What does Mark 8:4 mean?
ESV: And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?”
NIV: His disciples answered, 'But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?'
NASB: And His disciples replied to Him, 'Where will anyone be able to find enough bread here in this desolate place to satisfy these people?'
CSB: His disciples answered him, "Where can anyone get enough bread here in this desolate place to feed these people? "
NLT: His disciples replied, 'How are we supposed to find enough food to feed them out here in the wilderness?'
KJV: And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?
Verse Commentary:
"Bread" is from the Greek root word artos. It can mean flatbread like pita bread or naan, but it can also refer to food in general. "Desolate" is from the Greek root word eremia. The desolation can refer to population, as in uninhabited or lonely, or the geography, as in a wasteland or wilderness. The use of the word "disciples" indicates that more than just the Twelve have traveled with Jesus.

The question the disciples ask Jesus poses one of the great mysteries of the Bible. Not long before, Jesus had fed a crowd of five thousand men plus women and children with five loaves of bread and two small fish (Mark 6:38)—and the food wasn't even theirs (John 6:9). Why don't the disciples seem to remember?

There are a few possible reasons. If there are more disciples than just the Twelve, it could be that those who asked the question had not been at the earlier feeding outside of Bethsaida. Or, it may be that after three days, the disciples are tired, hungry, and not thinking straight. In those three days, it's very possible they have been busy keeping order, making sure the sick and injured can reach Jesus, and protecting Jesus from getting mobbed. It's possible that they have been working under their own strength for so long they assume Jesus wants them to tackle this issue, as well. Or it may be that facing a crowd of Jews and Gentiles in a Gentile territory has overwhelmed their senses. How do you even feed this many Gentiles? And how can the Jews get clean bread out here?

Although Jesus later rebukes the disciples for forgetting His power (Mark 8:18–21), here He shows grace and patience. It often takes us time to remember that although kingdom work may involve all our concentration and effort, it also requires God's intervention. If He asks us to do something, it doesn't necessarily mean we can; it means He can through us.
Verse Context:
Mark 8:1–10 is the third of a series of stories about bread and the proper place of ceremonial cleanness. In Mark 7:1–5, the Pharisees condemn Jesus' disciples for eating bread with unclean hands. In Mark 7:24–30, a Syrophoenician woman boldly requests the metaphoric ''crumbs'' of God's provision. Here, Jesus feeds bread to a great crowd of Gentiles and Jews. Later, He will equate the insidious false teachings of the Pharisees with leaven (Mark 8:14–21). This account is also found in Matthew 15:32–39.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter describes another miraculous feeding of thousands by Jesus. He also counters the hard-hearted and selfish hypocrisy of the Pharisees in seeking even more miraculous signs. Speaking to the disciples, Jesus rebukes their short memories and reminds them about God's intent to provide for His followers. After healing a blind man, Jesus accepts Peter's proclamation that Jesus is the Messiah. Almost immediately, though, Jesus rebukes Peter for resisting the idea that the Messiah must suffer and die.
Chapter Context:
Mark 8 continues Jesus' attempts to teach the disciples God's plan for the Messiah. Jesus has not come for the religious Pharisees but for the meek who willingly respond to Him. He has not yet come as the glorious and victorious champion of Israel, but to die for the whole world. And His followers must also be willing to sacrifice their lives. The chapter marks a turning point in Jesus' ministry as His miracles grow fewer and His teaching increases. Interestingly, Jesus also faces a repeat of the temptations He experienced in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1–11).
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 4/18/2024 6:44:32 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.