When we come to our text tonight, we get the feeling that we've witnessed this situation before. These verses seem full of similarities to a story we just heard:
- In v. 1, we find a hungry multitude.
- In v. 2, Jesus has compassion on the multitude.
- In v. 3, the disciples ask "How can we feed this multitude?"
- In v. 4, Jesus asks them for a food count.
- In vv. 6-7, we find that they have just a few loaves and fishes, but Jesus multiplies them to feed everyone.
- In v. 8, the disciples collect baskets full of leftovers.
And the first thing we think is: "Didn't this just happen? This feels like déjà vu."
They say that most of us have had a déjà vu experience.
The eerie feeling "I've done this before." Or "I've met this person before."
I read recently about several different types of déjà vu:
- Déjà boo: The eerie feeling that I've been frightened like this before.
- Déjà coup: The eerie feeling my government has been overthrown like this before.
- Déjà do: The eerie feeling my hairdresser has given me this cut before.
- Déjà moo: The eerie feeling I've drunk this milk before.
- Déjà stew: The eerie feeling this is made from the pot roast my wife served the week before.
But seriously, here in Mk. 8 we get this sense of déjà vu-the feeling that this just happened.
"Didn't we just hear a message about Jesus feeding the multitude? Jesus cares and Jesus can?"
And the answer is: Yes, it was only 5 sermons ago at the end of Mark 6.
So we wonder: Then why do we have it all over again at the beginning of Mark 8?
Was Mark tired when he wrote this scroll?
Did he accidentally repeat the story?
Is this déjà vu?
Well, first of all, the Holy Spirit breathed out this gospel through Mark.
And God doesn't make mistakes.
So Mark 8 is just as inspired as Mark 6.
And in spite of the fact that liberals call this a "doublet," (They think it's a repeat), this is not the same account as the feeding of the 5,000.
Though there are similarities, there are also differences:
- Like the fact that this time v. 9 says it's 4,000 men.
- Instead of 5 loaves and 2 fish, now we have 7 loaves and a few small fish in v. 7.
- Instead of happening in one day. This happens over 3 days according to v. 2.
- Instead of the disciples coming to Jesus, now in v. 1, He comes to the disciples.
- Also very significantly, the first feeding was in Jewish territory, this is still in Gentile territory.
So there are many differences that prove these were two separate feedings not the least of which is v. 19, where Jesus asks His disciples, "Do you not remember...
Mark 8:19 When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve.
Mark 8:20 And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven.
Jesus distinguishes between the two miracles. Okay?
You are not experiencing déjà vu.
So then why does Jesus perform another feeding miracle?
The answer is that He is using these stories about feeding and bread, to teach us about unbelief.
You see, unbelief is not just a problem for the unsaved. It's something Christians have to face.
In fact it's at the heart of many of the problems we struggle with day to day.
Let me give you a few test questions:
- Have you ever wondered if you have enough?
- Have you ever questioned the Lord's love to you?
- Have you ever thought "Why can't God just give me a clear sign?"
- Have you ever worried about your circumstances?
Then you, like nearly every single person (even Christians), have battled unbelief.