Episode 059 – Bread of Life Pt 3: Feeding of the 4,000

Key Passage(s): Mark 8:1-9

We read of Jesus feeding the five thousand. And then shortly thereafter, we read of him feeding the four thousand. What gives? Of all the stories to choose from, why would two of the gospel writers include stories that seem nearly identical? The answer is that they’re not. The difference is in the details, and the implications of those details are astounding! Without an understanding of the geography around the Sea of Galilee or how numbers are being used in this story, we miss one of the most critical proclamations Jesus was making about his ministry.

Discussion Questions

  • What was your biggest takeaway from the teaching?
  • After witnessing Jesus feeding the five thousand in Mark 6, why do you think the disciples respond the way they do in Mark 8:4?
  • In what we ways do we “forget” what God has done in our past and therefore, we live with a lack of faith or perspective in the present?
  • We see from this story that Jesus was intentional about ministering to the Gentiles (i.e. pagans and non-Jews). What does this tell us about the heart and mission of Jesus? What hope does this understanding of Jesus bring to our own lives?
  • Do you find yourself in awe of Jesus? Why or why not? If not, how could you regain your awe of Jesus?
  • How can you begin living out the truths of this teaching this week?

For Further Study

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  1. Bill Black March 26, 2019 at 7:11 am - Reply

    So when -“the word-TORAH-became flesh”-Jesus, (John 1:14)He is TORAH (Mark 11:17) going to the Gentiles with easier access to the Covenant of YEHOVAH through Himself, after Calvary, giving rise to John 3:16 now in correct context as opposed to the Protestant/RC denominational “Jesus only” conception, denying all the Covenant Laws except the 10?
    So, Yashua/Jesus, the Jew of all Jews, is doing this for the/we Gentiles! John 3:16 again.
    So would Jesus have told them anything other than His fathers TORAH for them to gain access to the blessings of the TORAH?
    They did not have the Protestant version of Marcionian Jesus only the —Jew one!
    We should not forget that even though Jesus became the new access to the Covenant of His Father that is was the father who gave and sent Him thus a higher degree of love so we loose the glory of the Father by only singing about Jesus over and over and over and over but not the father.
    So would it not be reasonable that the Decapolis ones learn the Laws of YEHOVAH as in Acts 15-go to a Synagogue now instead of a “church”?
    So we’re down to this: When are the churches going to repent of the “traditions (denominational) of our fathers” denying the law, and admit it and repent?

  2. Paul Noce March 26, 2019 at 7:30 am - Reply

    Thank you Brad for this insight of the word of God. I appreciate the reminder of the Awe of God!

    • Brad Gray April 23, 2019 at 7:31 pm - Reply

      I really appreciate that, Paul. So great to hear from you!

  3. Sue Christian March 26, 2019 at 9:24 am - Reply

    You question about what helps you have awe in God…. part of my answer is your teachings. Thank you

  4. Karl and Holly Figg March 26, 2019 at 10:33 am - Reply

    Brad, thank you for this great series on the Bread of life. Holly and I faithfully follow your Teaching Series but have been remiss in providing feedback. We loved the references to the numbers 4 & 7 and how that directed the reader’s attention to reaching the gentiles. I believe you mentioned in Matt 16:4 Jesus references the Sign of Jonah, and the readers of Mark would connect the 3 days in Mark with the Sign of Jonah (people repent). Was the context of the 4,000 feeding the reason you related the “3” to Jonah verses how people ofter see three and relate it as a reference to the trinity or his resurrection? We love the due the diligence you put into the different aspects of the context. Do you have a favorite book that helps with the numerology references? If not, that would be a great 3rd book for you to pursue!

    • Brad Gray April 23, 2019 at 7:33 pm - Reply

      I appreciate that, Karl. No, I don’t have a great numerology resource for you. Wish I did. And the connection between the “4,000” and the “3” is that the “four” in the “4,000” referred to the Gentiles, and the “3 day” in connection with “Jonah” link together the idea that the Gentiles are believing. Hence, the common denominator is the Gentiles. If that wasn’t what you were asking, please let me know. Thanks!

  5. Nancy Hoekstra March 26, 2019 at 10:36 am - Reply

    Brad, I am so curious about the actual bread the disciples and Jesus had access to — did they buy it along the way? Who did the baking? What was it commonly made of? How was it stored? Tell me about the bread of the times and places of Jesus.

    • Brad Gray April 23, 2019 at 7:30 pm - Reply

      Hi Nancy, typically the women did the cooking in the home. And generally, the cooking was for the extended family living in the household. Jesus and his disciples would be given bread by the larger community. At other times, there would be a place where people could buy bread if they were on a journey or away from their home. Bread was typically made of flour and water and leaven (if leavened bread). Unleavened bread was just flour and water.

  6. Doug Lezman March 28, 2019 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    I’m watching your teaching from Thailand. It is so cool that in a predominantly Buddhist area, I can enjoy this teaching from a truely pagan area. I’m wondering why the numerical references would have mattered at all? If this was a Jewish audience they may have made some of these connections, but since this was a pagan, gentile area, these references would have “gone right over their heads”. Who then is the audience that needed these connections to the Old Testament?

    • Brad Gray April 23, 2019 at 7:28 pm - Reply

      Great question, Doug. You’re right. At this point, the audience would not understand. But remember, one of the biggest hurdles for the Jewish people was believing that the Gentiles were part of God’s overall redemptive plan. So for a later Jewish audience, I think this would have been significant.

  7. Sheila Schippers April 3, 2019 at 8:08 am - Reply

    Hi Brad. We listen faithfully and look forward to the next AHA moment. Thank you.
    My question this : why does Jesus leave one Gentile region, the region of Tyre and Sidon, to go to a different Gentike region, the Decapolis? And since Mark thinks we need to know this I wondered why.

    • Brad Gray April 23, 2019 at 7:21 pm - Reply

      That’s a good question. I think Mark is showing in these consecutive stories that Jesus’s mission was to the Gentiles as well. Up to this point, besides the encounter with the demoniac in Mark 5, Jesus’s ministry has been focused on the people of Israel. Again, great question.

  8. Crystal Lorenzo June 30, 2019 at 1:29 am - Reply

    I am now in awe. To spend time with Jesus, listen to Him, feed on the bread of life every day is what I am constantly working on. Thank you Brad.

  9. Mark June 27, 2023 at 1:44 pm - Reply


    I spent the last day at the Sea of Galilee (for the first time) and could l not stop thinking about this teaching and you sermon “Tell your Story” with the Demoniac as I sat on the shore of Capernaum and looked to “the other side”.

    I love keeping current with your teachings, but just wanted to let you know, everything you’ve done to this point makes an impact.

    Thank you for doing what you do.

  10. Mark June 27, 2023 at 1:48 pm - Reply


    I spent the last day at the Sea of Galilee (for the first time) and I could not stop thinking about this teaching and your sermon “Tell your Story” with the Demoniac as I sat on the shore of Capernaum and looked to “the other side”.

    I love keeping current with your teachings, but just wanted to let you know, everything you’ve done to this point makes an impact.

    Thank you for doing what you do.

    • Brad Nelson July 6, 2023 at 8:39 am - Reply

      Mark, thank you for your encouragement and blessing. That’s really meaningful to Brad.

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