Jesus concludes his ministry in Galilee (a Gentile region) with another miraculous feeding and with some more confrontation with the religious leaders of the day.
Read Mark 8:1-21
Simple Questions for Small Groups:
To start your group, have everyone share one way they have seen God at work in their life this week.
1. What stands out to you about the miraculous feeding of the 4,000? How does this miracle show Jesus’ compassion for all people?
2. Jesus is the Bread of Life. He is the bread that truly satisfies. What other things do you seek out for satisfaction (career, looks, romance, sports, education, etc.)? How is Jesus more satisfying than these things?
3. The disciples were upset about not having bread on the boat, but they had the bread maker (Jesus). They still weren’t able to fully trust Jesus. What is preventing you from fully trusting Jesus?
4. How does the cross ultimately prove that we can trust God with every part of our lives?
5. Review the Fighter Verse- Proverbs 3:5-6. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
What would the “Feeding of the 4,000” story look like if the disciples would trust Jesus with all of their hearts? In what situation in your life are you possibly leaning on your own understanding, rather than trusting the Lord with your whole heart?
For Deeper Discussion:
I. Satisfying the hungry.
1. Jesus had compassion on the Gentile crowds. He cared about their spiritual and physical needs. How could we as a church and you as an individual be more compassionate?
2. Good things in life are like bread. They can either make us think we don’t need God (the bread maker) or they can help us to see that God is the one who truly satisfies my soul. What is something good that you have received from God recently? How did you respond to this gift?
3. John 6:27. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. Is your life about working for earthly things that perish, or heavenly things which are eternal?
II. Jesus confronts the hardened.
4. The Pharisees wanted a sign to prove that Jesus was from God (even though they had already made up their minds that he was from Satan). Do you require God to give you “signs?” Why is the cross and resurrection the only sign we really need?
III. Jesus warns the dull.
5. When Jesus warns the disciples to not be like the Pharisees or the Herodians what is he warning them about? How can we apply this warning to our lives today?
*The Pharisees (deeply religious Jews) and Herodians (very secular Jews) would have hated each other, except that they were united against Jesus. Jesus threatened their agendas, their kingdoms.
6. Unbelief creeps in when we fail to review all the ways that Jesus has cared for us (we forget about the baskets of bread v.19-20). As a group go around and list some of the ways that God has cared for and loved you this past week.
7. Unbelief creeps in when we fail to keep our eyes on the cross. This story in Mark 8 is the beginning of Jesus’ move toward Jerusalem and the cross. He will not go back to Galilee again. He got in the boat and left (8:13). Jesus is moving the disciples toward the cross with him. How is Jesus constantly asking us to take up our cross and follow him?
This week read the stories in Mark 8:1-21 with your children. Help them to understand how powerful Jesus is, but also how compassionate Jesus is. Jesus can feed the people and he does feed the people. Help your children to see Jesus as our Savior and our example.
Jesus as Savior- we all are hungry and need bread. Without Jesus we would have nothing. Without Jesus we would not be able to live with God forever.
Jesus as example- like Jesus we can have compassion on people and help others.
What can you do as a family that will show compassion to others? What need can you meet?