Miraculously Feeding the Masses
(January to Mid-Sept. 29 A.D.)

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Topics covered: John the Baptist is beheaded, Jesus miraculously feeds 5,000 people then later feeds 4,000, he walks on water and enables Peter to also do so, many people stop following Christ, the Lord warns of the vain traditions of Jewish religious leaders.

A pagan woman who begs that her daughter be healed is granted her request, Jesus affirms the New Testament church will be built upon himself, Peter surprisingly chastises Christ and it is revealed true Christians must bear their burdens daily and deny themselves.

Primary scriptures: Matthew 14:13 - 36, 15:1 - 39, 16:1 - 27, Mark 6:30 - 56, 7:1 - 37, 8:1 - 38, Luke 9:10 - 26, John 6:1 - 71, 7:1.

Early 29 A.D.

Martyr for the Truth

John the Baptist is beheaded by Herod Antipas before Passover (April 16) in 29 A.D. (Matthew 14:1 - 12, Mark 6:14 - 28, Luke 9:7 - 9). He is killed during the celebration of Herod's birthday.

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April to
29 A.D.

Miraculously Feeding 5,000

Shortly before Passover (John 6:4), which falls on Saturday April 16, Jesus and his disciples attempt to escape the large crowds following them. They enter a boat and sail across the Sea of Galilee to a wilderness area south of Bethsaida. A swarm of people, however, follow the boat from land and meet it when it comes ashore!

After preaching to the crowd of 5,000 men, and an unknown number of women and children, Christ miraculously feeds them with just five loaves of bread and two fishes (Matthew 14:13 - 21, Mark 6:30 - 42, Luke 9:10 - 17, John 6:1 - 13). He then dismisses the crowd, tells his disciples to sail back across the sea, and goes up to a mountain to pray (John 6:14 - 17, Mark 6:45 - 46, Matthew 14:22 - 23).

Walking on Water

The disciples' boat soon runs into strong winds which drag it south and off course in spite of their efforts to bring it until control. Jesus, noticing what is taking place from the shore, decides to walk on water to the boat! When he is sighted through the darkness of the lake at around 3 a.m. (Mark 6:48) the disciples are greatly frightened and think they are seeing an apparition.

And when the disciples saw Him (Jesus) walking on the sea, they were troubled and said, "It is an apparition!" And they cried out in fear (Matthew 14:26).

Impulsive Peter, who recognizes it is the Lord, boldly asks to walk on water toward him. Peter's trip is cut short, however, when due to his lack of faith he has to be saved from sinking!

. . . And after climbing down from the ship, Peter walked upon the waters to go to Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was, he became afraid; and as he was beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!"

And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Matthew 14:29 - 31).

The sea immediately becomes calm the moment Christ steps in the boat. The vessel soon arrives near Gennesaret on the northwestern part of the sea. Jesus, once the group comes ashore, is again mobbed by people seeking only to touch his clothes in order to be healed. He eventually finds his way back to Capernaum (Matthew 14:24 - 36, Mark 6:47 - 56, John 6:14 - 21).

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Mass Rejection

Many of those fed by Christ, unaware where he went after leaving Bethsaida, track him down to Capernaum's synagogue (John 6:24, 59). When they arrive Jesus teaches them, along with his followers who are in attendance, that he is the true Bread, or manna, from heaven (John 6:32 - 33). This bread, he states, gives life to all those who eat it. He then proclaims, a little later in his message, something that shocks and offends a majority of his listeners!

. . . Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves.

"The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up in the last day; For My flesh is truly food, and My blood is truly drink." (John 6:53 - 55).

Those who hear the Lord's words (John 6:22 - 71) are dumbfounded and astonished. They are unable to understand the true meaning and symbolism of what is being taught.

Jesus, of course, knew what would be the effect of his teaching on the crowd. He was fully aware his statements would cause those whom God was not working with, who lacked faith in him, to recoil and choose not to follow him any longer (John 6:36 - 37, 44 - 45, 63 - 64).

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Vain Traditions

A group of Jewish religious leaders from Jerusalem visit Jesus in Capernaum. Once in the city they criticize Christ for his disciples not ceremonially washing their hands before each meal.

Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread (Matthew 15:2).

Jesus' response is to ask them a pointed question.

Why do you also transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? (Matthew 15:3).

The Bible then points out that there are many other practices the Jews promote which they (errorneously) teach are as binding as God's laws. These include the ceremonial washing of plates, utensils and even tables (Mark 7:4).

Nullifying Obedience

Corban is the practice of irreversibly dedicating money to the temple. Jesus, continuing his correction of the Jews, states that this Jewish (not Biblical) tradition nullifies the fifth commandment. He then explains that it does so by teaching money dedicated to the temple was far more important than a person's obligation to take care of their needy parents (Mark 7:10 - 13, Matthew 15:4 - 6).

Full well do you reject the commandment of God, so that you may observe your own tradition (Mark 7:9).

Jesus then reveals to his followers that humans are not spiritually defiled if they do not practice the man-made rules promoted by the Jews. A person is spiritually unclean before God through the evil thoughts and intents of their heart which motivates them to sin in word and deed (Mark 7:14 - 23, Matthew 15:10 - 20).

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Crumbs from the Table

The Lord travels to the area near Tyre and Sidon and stays at an unknown house. A Canaanite (non-Israelite) woman discovers where he is located and, kneeling at his feet, begs for him to cast a demon out of her daughter. Jesus, rather oddly, does not say a word to her. She again makes her request and receives the following response.

But He answered and said, "It is not proper to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs." And she said, "Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from their master’s table" (Matthew 15:26 - 27, HBFV).

The woman's persistence and faith impresses the Lord such that he heals her daughter (Matthew 15:22 - 28, Mark 7:24 - 30).

Jesus and the disciples then journey southeast to the region known as the Decapolis (ten cities) and then head north to the Sea of Galilee. When he arrives near the sea he heals a deaf man (Mark 7:31 - 37). Continuing his journey as he skirts around the sea he finds an elevated area in which to preach and subsequently heals countless people (Matthew 15:29 - 31).

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Miraculously Feeding 4,000

After preaching for three days Christ is concerned those listening to him have had nothing to eat. Utilizing seven bread loaves and a few fish he miraculously feeds more than 4,000 people (Matthew 15:32 - 38, Mark 8:1 - 9) and then sends them home! The group then gets in a boat and sails to the western Galilee port of Magdala, the home of Mary Magdalene (Matthew 15:39).

Some religious leaders, after he comes ashore, demand Christ produce a sign from heaven to prove who he is. The Lord refuses to perform such an immediate miracle and decides to sail east on the Sea of Galilee. After the boat makes land he warns his disciples to be aware of the "leaven" (false teachings) of the Pharisees and Sadducess (Matthew 16:1 - 12, Mark 8:10 - 21). The group then travels to Bethsaida where a blind man is healed (Mark 8:22 - 26).

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Built Upon a Rock

Jesus and the followers travel to an area near Caesarea Philippi (Mark 8:27). After quizzing his disciples regarding who do people think he is, Peter confesses he is the Christ. The Lord then delegates to the apostles the authority to bind and loose certain decisions that affect his believers (Matthew 16:13 - 20, Mark 8:27 - 30, Luke 9:18 - 21).

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Satan Speaks

Peter, surprisingly, then takes Christ aside and chastises him for stating he will soon suffer, die and be resurrected! He himself is then rebuked for his Satanic attitude.

But after taking Him aside, Peter personally began to rebuke Him, saying, "God will be favorable to you, Lord. In no way shall this happen to You." Then He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, because your thoughts are not in accord with the things of God, but the things of men." (Matthew 16:22 - 23, HBFV, see also Mark 8:32 - 33).

The Lord then reveals that all those who desire to become true Christians must deny themselves and daily bear their burdens (Matthew 16:24 - 27, Mark 8:34 - 38, Luke 9:23 - 26).

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Previous    -    Next

Timeline of Jesus' Life and Ministry
Conception and Birth of Jesus
Christ's Early Life
Baptism and Temptation
The First Miracle at Cana
Jesus Reveals He Is the Messiah
The Sermon on the Mount
Confronting Religious Leaders
Preaching, Parables and Miracles
Miraculously Feeding the Masses
The Transfiguration
Training the Disciples for Evangelism
A Final Visit to Capernaum
The Last Trips Before Crucifixion
Jesus' Last Days, Death, Resurrection
Christ's Ministry after His Resurrection