Mark 8:1-9

Talks for Growing Christians

The Feeding of the Four Thousand

Mark 8:1-9

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Lesson Number 32

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. God provides bread in the wilderness/desolate places.

Practical Application

  1. The Lord knows and cares about all your personal needs.
  2. How soon we forget.


  1. Why do critics believe that the Bible is in error concerning the feeding of the 4,000? How could you answer them?
  2. What is the bread? What is the essential meaning of this miracle?
  3. How did the Lord show compassion on the crowd?
  4. Does the Lord know your needs? How far can you go without fainting? How long before your strength is gone? Why does the Lord delay in answering our needs?
  5. Doesn't it seem strange that the disciples so quickly forgot the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000?


  1. Critics believe there is confusion and inaccuracy because of the feeding of the 5,000 and the feeding of the 4,000. There were, indeed, two miracles, reported in both Matthew and Mark. Note the differences in numbers (5,000/4,000), in location (northeast end of the Sea of Galilee/east-southeast end of the Sea), in time with Jesus (3 days/1 day), in the amount of food (5 loaves and two fish/7 loaves and several small fish), in leftovers (12 baskets/7 baskets), in the size of the baskets (small/large, the latter the size Paul was put in to be lowered over the wall), in events following the miracles (Jesus departed alone to pray/Jesus and His disciples went together).
  2. The bread is Christ Himself (see John 6). Spiritual hunger can be satisfied only in Christ; He is the provision in our wilderness. God provides salvation for sinners and spiritual food for saints. He is all that we need.
  3. He said that if the crowd was sent back, they would faint on the way. He was moved with compassion for the 5,000. He was concerned for their spiritual needs (sheep without a shepherd). He cares about both.
  4. He knows and cares. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). In this account, Jesus delayed for three days. He has His reasons for delaying today, too. We learn to lean on Him and look to Him for help.
  5. It would seem that the disciples would have remembered the earlier miracle. We see answered prayer in our lives, but we keep on worrying, forgetting quickly. God sees our todays and tomorrows, even as He saw our yesterdays.


  1. Do you believe that the Lord knows and cares about all your needs? Do you lay your needs before Him? Do you trust Him to meet them?
  2. Read Psalm 78:19. Answer: Psalm 78:20, 25. What hinders the Lord's provision? Answer: Psalm 78:22.


  1. Recall the times when the Lord provided a table in the wilderness for you. Write down some of your "tables."

Key Verses

  • "Jesus said, 'I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat...' They ate and were filled." (Mark 8:2, 8)

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