Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 3 Study # 1
September 13, 2009
10 And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.
11 And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.
12 And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place.
13 But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people.
14 For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company.
15 And they did so, and made them all sit down.
16 Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude.
17 And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets.
1901 ASV Translation:
10 And the apostles, when they were returned, declared unto him what things they had done. And he took them, and withdrew apart to a city called Bethsaida.
11 But the multitudes perceiving it followed him: and he welcomed them, and spake to them of the kingdom of God, and them that had need of healing he cured.
12 And the day began to wear away; and the twelve came, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages and country round about, and lodge, and get provisions: for we are here in a desert place.
13 But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more than five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy food for all this people.
14 For they were about five thousand men. And he said unto his disciples, Make them sit down in companies, about fifty each.
15 And they did so, and made them all sit down.
16 And he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake; and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude.
17 And they ate, and were all filled: and there was taken up that which remained over to them of broken pieces, twelve baskets.
- I. The Prelude.
- A. The apostles return and report. The "return" was to wherever Jesus was at the time and the "report" was of the things that they had done in "preaching" and "healing". These activities are, contextually, what caught Herod's attention, but, obviously, after they were done. We have no time frame for them (we have no idea how long they were gone). These activities raised the question of Jesus' specific identity, an issue that Luke focused upon in 9:7-36 (minimally; this is Luke's undergirding "issue" in this entire chapter) and the issue that is predominant in the words of Luke 9 -- "following Jesus".
- B. Jesus, with them, withdrew to Bethsaida. The rationale for identifying this place is not superficially identifiable. Obviously Luke had his reason(s), but, just as obviously, we will have to do some careful pondering in order to uncover it/them. Interestingly, the last thing we are told by Luke in the preceding verse is that Herod wanted to see Jesus. Why did Luke think we needed to know that? Since the brute had beheaded John, there is no reason to think that he could not have "seen" Him if he really wanted to unless there was some kind of hindrance. It is possible, according to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia article on "Bethsaida" that the region to which Jesus withdrew was under Philip's control (Luke 3:1). Since being "seen" by Herod was inherently dangerous (as John discovered), and Jesus was to be slain in Jerusalem (13:31), it makes sense that Jesus would move just over the border to make accessibility by Herod's troops a bit more difficult. However, as soon as the multitude was dismissed in John's record (John 6:17) He sent His disciples back to Capernaum. Given the fact that these days are not recorded in specific time frames, we have no idea as to how much time elapsed between the recorded events. Clearly Herod's desire to see Jesus may not have resulted in any kind of "orders to the troops" if he was told that Jesus was in Philip's territories. In any case, the question is of Luke's record and why he would have told us the things he did. It seems that Luke is dealing with the reality of the conflict between the "rulers of this world" and the "Ruler of the Kingdom of God" as an underlying thesis of the expected opposition to the preaching regarding the Kingdom (9:5). Bottom line: Jesus withdrew to a city named, according to Strong, "House of Fish" in order to feed five thousand men with two fish.
- C. The multitudes followed. The word Luke used for "the people" (AV) or "the multitudes" (ASV) is associated by him in this Gospel with a mindless, self-seeking mass among whom are they who would become disciples of Jesus. It is clear from the near context (9:18-19) that "the people/the multitudes" are unable to come to grips with the implications of Jesus' deeds though they have no problem with "knowing" something. Luke said, "Now the crowds, having known, followed him...". The question is this: what did they know? The answer does not seem difficult: they found out where He had gone. But, Luke deliberately used the word "followed". This is the key verbal issue of Luke 9. Jesus, in this chapter, said "...If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me" (9:23). He also responded to a man who claimed he would "follow" by pointing out the cost involved (9:57-58). He summoned one to "follow" who claimed to be willing after he did some other thing (9:59-60) and He refused to permit another to even go home to tell his family 'farewell' (9:61-62).
- D. He welcomed them and spoke to them of the Kingdom of God and healed those in need.
- E. The disciples told Him to send the multitude away to find lodging and food.
- F. He told them to feed the crowd.
- G. They objected.
- H. He told the disciples to organize the crowd into groups of 50 and seat them.
- I. They did as He instructed.
- II. The Event.
- A. He took five loaves and two fish.
- B. He looked to heaven.
- C. He "blessed" the food.
- D. He gave food to the disciples until all were fed.
- E. When all were filled, the leftovers were gathered into twelve baskets.
- III. The Point.
- A. Jesus was able to feed five thousand men with five loaves and two fish.
- B. Jesus was capable of being the resource of Life for five thousand men. Clearly He was capable of being "the Christ", an identity not mentioned in the prior paragraph regarding Herod who was not capable of being a resource of Life for anyone. This is the point, given the following paragraph.
- C. Jesus was interested in getting folks ready for participation in the Kingdom of God, not becoming the local Super Wal-Mart or being the tourist attraction for the businesses of Bethsaida.