BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 16, Day 5: Matthew 15:29-39 and Mark 7:31; 8:1-9

Summary of passages:  Matthew 15:29-39:  Jesus traveled back to Galilee and healed many on a mountainside.  He says that he has compassion on these people who have been with him for 3 days and have nothing to eat.  The disciples ask where could they get enough food to feed them.  Jesus, just like in the feeding of the 5000 (Matthew 14:13-21), gave thanks for a few loaves of bread and fish and broke the food, resulting in enough to feed the crowd with some leftover.

Mark 7:31; 8:1-9:  Mark’s version of the same story.  Jesus wants to feed the people so they don’t collapse from hunger on the way home.  The disciples wonder where they will get enough bread to feed them.  Jesus again breaks bread and feeds all.


13a)  In the feeding of the 5000, the people only had to wait one day (Matthew 14:15; Mark 6:35; Luke 9:12).  In the feeding of the 4000, the people waited 3 days (Matthew 15:32; Mark 8:2).

In the feeding of the 5000, the disciples ask Jesus to send the crowds away so they can buy their own food (Matthew 14:15; Mark 6:35-36; Luke 9:12).  In the feeding of the 4000, it is Jesus who notices their need (Matthew 15:32; Mark 8:2-3).

In the feeding of the 5000, there are 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish (Matthew 14:17; Mark 6:41; Luke 9:13).  In the feeding of the 4000, there are 7 loaves of bread and a few small fish (Matthew 15:34; Mark 8:5; 7).

In the feeding of the 5000, Jesus looks to heaven as he breaks the bread (Matthew 14:19; Mark 6:41; Luke 9:16); while in the feeding of the 4000, this is not mentioned (Matthew 15:36; Mark 8:6-7)).

In the feeding of the 5000, there were 12 basketfuls of broken pieces left over (Matthew 14:20; Luke 9:17).  In the feeding of the 4000, there were “several” basketfuls of broken pieces leftover (Matthew 15:37) according in Matthew and Mark says there are 7 (Mark 8:8).

Of course, the number of people was different:  5000 (Matthew 14:21; Mark 6:44; Luke 9:14); 4000 (Matthew 15:38; Mark 8:9).

In the feeding of the 5000, Mark  and Luke mention how the people sit in groups of hundreds and fifties (Mark 6:40; Luke 9:14).  In the feeding of the 4000, the people are merely told to sit (Matthew 15:35; Mark 8:6).

[Scholars say the different in the grass indicates a difference in the seasons.]

NOTE:  The Greek word for baskets is also different between the 5000 versus the 4000 (the baskets are larger here).  I did not mention this because it could just be a translation error so one can not conclusively say that the baskets for the 4000 were larger than for the 5000.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Anything is possible with Jesus.  Jesus has great compassion on the people both spiritually and physically.  Even when other doubt Jesus never does.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Believe that I can accomplish anything with Him.

Conclusions:  Loved part a where we compared both miracles.  Thought part b and c were lackluster.  A better question would have been a focus on how the disciples lacked faith AGAIN when it came to Jesus feeding the 4000 after witnessing the miracle of the 5000.

Matthew mentions Jesus then went to a place called Magadan after the feeding of the 4000.  If you google this, you’ll see this is a modern town in Russia.  Some scholars think this refers to Magdala (location known) and the alleged hometown of Mary Magdalen.  However, others think Magadan is correct; the location today is just unknown.

Mark calls the place Jesus went after the miracle Dalmanutha, which its location is also unknown but believed to be on the Sea of Galilee.

This MAP is a guess as to the location of Dalmanutha:  This map also shows possible locations of Magadan and Magdala.

Good explanation on possible locations:

End Notes:  Most scholars agree that this was the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee–a predominantly Gentile place known as the Decapolis.  Hence, Jesus did heal and minister to the Gentiles as well as the Jews.  Matthew’s description of the people praising the “God of Israel” also supports that these people were Gentiles.  Note how God is praised, not Jesus.

The leftovers show how God provides abundantly.

Scholars say the feeding of the 5000 and the 4000 foreshadow the predicted Messianic banquet. However, the Jews did not see this because they believed the Messianic banquet did not include the Gentiles.


BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 16, Day 2: Matthew 15:1-9

Summary of passage:  Again, the Pharisees and teachers of the law are testing Jesus and trying to trap him with legalism.  They ask him why his disciples are breaking their tradition (not God’s) of washing their hands before they eat.  Jesus calls them hypocrites for they break God’s commandment of honoring your father and mother by turning everything a child does for his parents into a gift devoted to God.  Jesus says Isaiah was right when he said they honored God with their mouths but not their hearts (Isaiah 29:13).


3a)  Mark explains the Jewish tradition that all Jews do not eat unless they ceremonially wash their hands.  Hence, they wanted to know why the disciples were not following Jewish tradition.

b)  Jesus replied they were hypocrites and in fact break God’s commandments in favor of tradition.  He lists an example of how the Pharisees have twisted the honor your mother and father commandment into gifts to God instead.

4a)  One of the Ten Commandments is to “honor your father and mother”.  Here, instead of helping their parents, they gave the money to God instead.  This contradicted the law because you are called to help others in need.  Also, their hearts were in the wrong place.  They gave the money to God as mere show, not out of devotion to Him.  It was for man they were giving the money.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We are called to give to God but we also called to help others, especially our parents who did everything for us as children.  We need to honor them by helping them and giving to them as well in times of need.  God knows the heart.  He knows if you are giving out of obeying Him or giving to impress others.

5a)  People can always just go through the motions when man is watching and pretend to be God’s child when he or she is not.  People and/or teachers can twist God’s law like the Pharisees did to be man’s rules instead of God’s.  If your heart is not God’s, your actions are all in vain.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m always in danger because the devil is always looking to tempt me.  I try to remember everything is God’s and He deserves all the praise.  I do everything for Him.  I think when indifference creeps in, then I’m in trouble, which it does sometimes.  But I believe God knows my intentions even when I myself am too lazy to give it all to Him.

Conclusions:  I liked reading Mark and learning about Corban.  It’s been a while since I’ve read Mark so that was refreshing.  I also liked the emphasis on lip service paid to God, which I think we are all guilty of.  It’s a good reminder to have Him present in all things you do.

Explanation of Corban from Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary by J.D. Douglas & Merrill Tenney:

This is the only time the term “Corban” is used in the Bible.  Jesus was referring to the common practice of people who would dedicate their property to the Lord (but still maintaining ownership in the property), which allowed them to claim they had no money or property to support their parents with because the land was already dedicated to the Lord.  Once the property was dedicated to the Lord, it was forbidden for humans to use.

This allowed complete disavowal of the commandment while appearing to be extremely pious in the process.

End Notes:  Note how the Pharisees traveled up North where Jesus was from Jerusalem.  Word is spreading about Jesus and the Pharisees are concerned–so much so they have sent a delegation to check it out.  These conflicts with the Pharisees is what got Jesus killed.  It was his own people–God’s chosen people and the people whom Jesus had come to save first over the Gentiles–who handed him over to the Romans.

Keeping people away from God with these stupid traditions irritated Jesus as we can see here. Tradition is no where near the same weight as God’s Law and that was Jesus’ point here.