Day Twenty: Tuesday, March 6

Mark 8:1-21

In those days, when there was a very great multitude, and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to himself, and said to them, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have stayed with me now three days, and have nothing to eat. If I send them away fasting to their home, they will faint on the way, for some of them have come a long way.”

His disciples answered him, “From where could one satisfy these people with bread here in a deserted place?”

He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?”

They said, “Seven.”

He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves. Having given thanks, he broke them, and gave them to his disciples to serve, and they served the multitude. They had a few small fish. Having blessed them, he said to serve these also. They ate, and were filled. They took up seven baskets of broken pieces that were left over. Those who had eaten were about four thousand. Then he sent them away.

Immediately he entered into the boat with his disciples, and came into the region of Dalmanutha. The Pharisees came out and began to question him, seeking from him a sign from heaven, and testing him. He sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Most certainly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.”

He left them, and again entering into the boat, departed to the other side. They forgot to take bread; and they didn’t have more than one loaf in the boat with them. He warned them, saying, “Take heed: beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.”

They reasoned with one another, saying, “It’s because we have no bread.”

Jesus, perceiving it, said to them, “Why do you reason that it’s because you have no bread? Don’t you perceive yet, neither understand? Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes, don’t you see? Having ears, don’t you hear? Don’t you remember? When I broke the five loaves among the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?”

They told him, “Twelve.”

“When the seven loaves fed the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?”

They told him, “Seven.”

He asked them, “Don’t you understand yet?”

Today we come to the second miracle of feeding the multitudes. William Placher offers evidence that this feeding was directed at the Gentiles, and would have been seen by the New Testament community as a sign of God’s inclusion of all nations. “In this second feeding, four thousand are fed with seven loaves, and there are seven baskets left over. Four, representing the four corners of the universe or the four directions, was a common symbol for the whole world. Jewish law also specified four basic laws that Gentiles living among Jews should be required to obey (Leviticus 17:8, 10 13; 18:26), and the book of Acts reports that these four rules, but not the rest of the Jewish law, were required of Gentile converts to Christianity (Acts 15:19,20), so these ideas were being considered in the early church. In Genesis 9:4 7 God gives Noah seve nlaws; these presumably apply to the whole world, Noah’s descendants, in contrast to the five books of Jewish law. Deuteronomy 7:1 contrasts the Hebrew people with the seven nations of Canaan. For first century readers, fascinated by number symbolism, this passage would have cried out, ‘This time Jesus is feeding Gentiles.’” (William Placher, Mark, 109)

Day Twenty one: Wednesday, March 7
Day Nineteen: Monday, March 5