Summary: Many times we want to hear something new but God wants us to live out what we already know to be true.
Finding Satisfaction for Your Soul
Rev. Brian Bill
August 20-21, 2016
How many of you like watching reruns? Most of us don’t like reruns when they appear in the middle of the NCIS season but they’re OK when we choose to catch an old show like Everybody Loves Raymond or when binging on a Law and Order marathon, right?
We love the new and novel but we also go back to the tried and true. I read an article this week published in the Scientific American from November 2012 entitled, “Why You Like to Watch the Same Thing Over and Over and Over Again.” The subtitle serves as the summary of the article: “Reruns spark contemplation about personal growth.” Researchers have developed a new word called “reconsumption” and have concluded that we use familiar entertainment to measure how our lives have changed in positive ways: “People gained insight into themselves and their own growth by going back for a do-over, subconsciously using the rerun…as a measuring stick for how their own lives had changed.”
Our passage today feels a bit like a rerun. Let’s lock in to see if the lives of the disciples, and our lives, have changed since the first time we heard a similar story from Mark 6:30-44. Our episode is found in Mark 8:1-10. Please stand as I read: In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, 2 “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. 3 And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” 4 And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?” 5 And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” 6 And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. 7 And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. 8 And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. 9 And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. 10 And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.
While this incident appears to be a replay or retelling of Jesus multiplying a meal, it’s actually a completely different event. This is important to know because critics point to these passages as evidence of a contradiction in the Bible – some believe there was just one event and the gospel writers got the details wrong. But that’s not the case at all. Let’s start with some similarities:
• Both miracles involved huge crowds who were hungry
• Jesus used a small amount of bread and fish to feed a lot of people
• The disciples doubted the Lord’s ability to provide but were also involved in distributing the food
• In both miracles, Jesus took the little they had, gave thanks, and multiplied it
• The crowds ate and were completely satisfied and a large amount of food was left over
But there are also some key differences:
• The first miracle involved feeding 5,000 compared to 4,000 here
• The amount of bread is different – 5 loaves versus 7 loaves
• The leftovers from the first miracle go in 12 small baskets and in the second, 7 large baskets are used
• The first meal came after a day of teaching and this one follows three days of teaching
• The first miracle took place among Jewish people and this one happens in the Decapolis, a Gentile community
Jesus Himself tells us that there were two separate incidents in Mark 8:19-20. When critics raise this as a contradiction take them to these words of Christ: “‘When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?’ They said to him, ‘Twelve.’ ‘And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?’ And they said to him, ‘Seven.’”
BTW, if you want to become better equipped to defend your faith, and answer questions raised by skeptics, I highly recommend over 25 free resources that are available on RightNow Media by Ravi Zacharias. You can sign up for this resource by simply going to our website.