Sunday, April 13, 2014

"the other side": the Feeding of the 5000 and 4000; "there ain't no freakin' french fries"

Note: here's the audio of the interview that Ken Adams and I did with Martin Smith of Delirious.

Here's the Good Friday video (sixth  anniversary):


Today we looked the two feedings in Matthew:

  • of the 5000 (plus)  :  Matt 14
  • of the 4000 (plus):    Matt 15

Note that Jesus didn't technically "bless" the food, he thanked God that is is already blessed (: 

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand:  Matt 14

13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand: Matt 15

29 Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. 30 Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. 31 The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.
32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”
33 His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?”
34 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.
“Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.”
35 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. 37 They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 38 The number of those who ate was four thousand men, besides women and children. 39 After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan.

That the two   feedings occurred on opposite sides of the lake (Sea of Galilee) may be quite significant.
The NW side was the "Jewish" side, home of the three Jewish villages--Capernaum, Korazim (sometimes spelled with a C) and Bethsaida--sometimes known as the "Orthodox Triangle."
The SE side was the Decapolis (Ten Cities), and the region of the seven pagan nations.  You'll remember the demonized man at the tombs was here.

That Jesus "made" his disciples cross over the lake (which itself in Jewish mythology represents abyss/evil) to the dreaded "other" side may well be to cause us to think, "Wow, Jesus came for everybody--Jew and Gentile."  Note the NW feeding is similar to Elijah's feeding, and the SE similar to Elisha's.  Note also the numbers: how many loaves and baskets each time?


"The Other Side" ?  Sounds like a horror movie.
It is...Trailer here, watch at own risk (:

 Notice also an inclusio of "The other side"
(8:18 and 8:28)....What's up with Jesus going there?

As Kathy Pauls  well said, maybe the take-home is don't exepect Jesus to work the same away in different times/settings.

Vander Laan:

Perceptions of Water

In Jesus' day, Jewish people feared large bodies of water. They referred to the sea as an abyss and saw it as a symbol of chaos and hell.
Although the Sea of Galilee often looked beautiful and calm, many biblical writers described 
it as an abyss, a fearsome place of darkness and chaos.
The sea's location made it subject to sudden and violent storms. Storms often developed when an east wind dropped cool air over the warm air rising from the sea. This sudden change produced surprisingly furious storms in a short time (Matt. 8:24).
Understandably, these fierce storms scared ancient people and caused them to avoid large bodies of water. Cultural stories even depicted the sea as a monstrous beast and a place where Baal would battle other gods.
Set amidst this culture, the Jewish people also feared the sea. They were rooted in the wilderness, and they saw the sea as an alien and threatening power. Few could swim, and even fisherman avoided deep water.
Not surprisingly, biblical writers often used the sea to describe terror and danger. And in Jesus' day, Jewish people would have recognized the sea as a symbol of chaos and hell.
            link, full article


  • Note the cross-cultural implications of Jesus' two feedings of  the multitude:
  • see:

    (diagram below by John Stevenson, see 2nd link above)

    Feeding of the 5,000
    Feeding of the 4,000
    Mark 6:34-44
    Mark 8:1-9
    Took place after the multitude had been with Jesus for one day.Took place after the multitude had been with Jesus for three days.
    The multitude was mostly Jewish.The multitude would have been mostly Gentile.
    Took place near Bethsaida  on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee.Took place in the Decapolis on the southeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
    Jesus used 5 loaves and 2 fish.Jesus used 7 loaves and a few small fish.
    There were 12 small baskets of leftovers.There were 7 large baskets of leftovers.

Here  below are two helpful videos from Ray Vander Laan; The first, "When Storms Come" deals with the idea of bodies of water as "evil," and the stories that happened on the water in between the two feedings (particularly, Jesus walking on water and the storms at sea.  The second is "Piercing the Darkness" which continues the theme, and picks up on the two feedings, and the demonized man on the "other side."

Click here for Ray' notes on "When Storms Come"
Click here for Ray's notes on "Piercing the Darkness"
Click here for Jay Guinn's combined notes on both videos

"When Storms Come":

"Piercing the Darkness" Part 1:

 "Piercing the Darkness" Part 2
Here's some of my video from both sides of the Sea of Galilee:

Note: This article will help you prep for the midterm  exam:

Jesus’ Death and the Powers: Cultural Exlusivism

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