. Mark 8:1-9
Jesus is still in Gentile country. He has been trying to teach His disciples the truth that no person in the world is off limits to the Gospel message. As religious Jews, the disciples would have been raised up to consider Gentiles off limits. They would have been taught that they should have no contact with someone who was not a Jew. Jesus wanted His men to understand that He came into the world to save His people, wherever they might be found.
To drive this truth home to them, Jesus took them into a predominately Gentile area. First, he healed the daughter of a Canaanite woman. Then, He healed a man who was deaf and who had a speech impediment.
As soon as that miracle is accomplished, Jesus began to teach the people the Word of God. When this passage opens, Jesus has been teaching this multitude for three days. (Ill. It’s hard to get people to stay with you past 12:00 PM on Sunday, much less three days.) When He is finished, and Jesus is ready to send the multitudes away, He acknowledges the fact that the people have no food. He cannot send them away fasting. If He does, He knows that some might faint from hunger as they headed toward their homes. So, Jesus does what He did earlier in His ministry, Mark 6:34-44, He fed the hungry multitude through a powerful miracle.
There are some clear similarities between this miraculous feeding of the people
and the first one.
· Both miracles involved huge crowds.
· Both miracles took place in a location where no food was available.
· In both miracles Jesus used a small amount of food to feed a lot of people.
· Both miracles involved the use of bread and fish.
· In both miracles Jesus involved the disciples.
· In both miracles the disciples doubted the Lord’s ability to meet the need.
· In both miracles Jesus asked the question, "How many loaves have ye?"
· In both miracles, Jesus took what He had, thanked God for it, and broke it.
· In both miracles the bread and fish multiplied in the hands of Jesus.
· In both miracles the crowds were entirely satisfied.
· In both miracles a large amount of food was left over.
While there are many similarities, there are also several differences between
this miracle and the first.
· The number of people fed in this miracle is different; 5,000 versus 4,000.
· The amount of bread used in this miracle is different; 5 loaves verses 7 loaves.
· The amount of food left over in this miracle is different; 12 small baskets verses 7 large baskets.
· The first miracle took place after a day of teaching. This one took place after three days of teaching.
· In the first miracle Jesus was motivated by the spiritual needs of the crowd, Mark 6:34. In this miracle Jesus is motivated by the physical needs of the crowd.
· The first miracle was performed using food from an outside source, John 6:9. In this miracle, it appears that Jesus used what the disciples already possessed.
· The first miracle was designed to teach the disciples that Jesus was "the Bread of Life" for the Jews. This miracle is designed to teach them that Jesus is "the Bread of Life" for the world.
Above all, this miracle reveals Jesus to be The Savior Who Cares. It teaches us that He cares about the spiritual side of our lives; He also cares about the material side of our lives. I would like for us to examine this miracle today. As we do, I want you to catch a glimpse of The Savior Who Cares.
I. THE MULTITUDES AND THEIR NEED
· These people have been with Jesus for three days. They are having an old-fashioned "camp meeting" and Jesus is doing the preaching. Now, the teaching has ended and Jesus is ready to dismiss the service. He knows that the people have used up all their food and have nothing to eat on their journey to their homes.
According to verse 3, some of the people had traveled a long distance to hear
Jesus. This crowd of people had a common human need that they could not meet
· We all find ourselves in the same predicament from time to time. There are times when we all have periods of physical, material need.
· In all honesty, I sometimes hesitate to preach on our physical and material needs. There is so much preaching that centers itself in that area. But, you need to know that God cares!
Ø The children of Israel lacked food and water as they journeyed in the wilderness – Ex. 16:3; 17:2.
Ø David faced a time when he had no food to eat – 1 Sam. 21:3.
Ø Even Jesus knew the depths of poverty, hunger and thirst – Matt. 4:2; 8:20; John 19:28; 2 Cor. 8:9.
Ø Jesus also experienced unimaginable pain and suffering – Isa. 50:6; 53:4-6;
52:14; Matt. 26:67; 27:29-30.
· We all know that this world is a place of suffering, Job 14:1; 5:7; John 16:33.
Ø Most people in this room are familiar with the agony of physical pain.
Ø Most know the uncertainty and problems that come with financial stress.
Ø Some have lived through the torture of emotional and spiritual problems.
Ø Nearly everyone here knows what it means to hurt and to hurt deeply.
· That is our common experience in this world. Solomon said it this way, "For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun? For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity," Ecc. 2:22-23. I think we all understand the truth that we all have needs in our lives.
II. THE MASTER AND HIS COMPASSION
· Verse 2 tells us that Jesus saw the crowds and He knew their need. These people had been with Him for three days, now they are tired and hungry. He knows that they cannot possibly make the trip to their homes without dropping by the wayside from hunger.
These verses tell us that Jesus says, "I have compassion on them". This means
that "His heart went out to them". Compassion is "sympathy coupled with a desire
to help". He was moved by their need and He decided to do something about it.
· Five times in the Gospels it is recorded that Jesus was "moved with compassion". That is what the writer of the Gospels said about Him. In this passage, Jesus says "I have compassion on them". This is a glimpse inside the heart of the Lord Jesus. He is telling His disciples that He sees a need and He is determined to do something about it.
· I praise the Lord that we serve a Savior Who cares, Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 5:7. The word "careth" in 1 Pet. 5:7 has the idea of "taking an interest in someone". Our Lord is interested in the things that affect your life!
· This kind of concern and compassion can be seen throughout the pages of the Word of God. We serve a God Who cares!
Ø Who among us would have cared about the needs of the nation of Israel? All they did was gripe, complain and bellyache. Still, God cared about them! He gave them food and water. He was ever present with them. He subdued all their enemies. He performed miracle after miracle on their behalf.
Ø Who would have cared about a slave named Hagar and her son? God cared! He came to her personally and provided all she needed to survive her wilderness experience.
Ø Who would have cared about a Gentile widow and her son who were starving to death? God cared and He sent a man of God to her house so that He might bless and use her to meet the need of Elijah.
Ø Hundreds of people died every day in Israel while Jesus was here. Who would have cared if a man named Lazarus, a little twelve-year-old girl, or the only son of a poor widow had died? Jesus cared and He raised them all from the dead!
Ø Who would have cared if a bunch of God-rejecting, Christ-hating sinners died
and went to Hell? God cared because He sent His Son to die for those sinners,
John 3:16. Jesus cared because He willingly took our place on the cross, Isa.
53:4-6; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24.
· I praise the Lord that we serve a God Who genuinely cares about the needs of His people. We should never hesitate to bring our needs to Him! He knows our situation, Job 23:10. And He cares about our need, "The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry," Psa. 34:15. He cares about you!
Jesus invites us to come to Him, Matt. 11:28. We should heed His call and bring our needs to Him. He will help us in the time of our trouble, Heb. 4:16; Phil. 4:6-7; Psa. 46:1.
III. THE MIRACLE AND ITS LESSONS
· Having declared His desire to feed the multitudes, verse 3, Jesus is immediately met with doubt, verse 4. The disciples have already seen Jesus feed five thousand men besides women and children, and they still doubt His ability to do the impossible.
In verse 5, Jesus asks them the same question that He asked them the first time He miraculously fed the multitudes, Mark 6:38. He asks them "How many loaves have ye?" In the first miracle they went into the crowd to see how much food was available. In this miracle, the disciples are called on to give up what little they have.
As He did the first time, Jesus took the small amount of food that was available, and thanked God for it. He then broke it and gave it to His men to give to the crowd. Just as it did the first time, the loaves and the fishes multiplied as He broke them. The miracle took place in the hand of the Lord.
When the meal was finished and all were filled, verse 8, the disciples collected the leftovers. In the first miracle, they collected twelve baskets full. In this miracle, they collected seven baskets full, verse 8.
The basket referred to in the first miracle was a small basket that would hold
an amount sufficient for one person. The word basket here refers to a basket
large enough to hold a man. It is the same word used for the basket that some
men used to lower Paul down the outer walls of the city of Jerusalem, when he
needed to make a hasty escape Acts 9:26. In this miracle, the amount of food
that was left over was enormous! It could possibly have been several hundred
· There are several lessons we can glean from this miracle. Let me share some of them with you today.
Ø This miracle reminds us that Jesus is the universal Savior. When Jesus fed the five thousand, Mark 6:35-44, the crowd was made up of Jews. When this miracle is performed, Jesus is in a part of the country that is mostly Gentile. He wants His disciples to know that He came to save people from every "every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people," Rev. 14:6. Yes, Jesus came as the Jewish Messiah, but He came knowing the Jews would reject Him, John 1:11.
But, ultimately, Jesus came to this world to die on the cross for the sins of
His people, Matt. 1:21. Jesus came to give His life for "whosoever" would trust
Him for salvation, Rev. 22:17. He is the only Savior, John 14:6. He is a
universal Savior, John 3:16.
· This miracle reminds us that Jesus is more than sufficient to meet the needs that exist in His people’s lives. Consider Eph. 3:20. That verse reminds us that He is able to do anything.
ü He is able to meet the needs in your life, Matt. 6:25-34. It does not matter how big your giant; how tall your mountain; how deep your valley; He is more than sufficient for the need!
ü He is able to give you comfort through all the storms of life, 2 Cor. 12:9.
ü He is able to empower you to do His will, Phil. 4:13.
ü He is able to walk with you every mile of the way, Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20.
ü He is able to be exactly Who you need Him to be in all the stages of your life, Ex. 3:14; Psa. 84:11-12.
ü His supply always meets or exceeds the need! Only He can do that!
Ø This miracle reminds us that He has all that we need for the journey home. When the people were filled, Jesus had His men collect the remnants of the meal and He sent the people away. What did they do with seven baskets full of food? These baskets could hold a couple of hundred pounds each! I am just speculating, but I think that the people were encouraged to take some with them so they would have enough along the way home.
Praise His Name, He has everything we need to see us all the way home. Like Eliezer, Gen. 24:10; 22; 53, the Holy Ghost provides us with incentives to keep on going. Sometimes the way gets hard and the flesh gets weary, but God sees to it that we have everything we need to see us all the way home! The good Holy Ghost keeps reaching into the bag of grace and handing out the riches of the Master. None of His people will faint by the wayside! Every single one of them will make it home, John 6:37-40.
Ø This miracle reminds us that we are a people of little faith. The disciples had already seen Jesus feed a greater crowd with less food, but they still doubted Him when this problem arose. Now, we are the same way! Those men should have looked at that crowd and said, "Folks, don’t worry! We know you are hungry, but we also know that Jesus has a plan to feed you. Just sit back and watch as He reaches into Heaven’s ovens and produces enough bread and fish for every one of you. We hope you’re hungry, because Jesus is about to spread the table and it is going to be full!"
How many times has the Lord come through for you? How many times has He moved a mountain for you? How many times has He brought you through your valley? How many times has He come through for you when there seems to be no way through? And how many times have you still doubted Him when the next trial came up in your life? Oh, we are a people of small faith!
How much better off would we be if we could just learn to trust Him?
· How much better off would we be if we adopted the attitude of Job, Job 1:20-21, "Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."
· How much better off would we be if we adopted the attitude of Paul, 2 Cor. 12:9-10, "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
· How much better off would we be if we just took the simple advice of Jesus to heart? In Mark 11:22-24 Jesus said, "But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee."
Ø This miracle reminds us that our God is not a stingy God. He proved more than enough for those people and it is His desire to give you more than enough as well, Luke 12:32; John 10:10. (Ill. He is the God of the superlative – Gen. 1:20; Ex. 15:1; Heb. 7:25. Our God is the God of the more! He has more love; more mercy; more grace; more blessings; more of everything than you will ever need! Thank God, He has more!)
Ø This miracle teaches us that great things can happen if we can just get the need into His hands! A small amount of bread and fish became sufficient for a multitude because they got it into His hands.
Do you have a need? Get it into His hands today! Does your marriage need His touch? Get it into His hands today! Does your spiritual walk need to be restored and reinvigorated? Get it into His hands today! Whatever the need may be, get it into His hands today!
Conclusion: What are you looking at today?
· Are you staring at an impossible situation wondering how it will turn out? Get it to Jesus; He is the Savior Who cares!
· Are you lost and in need of a Savior? Do you understand that the only way you will ever be saved is to come to the Lord Jesus by faith? Get it to Jesus; He is the Savior Who cares!
· Are your mountains high and your valleys deep today? Does your heart break under the load it carries? Get it to Jesus; He is the Savior Who cares!
· Whatever the need, if the Lord has spoken to your heart today, get it to Jesus; He is the Savior Who cares!
Copyright 2003 by Alan Carr
Sermons and Bible Commentaries for the 8th Sunday after Pentecost
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