Mar 6:35 When it was already quite late, His disciples came to Him and said, "This place is desolate and it is already quite late;
Mar 6:36 send them away so that they may go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat."
The disciples were concerned for the welfare of the people. They had recently returned from the trip to teach and to perform miracles, that others might come to faith also. He had empowered them to do great works but this was not normal to them.
Mar 6:37 But He answered them, "You give them something to eat!" And they *said to Him, "Shall we go and spend two hundred denarii on bread and give them something to eat?"
What they heard was that Jesus was telling them to go spend about eight months wages and feed these people. These men had just returned form teaching, preaching and healing the sick, they had been performing miracles and still, just like the believer today, they still did not understand the power of Jesus. The farthest thing from their minds was a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread... and then to multiply them with the power of God?
Mar 6:38 And He *said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go look!" And when they found out, they *said, "Five, and two fish."
Mar 6:39 And He commanded them all to sit down by groups on the green grass.
Mar 6:40 They sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties.
The crowd was ready for anything and they really had nothing to loose, so they sat down. I'm not perfectly certain of the time line of this event but having an understanding of people and having studied the Gospels for some time now it seems certain to me that the reputation of Jesus was growing because of the healing and other works of God He performed for an assortment of people. They were ready for one more miracle.
Mar 6:41 And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food and broke the loaves and He kept giving them to the disciples to set before them; and He divided up the two fish among them all.
Mar 6:42 They all ate and were satisfied,
The one thing I am struck by is the completeness of this miracle. God does nothing half way. This was the meal of a lad so the two fish were likely small and I have been taught that these loaves of bread were not nearly the size of the loaves we purchase today and yet Jesus stood there and by breaking the loaves and cutting the two small fish He fed the multitude until they were no longer hungry.
Mar 6:43 and they picked up twelve full baskets of the broken pieces, and also of the fish.
The very small meal of a lad had produce so much in the hands of Jesus that there was many times the amount of left-overs as were in the meal to begin with. God had supplied a bounty they could not consume.
Mar 6:44 There were five thousand men who ate the loaves.
We know from the study of ancient Jewish customs that head counts did not include women and children and yet we also know that the bread and fish were the meal of a youngster. It is possible that there were a thousand or more better than the count in persons.
Mar 6:45 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away.
I believe the disciples obeyed this command but that once they were away from shore, out of ear shot, there was likely much discussion about what was to be done next. They were in the middle of the lake with a storm brewing and the Master had remained behind.
Mar 6:46 After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray.
As was the custom of Jesus He went to spend time talking to His father, in prayer. When we read the Bible we see things like the baptism of Jesus and miss the point, in most cases, that God, the Father, spoke. Prayer is not just a one sided monologue. God does not answer immediately in every case but if we fail to spend time listening we will never know if He did or not. When we speak to our girlfriend, our wife or friends we listen. Is God worthy of any less?
Mar 6:47 When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land.
Mar 6:48 Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night He *came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them.
The disciples have been on the water almost all night, pulling at the oars and fighting against the storm. The night was divided into into four watches and Jesus did not walk out to them until at least three hours before sunrise. Then the point expressed, almost in passing, is often missed. It about 5 in the morning, pitch black out and Jesus was on the shore and the disciples were miles out from the shore, but He saw them!
Mar 6:49 But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out;
Mar 6:50 for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and *said to them, "Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid."
Just as many of us today, the disciples had witnessed the power of Jesus and yet did not fully incorporate what they had learned into their lives. The best life example I know of this truth is the case of my pilot and a SAM missal in Vietnam. We had an FM radio on the hueys and we always had it turned on and tuned to no station.
My pilot was younger than me but he had seen me in and out of many situations and I really trusted him with my life. Suddenly the FM sounded a medium toned signal, I keyed my mike and very nervously said SAM! The copilot nodded and the pilot replied, “Got it!” The second or two before the next tone was an eternity. As soon as I heard it my heart raced and if I had had a pressure meter on it would have run off the scale when that second signal went off.
I trusted my pilot and I knew the Russian SAM would not launch until the third signal but would we escape? The Huey jolted left, fell from the sky and lost air speed. After two more near locks we escaped the radar and the SAM. In similar fashion to my belief in that 19 year old kid we must learn to trust Jesus no matter the circumstance.
Mar 6:51 Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished,
Just as that brave young pilot had saved my bacon over and over Jesus guarded over His disciples and yet just like me with that young man, they were astonished.
Mar 6:52 for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened.
Insight is a fleeting thing without maturity. By the time I left the 229th I had learned to never falter at danger as long as my man was with me and flying the ship. In similar fashion, it has taken me 19 years of study, practice and trusting Jesus to understand that “no” harm can befall me, Jesus has my cyclic and pitch controls in His hands and He will not let me fail.