THE Lord returned from the region of Tyre and Sidon, going through the hilly country in the northern part of the land, and so down into the country east of Jordan, “through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.” We have heard of Decapolis, “the ten cities,” the district east and south of the Sea of Galilee. It was a Gentile country and many of the people worshipped idols.
This is the first long journey that we read of the Lord’s making east of the Jordan, but by and by He spent much time there, and did many miracles and spoke many parables. By and by many people in that country learned to know and love Him. At this time we are told of His healing one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech.
And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.—Mark VII. 31-37.
The Lord was now near to the Sea of Galilee. He went up into a mountain, and sat, down there, and the people came about Him. What had he once done on a mountain-slope looking out upon this same beautiful water? Some of the people at this time had been with Him for three days. He had pity for them, and would not send them away fasting. The disciples asked, “Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?” It was a pasture country with few towns. The Lord asked them, ” How many loaves have ye?” Did not this remind them of the miracle that the Lord did before when he asked the same question and they found five barley loaves and two small fishes? Now there were seven loaves and a few fishes. The loaves were thin round cakes of bread.
As at the other time, the Lord commanded the people to sit down on the ground, “And he took the seven loaves and the fshes, and gave thanks and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.” There were four thousand men who ate, besides women and children, and they took up seven large baskets full of fragments. Does not the Lord do the same wonderful miracle every year, as he provides food for all His creatures? “These wait all upon thee; that thou mayesl give them their meat in due season. . . . Thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. . . . Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.” (Ps. civ. 27-=30.)
In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far. And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness? And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven. And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away. And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha.—Mark VIII. 1-10.
Author: William L. Worcester 1904
Deaf man in the Gentile country >> Those who from ignorance do not obey
One who is deaf and has an impediment in his speech >> One who is too ignorant to teach others, or even to acknowledge and thank the Lord
Be opened >> The Lord loves to teach the ignorant so that they can both obey and acknowledge Him
Feeding the multitude >> Giving of spiritual food, which is instruction about good things to satisfy our affections and thoughts
Bread and fishes >> Satisfaction in duty well done, and interest in learning the ways of right and use -gifts from the Lord on which our souls grow strong
First Miracle >> 5000 men, 5 loaves, 2 fishes, 12 baskets full
Second Miracle >> 4000 men, 7 loaves, few fishes , 7 baskets full
Seven >> What is very full and heavenly
The seven loaves and the four thousand >> The second miracle represents a deeper, more spiritual feeding of the soul than the first
Seven Baskets full left over >> Spiritually, the more we give, the more we have
Pictures: James Tissot —-Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum