Questions for Pondering and Discussion
Read Mark 6:30-44:
The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.
33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”
37 But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.”
And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?”
38 And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”
And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.”
39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men. (ESV)
- Why did Jesus decide to teach the crowd (v. 34), even though his original plan was for the disciples and him to get away to a quiet place and rest after their exhausting missionary travels and the shocking news of the tragic death of John the Baptist? What does this communicate about Jesus?
- How would you define the word “compassion”? Give an example of compassion you’ve seen.
- What’s the difference between biblical compassion and codependency/lack of boundaries?
- Though generally people mostly just watch out for themselves, Jesus lived a life of voluntarily displacing himself for the good of others. Name some ways you see this lived out in Jesus’s life.
- Why did Jesus ask the disciples to go and see how much food they had available, rather than just creating food out of nothing?
- People define their identity in different ways. Some people say, “I am what I do.” Others say, “I am what people think of me.” Still others say, “I am what I have.” Discuss how each of these faulty ways of defining your identity makes you vulnerable.
- You can summarize Jesus’s words here with “Take. Bless. Break. Give.” This is a pattern Jesus often repeated. Henri Nouwen noticed this pattern and said that this could be a better basis for our identity. Talk about how each of these applies to you .
- I am taken.
- I am blessed.
- I am broken.
- I am given.
What did you sense God saying to you through this message?