(Study Outline sourced from “The System Bible Study” – “The Book of Life” [Zondervan])
10 THE TRAINING OF THE APOSTLES CONCERNING THE PERSON AND MISSION OF MESSIAH
(1) The Feeding Of The Five Thousand
“Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. …they … all had enough to eat”
Mark’s account states that after the apostles had returned to report on their preaching exercise, Jesus took them aside to a “quiet place” so as to get some rest from the ever increasing crowds of people and Luke adds that they withdrew “to a town called Bethsaida” , only to be faced by another crowd of people that had learned of their coming. Jesus had compassion on the people “because they were like sheep without a shepherd” so He began to teach them many things.
Late in the day, and because of the distance of the place from the nearest village, the apostles suggested to Jesus to send the people home so that they could get something to eat; Jesus’ response to the suggestion was “You give them something to eat” . There is no doubt that Jesus already knew the result of this “rest period” for the disciples even before it began on the other side of the lake , and here He would demonstrate His divinity to the apostles as He, the creator God, would provide enough food from the five loaves of bread and the two fish to feed the crowd of people that was in excess of five thousand, Luke states that about “five thousand men were there” and certainly there were women and children in addition to that number , Matthew is the only one that mentions the women and children, as his account was directed to the Jews who did not permit women and children to eat with men in public [NIV Study Bible]. So “They all ate and were satisfied” and there was enough left over to feed another crowd – Jesus The Shepherd provided for His sheep and they were short of no good thing .
(2) Preventing The Revolutionary Purpose To Proclaim Jesus King
“After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.”
“Jesus, knowing that they intended….” – John, the only writer to make this observation, records this to show that Jesus as the Son of God, and very God Himself, knew the motives and the intentions of the heart of mankind that He created. The offer of making Him king was already presented by the devil in his temptation of Jesus , now the people intended to do this forcefully , and Jesus knowing that this was not the intended time for His taking the office as King, “withdrew… to a mountain by himself” to commune with His Father in prayer, while the disciples were on their way by boat to the other side of the lake.
(3) Jesus Walks On The Turbulent Sea To His Disciples In The Boat
“When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake.”
Jesus had dismissed the crowd of people after He had fed them on the mountainside, and had gone up on the mountain to pray to His heavenly Father; Matthew indicates that it was “during the fourth watch of the night”. The Romans divided the night hours into four watches: (1) 6:00-9:00 PM, (2) 9:00 PM–midnight, (3) midnight-3:00 AM, (4) 3:00-6:00 AM: the Jews had only three watches (1) sunset-10:00 PM, (2) 10:00 PM-2:00 AM, (3) 2:00 AM-sunrise [NIV Study Bible] – so this incident took place during the hours of 3:00-6:00 AM, which indicated that the disciples were on the storm-tossed sea for approximately ten hours rowing against a sudden storm “buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it” . “He saw the disciples straining at the oars” – although the boat was in the middle of the lake, Jesus was able to see the dangerous situation that faced the disciples , John states that they had “rowed three or three and a half miles” ; the lesson, for the disciples then, and for us today, is that we can never get out of God’s sight and no matter how difficult and lonely the road of life may be, God is watching and is aware of our difficulties and will come to our rescue – “It is I; don’t be afraid” “Take courage…” .
In times of trial and distress we fail to recognize the presence and work of God in our lives, and like Peter we say “Lord, if it is you” why am I being overwhelmed by the trial that I am going through, like Peter we need to cry “Lord, save me!” . The end result for the disciples was that they saw Jesus’ power over the elements of nature as He stilled the storm, and for us today Jesus can calm the storms of life that cause us to fear and we too can join in the worship that ensued “Truly you are the Son of God” as we recognize the hand of God in our trials and sufferings.
(4) Jesus Arrives At Gennesaret
“When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.”
Gennesaret– a small district of Galilee, on the west shore of the Sea of Galilee (or Sea of Gennesaret) [The Book Of Life – Historical Digest].
“When the men of that place recognized Jesus” – the entire Galilee region had heard of Jesus and the miracles He performed, so Jesus travelled through their villages and towns, they brought all their sick to be healed by Jesus, pleading that they could “touch the edge of his cloak”, and like the unclean woman they were healed by the faith they effected in Jesus – “and all who touched him were healed”; .