What does Mark 6:44 mean?
ESV: And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.
NIV: The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.
NASB: There were five thousand men who ate the loaves.
CSB: Now those who had eaten the loaves were five thousand men.
NLT: A total of 5,000 men and their families were fed.
KJV: And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.
NKJV: Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men.
Verse Commentary:
he first people saw Jesus and the Twelve set sail from Capernaum. Some ran so fast they reached the Plain of Bethsaida, six miles away, before the boat landed. Along the way, the crowd grew (Mark 6:33). Matthew 14:21 says that with the five thousand men are an uncounted number of women and children. Bible scholars estimate there may have been between 15,000 and 20,000 people total.

Twenty thousand people drop what they are doing and follow Jesus. They don't stop to get food. They don't know how long they will be gone. They leave behind their local synagogue leaders, the Pharisees, and the rule of Herod Antipas. Nothing in their long-established religion or government can provide for them what Jesus already has. When He is finished healing and expelling demons, they stay to hear Him teach. Mark doesn't even record what He says, but the people are hungry for it.

In another time, as Jesus and the Twelve travel, again met by crowds "like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36; Mark 6:34), Jesus tells them, "The harvest is plentifully, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest" (Matthew 9:37–38).

Many wonder why Jesus didn't stay on earth, preaching and healing. This incident helps to illustrate why. Jesus teaches crowds in Capernaum—it isn't enough. He sends out the Twelve to preach—it isn't enough. He heals and teaches a field filled with upwards of twenty thousand people—it isn't enough. Christ had to physically leave this earth, so the Holy Spirit can indwell all His followers (John 14:25–26). It is the Holy Spirit who reminds us, convicts us, and empowers us to reach others. Jesus is God and the Son of God, but in human form He is only one laborer. He calls all to join Him in reaching the world.
Verse Context:
Mark 6:33–44 provides another depiction of Jesus' miraculous feeding of thousands of people. The Twelve have worked so hard on their first missions trip they haven't had time to eat (Mark 6:31), and an attempt to rest is foiled by a demanding crowd. Instead of avoiding the interlopers, Jesus heals (Matthew 14:14) and teaches them. Instead of dismissing them, He feeds them. The Twelve again witness Jesus' great power and authority but don't catch the lesson: Jesus is God and can provide whatever anyone needs. This story is also found in Matthew 14:13–21 and Luke 9:11–17, and it is one of the few miracles mentioned in John (John 6:2–14). This makes it the only miracle referenced in all four Gospels.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus returns to His hometown of Nazareth, but the people there are faithless and skeptical. As a result, Jesus performs no more than a few minor miracles. He then assigns His twelve apostles to travel in pairs, preaching repentance and healing various conditions. Mark then takes a brief detour to explain the death of John the Baptist, beheaded after Herod Antipas is tricked by his wife. The focus then returns to Jesus, explaining His miraculous feeding of thousands of people, walking on water, and healing people in Gennesaret.
Chapter Context:
Even as the Twelve are given opportunity to wield some of Jesus' power and authority, they still struggle to understand. They misinterpret who He is, what He has come to do, and how much He will ask of them. They fear Jesus' display of deity, but seem to dismiss the murderous rejection of His hometown and the death of John the Baptist. It's easy to have faith in a prophet who seems poised to rescue Israel from foreign rule. It is still beyond them to understand that He is actually God.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 5/26/2024 11:12:56 AM
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