And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened. — Mark 6:51-52
When I was about fourteen years old, my dad took me to a trout fishing resort in Canada. Near our destination, a man met us in an open boat to take us to the lodge. He had several more boats behind him that were to carry us and our fishing gear through a chain of lakes to the remote resort.
There were big fish in those lakes, and over the next several days, I was pleased with my catches. At the lodge, the men would talk to me and want to know my secret for success. It seemed strange to me that, even though I was young, they treated me like a fishing expert because I was catching fish. They scrutinized the smallest details of how my line was fixed, what bait I used, and many other specifications I had not even thought about. However, they seemed to ignore my comment that I woke up early in the morning, and instead of fishing at the main lake, hiked up a trail to one of the smaller lakes. I suspect they missed that point because they did not want to hear it. The larger lakes were more accessible, and they wanted the convenient way.
It seems that often we humans can be slow to catch on to a concept or principle. Sometimes, as in the case of the fishermen I met, it is because we do not want to hear. At other times, the concept itself may be difficult to grasp. And sometimes we might just be thickheaded. The focus verse says the disciples’ hearts were “hardened.” In this context, hardened does not mean cruel, but rather dull or calloused. Their minds were not always able to grasp the miracles that Jesus worked right before their eyes. The disciples did not immediately recognize that a significant miracle had occurred when Jesus fed the five thousand with only five loaves of bread and two small fish. Consequently, they were “sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered” when they saw Jesus walk on the water.
Are we ever “hardened” Christians? Like the disciples, do we sometimes have difficulty seeing, comprehending, and accepting the miracles of God? We want to use our eyes of faith to see God at work in every area of our lives. He truly is a miracle-working God, and He is working miracles on our behalf! Let’s be sure we grasp the point today!
After the disciples returned from their evangelistic trips and gave their reports to Jesus (Mark 6:7-13), He suggested a rest. They departed privately, but were observed by some who ran on foot and were waiting when the disciples and Jesus arrived at their intended resting place. Although the trip was shorter by boat than on foot, those in the boat were dependent upon sufficient and cooperative winds.
Jesus saw the people, and He had compassion on them. Compassion means “a pity communicated by assistance.” Jesus knew that just as sheep scatter easily and are in danger if they do not have a shepherd, so the people needed guidance to follow God. Therefore, He taught them.
At Jesus’ command to feed the people, the disciples said it would take “two hundred pennyworth,” which was equivalent to six or eight months of wages. The disciples collected the food that was available, which was not much. The word translated “brake” is in a tense that indicates an instantaneous, completed action. The word translated “gave” shows continuing action. This could indicate that Jesus’ supply never diminished, or that the supply in the baskets from which the disciples distributed never ran out. Either way, it was a miracle. The Gospel writer made it clear that there was no natural explanation for the feeding of the five thousand. The exact number of loaves and fishes was specified: five loaves and two fishes, a small amount. The number of adult men was specified: five thousand, a very large crowd. The number of baskets of leftover food was also specified: twelve. In addition, Mark recorded that the feeding of the five thousand was very orderly, so there was no chance of exaggeration based upon a chaotic situation. Jesus performed a supernatural miracle when He broke the bread and blessed it.
Immediately following this miracle, Jesus sent the disciples in a ship to Bethsaida. This town on the west side of the Sea of Galilee was the home of Peter, Andrew, and Philip. During the ensuing storm, the disciples were “toiling in rowing.” This phrase could be translated, “They were distressed or tormented in rowing.” The fourth watch, when Jesus walked to them on the water, was 3:00 a.m.
Gennesaret (verse 53) was a plain known for its fertility and loveliness. It was south of Capernaum, the town which Jesus used as a headquarters. The area had a dense population, and people quickly recognized Jesus and brought the sick for healing.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
IV. The authentication of the Son of God
G. His power to meet physical needs for Jews (6:30-44)
1. The setting (6:30-32)
2. The pressing need (6:33)
3. The miracle (6:34-44)
a. The lack of food (6:34-35)
b. The plenteous provision (6:36-42)
c. The abundance (6:43-44)
H. His power to provide protection (6:45-52)
1. The setting (6:45-46)
2. The cause (6:47)
3. The miracle (6:48-51)
4. The reason (6:52)
I. His power over sickness (6:53-56)
Like the disciples, we too can overlook, take for granted, or even discount the miracles that God is performing all around us. Let us pray that God will open our minds to His supernatural workings.