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              Jesus sent His apostles ahead of Him in a boat across the lake (Sea of Galilee) to Bethsaida.  He said that He would send the crowd away, and then follow.  By the evening, Jesus was on the shore, and far out in the water the apostles strained against the oars trying to make progress against a head wind.  Late at night (the 4th watch) Jesus came to them, walking on the sea water itself, intending to pass them in their boat.  Seeing His form in the limited light, they cried out, thinking it was a ghost.  So Jesus called out "Take courage.  It is I.  Don't be afraid."  He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped.  They were astonished.

              They continued across the Lake to Gennesaret, and now we see the wisdom of Jesus telling the man whom He had healed - the man from the Gennesaret area who had been inhabited by a large number of demons that went by the name 'Legion' - that he must not follow Jesus, but rather the man should stay in his home area of Decapolis and tell everyone what God had done for him.  Because now everyone in the area had heard of Jesus, and they recognized Him when He came, and they came in great numbers from all around to be healed and rid of demons, and to be taught.  see Mark 6: v.45 - 56.  

              Through the demoniac the ground had been prepared.  And Jesus did many more deeds in these people's midst, such that later, after His death, there was firm grounds for belief in following the way of Christ, and many who had witnessed Jesus's deeds.  

              Jesus was a master evangelist, planting His words, garnished with the unexplainable deeds of God, then letting the witnesses extoll Him to all around while He went to the next place and planted the initial seed there.  Then He would return to the first place and find people now eager to see and hear this amazing man - this Messiah, this Prophet - and His words could thereby reach more ears that were very receptive ears.  It was a long time ago, and there was no phone, newspaper, or T.V.  The grapevine worked just fine though, if you gave it time to work.

              Jesus says in one place that He is wiser than Solomon - not bragging, but just telling the truth.  He is far wiser than Solomon.  It is a good idea on all of our parts to see how He goes about the business of convincing men of the truth.  And of how He directs His apostles to go about it.  No one has ever known more about the human mind than God Himself.       

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              Jesus and the apostles then travelled to the vicinity of Tyre.  He stayed at a house there, and tried to keep His presence a secret, but word got out.  A woman whose daughter was posessed by an unclean spirit came and fell at Jesus's feet, begging Him repeatedly to help her.  But she was a Syrophoenician, a gentile and not a Jew.  Jesus, who was the Messiah promised to the Jews, answered her , saying "Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs."

              But this wise and worried mother replied "Yes Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children's crumbs."

              Jesus was moved, and answered "Because of this answer go; the demon has gone out of your daughter."  And when she went back to her home she found her daughter laying on the bed, no longer posessed by a demon.

              Praise God and Jesus, because here is one of the roots of the Gentile Christian's blessings.  This incident is one reason it might have been just a little easier for the Apostles, after Jesus's death, to accept it when they saw the Holy Spirit being given to Gentiles as well as to Jewish believers in Christ.

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              Later, travelling in the Decapolis area, a deaf boy with a speech impediment was brought to Him.  They asked Jesus to lay His hands upon him.  Jesus took the boy aside and placed His fingers into the deaf boy's ears.  Then, He spit saliva onto His finger and touched the boys tongue.  Jesus looked up to heaven, and said to the boy "Ephatha!" which means 'Be opened!'.   The boys ears were opened and he began to speak normally. 

              Jesus gave them orders not to tell of this, but His requests to not tell seemed widely ignored by nearly everyone He cured during His ministry.  People said "He does all things well!  He makes even the deaf to hear and the mute to speak."

              It had been predicted by the prophets that such great signs were to be performed by the awaited Messiah.  And Jesus knew that.  Jesus once stood up and read from Isaiah 61 in a synogogue, quoting "The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor, He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord"   Luke Chap 4: v. 18 and 19.

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              Again Jesus taught a great crowd - for three days they stayed with Him - and when He thought to dismiss them He brought it up with the disciples that they were far from food and many of the people had not eaten.

              The disciples brought up the problem that there was very little to feed them.  Jesus asked what they had.  Seven loaves were found and a few small fishes.  Jesus had the crowd sit, and He broke the loaves and blessed them, and gave them to His disciples to distribute.  Then He took the small fishes, and blessing them, He gave them to the disciples to distribute.  All ate well and were satisfied.

              He dismissed the crowd of 4000 people after gathering the leftover pieces of food, which was enough to fill 7 large baskets. 

             

              It ends with "And immediately He entered the boat with His disciples and came to the District of Dalmanutha."  Mark Chap 8: v. 1-10.

              This is a real deed of God through Jesus, and amazing, but also it is puzzling.  Why 7 loaves of bread to start with, and then the blessing of Jesus is given, then all are fed (4000 are fed), and 7 large baskets are taken up.  Are these numbers important?  That is a riddle I have pondered a lot of times.  I wish I had a firm understanding of the deeper things being said here, but I'm not certain I do.  Here is an understanding I am considering concerning it, however. ( Maybe someone out there actually knows Jesus's intended meaning, and can tell me sometime.)

              I know that the New Testament has divisions of sorts.  I know I am dividing it arbitrarily, as I see it, but here is how I see it: The 7 'loaves' were 7 units of bread in the New Testament.  Bread is the Word of God.  4 loaves were the Gospels.  1 loaf was the acts of the Apostles.  1 was the letters from the Apostles and Paul that were to be circulated.  1 was the Book of the Revelations of Jesus Christ also called The Apocalypse. 

              The New Testament could be considered the second feeding of the bread of God to the people,  just as the Torah with it's 5 books could be considered the first feeding of the bread of God to the people.  I know that it was through the tribes of Israel - who were 12 - that God spread word of Himself to those who were not His chosen.  And it was through the churches - Jesus writes to 7 churches in Revelations - that the feeding of the daily bread to the people was to be accomplished through out the time from Jesus's ascension until His second coming, and it has been the churches that sent out the missionaries to tell the world the good news.  

              Consider Acts of the Apostles Chap 6.  It's about the early church and how a dispute arose about the widows of the Greeks not being treated fairly, not being given the same share of food each day as the widows of the Jews.  So 7 men were chosen who were of good reputation, and full of the Spirit and of Wisdom.  They were annointed by the 12 Apostles, and they served the food fairly and responsibly.  Even in the embryonic church 7 men were assigned to supervise the feeding of the faithful.  By the time John took dictation on the Book of Revelation there were 7 churches Jesus spoke to.  But the common theme is 7.  These '7' baskets for the bread could constitute an 'analogy' or 'type' for the churches of Jesus which were soon to come.    

             

              Notice that when this second 'feeding time' is finished, the bread is gathered in the 7 baskets (are they the Church?) and the elect of Jesus leave with Jesus 'immediately', getting into a boat and taking off.  And all of the people that are left behind have no Jesus, no '7 baskets', ...nothing.  Not even some left over bread.  They are left behind in a place with no food.  Maybe somebody in the crowd woke up and realized he'd slept through the whole feeding of bread and he didn't get any.  Maybe he walked around and asked "Hey Neighbor, now that the source of bread is gone I see what a good idea it is to have some bread inside you, and some for your pocket.  Do you have any extra?"  and someone will say "Sorry, but it's strange....they took all of the extra away.  There is no bread here now."

Amos Chap 8: v.11-12 :  "Behold the days are coming", declares the Lord God, "when I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread or a thirst for water, but rather for hearing the words of the Lord.  People will stagger from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they will go to and fro to seek the word of the Lord.  But they will not find it."

              It's just speculation, but is that what we are looking at here?  And the strange part is, on the boat trip Jesus and the disciples take when they leave the crowd it comes to light that they have no more than one loaf of bread with them on the boat. Where did the bread go?  If the crowd of 4000 took it, only 7 of them got to carry bread with them, as there were only 7 baskets full.  If everyone got to take some of the left over bread - a little going home with each of the 4000 people, then there was no sense in gathering it up into the 7 baskets.  Where is the bread?

              I think that the one loaf of bread on the boat is Jesus - Jesus is the bread of life.  The church age is over.  The age of the 7 baskets of bread - the Church - is over. There is now one loaf again : Jesus.

              And in answer to them telling Him they have only one loaf of bread, Jesus says "Watch out.  Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod."  Mark Chap 8: v. 15.

               What!!  Alright - we know Jesus has more wisdom in His nail clippings than all of humanity can scrape together.  So why does He say this?  What does He mean?   First of all, I'm sure He literally said it, and it was meant to make His disciples, in the boat at that minute, think about something He wanted them to think about.  But what of it's application to a future where the Church has just left the Earth (assuming I understand the preceding verses correctly.)  This figurative conversation in the boat is the next thing that happens after the figurative removal of the Church from the Earth, if you just flow along with the Gospel of Mark.  So who are the 'Pharisees' at the time in the future when the Church is removed?  Who is 'Herod' at the future time when the Church is removed from the Earth.  Well, in history - actual history - Herod the Great was a leader that had been put in place by the great world power of his time - the Romans.  He had campaigned for the job, and he got it because, though familiar with the Jews he was not really one of them, belonging to a people that had been force converted to Judaism because of a military defeat to Jewish leader named John Hyrcanus.  He was an Edomite - of Esau's line - at least in part. 

              And the Pharisees might be characterized as a once God fearing sect of the Jews gone corrupt.  In Jesus's day they were all about status, fancy garments, money, and power.  They were supposed to be caretakers for God, but they had become quite comfortable in his absence being the interrum-power-in-God's-place. 

              Herod always had a somewhat difficult relationship with the Jews.  But he was an extremely shrewd politician and a guys guy, etc.  Good at war, good at politics.  He rebuilt the Jew's Holy Temple, in part to to win their approval (but also to leave a glorious monument as a legacy to His reign.  He loved having awesome buildings built to reflect his glory.)  There were several Herods before that dynasty was all over in fact.  The Herod around when Jesus was crucified was the grand son of the first one that was alive when Jesus was born. 

              Herod the Great was King when Jesus was born.  He once tried to have a great golden eagle placed on the Holy temple.  It was an idol and it enraged the Jews.  They tore it down and when Herod the Great threatened to kill them all they just lay down and exposed their throats, saying it was better to die than let their temple be defamed by this idol - this blasphemy.  Fearing a full scale revolt of the Jews, Herod gave in and the eagle was out.  But it illustrates how he had no actual regard for the holiness of God or His temple - he merely understood its importance to the Jews.  So the Herod figure - if he is a type of a leader to come - may place something that does not belong, something that blasphemes the holiness of the temple - smack dab in the Jewish temple that he was instrumental in rebuilding.

             

              The Herod that reigned when Jesus was crucified, Herod Antipater, who also had a chance to save Jesus's life but instead tormented Him and returned Him to Pontius Pilate, ended his own reign by allowing himself to be worshipped as a God by those who were dependent on grain from his kingdom.  They had been at odds with him, but realizing their dependency on his kingdom's food, they invited him to a large celebration and acclaimed he wasn't a man, but a God.  Herod accepted their worship without denial.  So he was immediately struck by God with a disease and died a nasty death, worms eating his flesh, as it had been with his grandfather when he died. 

              And the Pharisee's leaven - I am not sure just what to say of that.  In Jesus's time it was hypocrisy, greed, and a love of earthly privelage and power.  A love for the acts and trappings of holiness that distinguished them, without a love for God that they represented.  A love for the privelage that came with the position, but not so much love for the responsibility that came with the position.  A great willingness to focus on scriptures that cast them or their actions in a good light, and a willingness to ignore scriptures that showed them to be in the wrong.  This may be the leaven of the Pharisees.

              Perhaps such characteristics as these are to be watched for in a religion and in a certain man that will come after the church is taken away by Jesus.

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              Now they finish their boat trip, after the second great feeding of the bread.  They go to Bethsaida.  There a blind man was brought to Jesus, and they asked Him to touch him.  Jesus took the man outside the village, and after spitting into his eyes and laying hands on him, Jesus asked "Do you see anything?"

              The man looked up and said "I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around."  So Jesus laid His hands on him again, and he was restored, and saw clearly.  Jesus then sent him home, telling him not to even go back in the village first.   Mark Chap 8: v. 22-26

              Jesus must have wanted the man to stay quiet about his healing so that a large crowd wouldn't form.  He had just fed bread to a large crowd across the water.  Maybe he needed some alone time. 

              Restoring sight is a sure sign that you understand the formation of a human body.  John Chap 1 confirms Jesus saw all things being made at the time of creation.  There is little that could be called 'work only God could do' that He did not give His Son a chance to do, here on earth, to show His divinity.  But still most didn't believe.

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              Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on a mountain, and while they watched, He transfigured before their eyes.  His garments became exceedingly bright white, like no detergent or laundering could make clothing be.  Also, they saw the forms of Moses and Elijah speaking with Jesus. 

              For unknown reasons, Peter felt compelled to say "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here.  Let us make three tabernacles: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."

              Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came from it saying "This is my beloved Son.  Listen to Him!"

              Then they suddenly looked around and saw no one except Jesus.  The experience terrified them.  Jesus told them to tell no one until the Son of Man rose from the dead.  See Mark Chap 9: v. 1 - 9.

              This is yet another confirmation by God that Jesus is His Son.  Those three apostles at the least should have been firm believers by now, wouldn't you think.  And I believe Moses and Elijah will be the 'untouchable witnesses' for a couple of years during the events described in the Book of Revelation.

              Peter's strange remark about making tabernacles is interesting.  Jesus is of course the Lord of the Christians.  Moses is the central figure below God for the Jews who don't call Jesus the Messiah.  And Elijah is revered, as is Moses, by Muslims.  All three religeons share interest in the Temple Mount of Jerusalem.  Any connection? 

              Will a Peter figure - such as a Pope - one day suggest that all three (Jesus, Moses, and Elijah) should have a tabernacle on the Temple Mount, or on some mountain?  The answer is most likely some other thing.  But it is a thought provoking occurrence.

©2017 Daniel Curry & 'Deeds of God' Website