preaching study: mark 6:35-44

In “preaching study” posts, I share study & reflection as I prepare the Sunday message . I welcome interaction in this process, so feel free to share your thoughts. All Scripture quotes are from the NRSV unless otherwise noted. Thanks!
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I’m preaching the next two weeks at our Sunday evening contemporary service and will be looking at communion-related texts for each. This week will be Mark 6:35-44, the story of the feeding of the 5000. We will share communion in the service. Next week, the text will be from John 6, in which Jesus talks about being the bread of life.

Yes, the last preaching study blogging didn’t really happen. I think this one will…

Initially, it’s interesting to note in Mark’s telling of the story of feeding the 5000 that Jesus works at getting the disciples to do the hands on ministry with the people. And it seems like he has a bit of a challenge in getting them to do it too. This is a bit curious since they just returned from great ministry with stories to share about how well everything went (6:6b-13, 30). Perhaps with some ministry experience under their belts, Jesus had them where he wanted them for teaching them more about being his disciples. When we read further we see in 6:51-52 that they “were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.” Did not understand about the loaves, huh? Interesting. Those verses conclude the passage in which Jesus walks on water to the disciples in the boat. They were all frightened. “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid,” he said (v50). We’ll have to keep in mind that they didn’t “get it” about the loaves as we read the episode about the loaves; perhaps this is a helpful clue to our text.

Here’s my sketch of the plot outline:

v35-37: Unexpecting hosts
v38: Taking stock
v39-40: Sitting down to table
v41-43: Dinner is served
v44: Head count

More later. Thoughts?

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