14 Feb. Mark 6:31-44

14 Feb. Jesus multiplies the loaves and fishes

"Crowds of people were coming and going so that Jesus and his followers did not even have time to eat... So they went in a boat to a lonely place..."

"When he arrived, he saw a great crowd waiting. He felt sorry for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began to teach them many things."

"When it was late in the day, his followers came to him and said, 'No one lives in this place, and it is already very late. Send the people away so they can go to the countryside and towns around here to buy themselves something to eat.'"

"But Jesus answered, 'You give them something to eat'. They said to him, 'We would all have to work a month to earn enough money [Greek: 'two hundred denarii'] to buy that much bread!'"

"Jesus asked them, 'How many loaves of bread do you have? Go and see'. When they found out, they said, 'Five loaves and two fish.'"

"Then Jesus told his followers to have the people sit in groups on the green grass... Jesus took the five loaves and two fish and, looking up to heaven, he thanked God for the food."

"He divided the bread and gave it to his followers for them to give to the people. Then he divided the two fish among them all. All the people ate and were satisfied. The followers filled twelve baskets with the leftover pieces of bread and fish. There were 5,000 men who ate."

          (Mark 6:31-44)



One day during the spring of 29AD, Jesus and his disciples tried to escape the crowds around Capernaum by sailing across the Sea of Galilee, but many people ran on ahead and met Jesus when he landed on the eastern shore.

He taught them until evening in this lonely ‘wilderness’, and then fed five thousand families miraculously with five loaves and two fishes – just as God had fed the Jews with manna during their wilderness wanderings (see Exodus 16:1-16).

The implication of this miracle was not lost on the Jewish crowd who had heard Jesus: Only God could feed thousands of people in the wilderness, yet Jesus had done just that!

Jesus’s miracle of the loaves and fishes took place in a Gentile territory on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The fish that miraculously fed five thousand families were probably the local Galilean Tilapia which had been pickled or salted. Pickled Tilapia were produced in Capernaum for export, and would not need to be cooked before being eaten by the crowds.

This miracle is remembered today at the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes at En Tabgha on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee near Capernaum, where a mosaic from the 4th century AD depicts a loaf and two fishes (see the photo).

This modern church was erected in 1982 on the site of a 5th century Byzantine church built to commemorate Jesus’s miracle at Heptapegon (meaning ‘Seven Springs’), a site where early Byzantine pilgrims would have rested in the shade of the trees near the springs.

The photo shows the 4th century mosaic of the loaves and fishes at En Tabgha near Capernaum.

You can read more about these Byzantine remains on The Bible Journey website @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/jesus-journeys-among-the…/

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