Study 2: Jesus feeds the multitudes
Sermon Date: March 12, 2017
Readings: Luke 9: 10-17; 2 Kings 4: 42-44
Although this passage may be very familiar, it is full of meaning and application for us today as we journey to Easter – considering who Christ is and our life in him.
Can you remember some special meals that you have offered and enjoyed?
What was the occasion and why do you remember them?
Questions: (see “Helpful Hints” at the end of this section)
Read Luke 9:10-17:
1. Verse 10. Immediately upon returning from their mission (that we considered last week), Luke now decribes “the Twelve” as “apostles”. Why is this and is it important?
2. A feature of the life and ministry of Jesus was that he chose to periodically take time away from the day to day routine to be alone with His heavenly Father or to spend time with his closest followers. This was for three reasons:
a) for His earthly life in the Trinity to be nourished both physically and spiritually
b) to grow in relationship with his disciples and
c) also so that he could help his disciples to grow in their faith and life in Him.
What do you think of this aspect of our discipleship? What experience(s) have you had?
Are you aware of the ways that as a church we regularly offer opportunities for disciples to take time out with God individually and in a small group? Share some of your experiences.
3. Verse 11. What does this verse reveal about the identity, character and ways of Jesus?
4. Reading the passage, identify:
a) what and whose needs are met and how by Jesus?
b) How and with what result Jesus intentionally and progressively invites the disciples to assume responsibility for ministry?
5. Read verses 16-17. What future meal (that is a sacrament) does this miraculous physical feeding point to and why?
6. Verse 17. Why do you think this verse is significant?
As we’ve considered how Jesus sets people free in this famous passage, take some time to consider how you’re responding to Jesus’ invitation to grow in faith and feed others.
How are you using the season of Lent to help you to grow in faith and feed others? (Note: the church Lent programme and resources.)
Give time to sharing and encouraging each other before concluding in prayer.
Helpful Hints for discussion questions:
1 ‘Apostle’ means someone who is sent. A disciple means someone who is a ‘pupil’ or ‘apprentice.’ Luke intentionally uses this term to describe the disciples to signifiy that Jesus had now given them both the instruction and authority to share in His ministry. This was all part of their formation.
5&6 The Lord’s Supper (the Eucharist). Remember this is Jesus’ development of the Passover Meal. Through the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, we remember the new covenant that God instituted with His people through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Hence some people refer to the Lord’s Supper as the Freedom meal.
Through the feeding of the 5,000 (men), the identity of Jesus is again illustrated and we learn that Jesus, (who described himself as the bread of life), ‘feeds’ (i.e. meets the needs) of humanity and more than satisfies all our needs ( verse 17).
It is also interesting that the disciples collect “twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over”. Althiugh there was an abundant supply, there was to be no waste. Also, the number ‘twelve’ is significant in biblical theology. It represents completeness e.g. 12 tribes, 12 disciples.