April 06, 2015
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
A Contrast in Feasts
“And blessed and brake the loaves…
And the two fishes divided He among them all.”
Mark 6 unfolds the story of two different feasts. The first was held by Herod, possibly a birthday party. It was marked by all that would normally be linked with such an occasion. The great of earth were there – the lords, captains, and chief men of the region. Parties were meant not only to eat and have fun, but also to solidify political bases. Herod, shrewd politician that he was, would use the occasion for this.
There would be entertainment as well. Very likely it was provocative and licentious. The dancing pleased Herod, especially that of Herodias’ daughter. The result was a rash oath and then the beheading of John Baptist. The executioner carried in the head of John on a dish. Men carried away a corpse. So ended the feast.
The Lord Jesus confronted 5,000 people. They were hungry and it was a desert place. The resources for the moment – five loaves and two fish. Some feast! Yet in His hands, the loaves were multiplied and all are fed. Each one having as much as they wanted. No one left hungry. The guests? Perhaps not the great of earth but sheep for whom the Shepherd felt deep compassion (v 34).
Entertainment at this feast? Men did not see dancing girls. What they were privileged to see was the Lord of all multiplying loaves in miraculous power. They were privileged to witness the mighty power of God at work in their midst.
What did men leave with? They neither carried a head on a dish or a corpse. They bore away 12 baskets of left-over fragments. The supply of Christ can never be exhausted. This feast will know no end.
The feast of Herod and its brutality is overshadowed by the feast of Christ and His blessing. The one feast ended in gruesome manner and with deep regrets. The second feast is a feast that will never end and leads only to joy, satisfaction, and worship.
- The miracle of the feeding of 5,000 is the only miracle recorded in all four gospels. Why do you think this is so? Is there some lesson beyond just the miracle?
- Twelve baskets and twelve disciples – does that suggest anything to you? Would it hint at the fact that Christ always feeds those who serve Him and feed others? Anything else it suggests?
- Can you find other contrasts between the two feasts?