The feeding of the 4000
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 pity the crowd, because they have continued with me for three days and have nothing to eat. 3 And if I send them away to their homes without food, they will faint on the way; for some of them have come from far away. 4 And his disciples answered him: Where shall one be able to find bread for these men here in such a desolate place? 5 And he asked them: How many loaves have you? And they said: Seven. 6 And he commanded 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 them; and they set them before the crowd. 7 And they had a few small fishes; and having blessed them, he commanded to set these also before them. 8 And they ate and were filled, and they gathered seven baskets of broken pieces that remained over. 9 And they were about four thousand; and he sent them away. 10 And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went into the region of Dalmanutha.
11 And the Pharisees came and began to question him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, testing him. 12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and said: Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly I say to you, No sign shall be given to this generation. 13 And he left them, and again got into the boat and departed for the other side of the lake.
14 And they forgot to take bread; and they did not have more than one loaf in the boat with them. 15 And he ordered them, saying: Take heed! Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod. 16 And they reasoned one with another, saying: It is because we have no bread. 17 And Jesus perceiving it said to them: Why do you so reason, because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart so hardened? 18 Having eyes, can't you see? And having ears, can't you hear? And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves among the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you gather? They said to him: Twelve. 20 And when the seven among the four thousand, how many basketfuls of broken pieces did you gather? And they said to him: Seven. 21 And he said to them: How is it that you do not yet understand?
The identity of Jesus
22 And they went to Bethsaida. And they brought to him a blind man, and begged him to touch him. 23 And he took hold of the blind man by the hand and brought him out of the village; and when he had spat on his eyes and laid his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw anything. 24 And he looked up, and said: I see men. But I see them as trees, walking. 25 Then Jesus put his hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And his sight was restored, and he saw everyone clearly. 26 And he sent him away to his home, saying: Do not even enter into the village.
27 And Jesus went with his disciples into the villages of Caesarea Philippi, and on the way he questioned his disciples, saying to them: Who do men say that I am? 28 And they told him, saying: John the Baptist, and others, Elijah; but others, one of the prophets. 29 And he asked them: But who do you say that I am? Peter answered and said to him: You are the Christ! 30 And he ordered them that they should tell no one about him. 31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he spoke these things openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But he, turning about and seeing his disciples, rebuked Peter, and said to him: Get behind me, Satan! For you are mindful of the things of men instead of the things of God.
34 And he called to him the crowd with his disciples, and said to them: If any of you wants to be my follower, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life shall lose it, and whoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, he shall save it! 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? 37 For what should a man give in exchange for his life? 38 For whoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also shall be ashamed of him, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
8:3 This situation is similar to that of 6:37. Jesus was hoping the disciples would have learnt from the experience they had then of Him multiplying their bread. This is why life situations repeat, in essence; because God plans them all for our spiritual education. We are intended to learn from one experience in order to spiritually succeed the next time that situation occurs. Sadly it seems the disciples didn’t learn, just as we often don’t.
8:12 No sign- The four Gospels are parallel accounts of the same incidents. In Matthew’s record, we read that Jesus said they would be given no sign except the sign of Jonah (Mt. 12:39; 16:4). This shows that we have to read the whole Bible to get the complete message. We have to make some effort to understand. God wants us to read His word carefully, just as we appreciate it when someone listens to us carefully rather than assumes they understand what we’re saying when they don’t.
8:17 Jesus had twice taught them in the feeding miracles that physical bread is no issue to Him. He was disappointed they hadn’t reflected further about this- for they were still thinking about bread on the literal, physical level.
8:23,25 The two stage healing process was for the man’s benefit, not because Jesus was limited in power. The man was given sight, but he had never seen trees nor people before- and so he confused them. He needed to have the gift of understanding / interpretation also. The man was taught by this that even if we are given the one thing we so desire, this isn’t enough. We need Jesus to give us understanding.
8:31 This is one of the clearest predictions of Christ’s sufferings. Why then did He ask for the cup of suffering to be removed from Him in Gethsemane? He understood from Old Testament examples that God’s intended program for a person can be changed by their prayers, and it seems that He tried this. But it also shows that even if we know something in theory, in the heat of the moment our understanding becomes clouded. Jesus was human, but never sinned. Therefore this kind of intellectual failure, even panic, isn’t always sinful. It’s just part of being human.
8:35 The sake of the Gospel- i.e. preaching the Gospel?
8:38 Jesus even after His resurrection still has the capacity to feel ashamed. We are made in God’s image, and so shame on behalf of another is an emotion He also has.