Jesus and People’s Need



Churches are present whether it’s an

  • Tsunami in Asia[1]
  • Earthquake in Nepal[2]
  • A hurricane on the Gulf of New Orleans, the coast of New Jersey, or the heart of Texas[3]
  • Dry Fires in the West Coast[4]
  • Chaos in the cities[5]
  • Or starving in Nicaragua[6]


The model for Christian believers to minister to the hurts, hang-ups, and hopes of people is the life of Jesus.



  • Love God / Live Loved
  • Love Others / Live Jesus
  • Lead Generations


Today’s message is Mark 8:1-21 with Jesus feeding a crowd of 4,000 people.


EXAMINE       Mark 8:1-21               Jesus and People’s Needs

Previously I preached on Jesus feeding the 5,000 (Mark 6).[7] The comparison of the 5K with 4K are similar but different, so not to be confused as the same event. I haven’t preached in the latter miracle, which we ready today.


Mark 6:30-44 / Matthew 14:13-21 / Luke 9:10-17 / John 6:1-14 Mark 8:1-21 / Matthew 15:32-39
Feeding 5,000 men (10,000-15,000+) Feeding 4,000 men (8,000 – 12,000+)
At Bethsaida – with primarily Jews. At Decapolis – with primarily Gentiles.
Jesus & disciples return from long ministry journey. Jesus teaching for 3 days
New crowd emerges with Jesus teaching and disciples initiated the topic of feeding. Same crowd after teaching days with Jesus initiating the topic of feeding, emphasizing Jesus’s care for the Gentiles to Mark’s Roman audience.
Disciples wanted to send crowd away. Disciples doubted ability to feed.
Started with 5 bread loaves and 2 fish(ἰχθύς). Started with 7 bread loaves and few small fish or sardines[8] (ἰχθύδιον)
Jesus blessed and disciples distributed with all eating to satisfaction. Jesus blessed and disciples distributed with all eating to satisfaction.
Leftovers of 12 smaller baskets (κόφινος) full. Leftovers of 7 large baskets (σπυρίς) full.


In reflecting on Mark 8 we can discover truths on how Jesus meets the needs of people and we should consider today.

To reach the multitudes, we must believe Jesus has abundant compassion (Mark 8:1-3).

As viewed in the above chart contrasting the two crowd feeding miracles, in this one Jesus is initiated by Jesus. Jesus speaks, “I have compassion on the crowd…” The word for compassion (σπλαγχνίζομαι) speaks of absolute affection from the deep inward parts. It’s like us saying, “I love you with all my heart” or “I love you with every fiber of my being.” The word is often used of Jesus’s care for people with significant need.[9] In this case, Jesus recognizes the people’s extended three-day stay with His teaching ministry, and if they were to attempt returning home they would likely collapse or faint.



This past week was Presidents’ Day. One of our great POTUS was Abraham Lincoln for both his leadership and his character. Lincoln had a reputation for being compassionate and granting pardons for people in trouble. During the early days of the war, a son in the Union Army was convicted of significant crimes and sentenced to be shot. The boy’s father came to the POTUS office to plead for leniency and the life of his only son. While the father was in the office, Lincoln received a telegram from one of his generals which said, “Mr. President, I beg you not to interfere with the court-martials of this army. You will destroy all discipline in the army.” Lincoln showed the telegram to the father and the man quickly became disheartened. However, Lincoln sent a reply telegram to his general saying, “Job Smith is not to be shot until further orders from me.  Abraham Lincoln.” When the boy’s father heard the telegram reply, he was thankful but not fully satisfied. He questioned Lincoln saying, “This is no pardon and you may order him to be shot next week!” to which Lincoln replied, “Sir, evidently you do not understand my character. If your son is never shot until an order comes from me, he will live to be as old as Methuselah.”[10] By the way, Methuselah lived to be 969 years old (Gen 5:27).

  • It can be easy to get distracted or discouraged from God’s care for us. We need to be repeatedly reminded.
  • If you doubt God’s care for you, then you must not know the character of God and the compassion of Jesus. One of the reasons why we are reading the Gospels and every year I preach through a portion of the Gospels is to familiarize us with Jesus and keep fresh in our heart how much Jesus cares and is ready to respond to the needs in your life. Jesus took on flesh so that we may come face to face with the heart of God.
  • To reach people, we have to believe God has compassion for people and He cares more than we do. Since God care is greater than ours, then we cannot allow our love to grow cynical, cold, or callous.


  • God is like a father whose child ran away and anxiously awaiting word or sight of their return home; and when they are found, he is filled with compassion and affection (cf. Luke 15:20-21, ff.)


  • “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)


  • Psalm 86:15 “But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”


  • Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”


To reach the multitudes, we must believe Jesus has abundant capability (Mark 8:4-10).

Jesus-feeding crowdThe disciples were doubtful and dismissive of how Jesus could provide enough food for the crowd. However, Jesus would not be deterred. He questioned the disciples, “How many loaves [of bread] do you have?” Likely, Jesus knew the amount of food present, but He asked the disciples 1) to facilitate their learning and faith challenge, and 2) to frame the circumstances as hopeless apart from the miraculous capability of Jesus.

There was only seven loaves of bread and a few small fish; the word used is distinct from the feeding of the 5K in that here the word represents very small fish, like sardines (ἰχθύδιον).[11] The number seven (7) is perhaps representative to say that what the disciples had was sufficient for Jesus to do work, yet any number of fish surrendered to God for multiplication in His kingdom would be adequate and ample. Further, the number seven (7) could also represent the full number of Gentile nations (Deuteronomy 7:1 “the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites”).[12]

  • Do we believe Jesus is who He says He is and whom we say we believe? In reaching people, we must believe that Jesus is capable as God to do what it takes to meet needs and awaken hearts. Our faith in God must be like the four friends who had faith for another to be healed (Mark 2:4).
    • Only Jesus can multiply bread to miraculously feed the crowd.
    • Only Jesus – the Savior of the world – could supply food and satisfy the soul of Jews AND Gentiles.
      • The bread Jesus offers wasn’t just to minimize starving mouths but to maximize spiritual satisfaction. Jesus is the bread of life for us to feast on in faith that is the foundation for life – eternal life.


After eating and being satisfied, Jesus ἀπολύω – dismissed or set free. Indeed, Jesus set these Gentiles free to know God’s capability to supply and satisfy. Likewise, there were leftovers of 7 large baskets (σπυρίς)[13] full – again signifying the completeness and abundance of God’s provision.

As Jesus liberated the crowds the Pharisees sought to turn Jesus into a proof maker or miracle worker, demanding repeated signs (Mark 8:13). To Jesus, His miracles already had meaning that pointed to His identity as the “bread of life.” Jesus wouldn’t succumb to performing magic tricks or becoming a political messiah. Jesus’s aim was greater than an earthly kingdom saving a single ethnic culture but the kingdom of God that saves every person who believes in the Lordship of Christ.

As Christians today, we have to ask ourselves what are we attempting to save?

  • What if we achieved every political agenda purposed in whatever party you belong? What if we could achieve world peace and justice for all? What if we could care for creation and save the environment? What if we could do all that but generations still die without spending eternity with Jesus in heaven? You see, all our good deeds and service to humanity falls short if we miss sharing the gospel and people come to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
    • Jesus’s disciples faced the same question: Simon the Zealot (Jewish nationalist) vs Matthew the tax collector (favored Roman Government). The disciples likely had lively political discussions with people on polar ends of the political spectrum. But Jesus – the gospel – was the source of reconciliation and unity. And think about these disciples – it’s not that they lost their opinions or personality, but they simply had a greater purpose and mission for which to live.
    • But still realize, the gospel and Christianity still leads to social influence and justice for peoples.
      • Slave trade brought to end in Europe by Christians William Wilberforce, etc.
      • Hospitals, Schools, Scientific advance largely due to Christians.
      • Compassion for needs today… Jesus’s miracles have a message for the church that hungry bellies have no ears. So, in sharing the gospel we must also spread love, meet needs of people. Yet, still church can’t swing pendulum too far as aim may be to alleviate suffering, but most of all eternal suffering.


This week:

  • Billy Graham died this week. While we should rightfully lament a great man of God who exalted the Savior and evangelized sinners, we should also labor and pray for the next Billy, Betty & on.
    • Too often we are comfortable with spectator Christianity where we let others do the work that Jesus wants everyone to be involved.
      • Suppose you had the choice between $1 each day for a year or $.01 doubled each day for a year, which would you choose?
        • $1 each day totals $365
        • $.01 doubled each day totals over $10million

Day 1: $.01
Day 2: $.02
Day 3: $.04
Day 4: $.08
Day 5: $.16
Day 6: $.32
Day 7: $.64
Day 8: $1.28
Day 9: $2.56
Day 10: $5.12
Day 11: $10.24
Day 12: $20.48
Day 13: $40.96
Day 14: $81.92
Day 15: $163.84
Day 16: $327.68
Day 17: $655.36
Day 18: $1,310.72
Day 19: $2,621.44
Day 20: $5,242.88
Day 21: $10,485.76
Day 22: $20,971.52
Day 23: $41,943.04
Day 24: $83,886.08
Day 25: $167,772.16
Day 26: $335,544.32
Day 27: $671,088.64
Day 28: $1,342,177.28
Day 29: $2,684,354.56
Day 30: $5,368,709.12

Day 31: $10,737,418.20


  • Likewise, if we valued shared Christianity vs spectator christianity then we wouldn’t be content for celebrity Christians doing all the evangelism while the church largely sits back. Too many are holding on for heaven while harvest is abundant but workers few. Jesus didn’t give His life for believers to hold on but to get involved in spreading love & sharing Jesus one conversation at a time.
    • Imagine if ~100+ SPBC members each reached one person for Jesus this year and repeated that with those persons coming to faith doing the same. In 10 years we’d have the largest church in NA. The goal isn’t a crowded church but a crowded heaven.


  • Year 1: 200
  • Year 2: 400
  • Year 3: 800
  • Year 4: 1600
  • Year 5: 3200
  • Year 6: 6400
  • Year 7: 12,800
  • Year 8: 25,600
  • Year 9: 51,200
  • Year 10: 102,400




  • Jesus has compassion…
    • Provide bread
    • Provide bread of life


  • Each One, Reach One…
    • EASTER 2018 on 4/1 – – – Pray at 4 O’clock or 1 O’clock; you decide AM or PM 😊
    • 9Arts starts next week







[7] and and

[8] James Edwards, Pillar NT Commentary, Mark 8:1.


[10] Clarence Edward Macartney’s Illustration as quoted in R. Kent Hughes PTW Commentary, Mark 6:30.

[11] James Edwards, Pillar NT Commentary, Mark 8:1.

[12] Ibid, Mark 8:5.

[13] Cf Acts 9:25 where the large basket can fit a human person, so the food leftovers are abundant.

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