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Mark 6:36

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Let not ministers do any thing or teach any thing, but what they are willing should be told to their Lord. Christ notices the frights of some, and the toils of others of his disciples, and provides rest for those that are tired, and refuge for those that are terrified. The people sought the spiritual food of Christ's word, and then he took care that they should not want bodily food. If Christ and his disciples put up with mean things, surely we may. And this miracle shows that Christ came into the world, not only to restore, but to preserve and nourish spiritual life; in him there is enough for all that come. None are sent empty away from Christ but those who come to him full of themselves. Though Christ had bread enough at command, he teaches us not to waste any of God's bounties, remembering how many are in want. We may, some time, need the fragments that we now throw away.
Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible
Verses 32-44

See this narrative explained in the notes at Matthew 14:13-21.

Mark 6:32

By ship - By a boat or a small vessel.

Privately - Without making their plan known. They intended to go privately. It appears, however, that their intention became known, and multitudes followed them.

Mark 6:33

Afoot thither - On foot to the place where they saw them going.

Out of all cities - All cities or large towns in the neighborhood.

Mark 6:34

Much people … as sheep … - They had no one to teach them and guide them. The priests and scribes were proud and corrupt; they despised the common people and neglected them.

Mark 6:35

The time is far passed - The day is almost gone. It is drawing near night.

Mark 6:37

Two hundred pennyworth of bread - About twenty-eight dollars, or 6 British pounds. See the notes at Matthew 14:16. As the disciples had a common purse in which they carried their little property, consisting of the donations of their friends and money to be given to the poor (compare John 12:6; Matthew 26:8-9; Luke 8:3), it is not improbable that they had at this time about this sum in their possession. Philip - for it was he who asked the question John 6:7 - asked, with a mixture of wonder and agitation, whether they should take all their little property and spend it on a single meal? And even if we should, said he, it would not be sufficient to satisfy such a multitude. It was implied in this that, in his view, they could not provide for them if they wished to, and that it would be better to send them away than to attempt it.

Mark 6:40

In ranks - Literally, in the form of square beds in a garden. By regularly formed companies.

By hundreds and by fifties - Some companies had a hundred in them, and some groupings had fifty in them. We do not need to suppose that these were “exactly” formed or arranged, but that this was approximately the number. The expression indicates a “multitude.” There were so many that they sat down, by “hundreds” and by “fifties,” in separate companies, upon the green grass.

Mark 6:43

twelve baskets - Baskets belonging to the disciples, in which they carried their provisions, or, perhaps, belonging to some of the multitude.

Fragments - Broken pieces of the bread that remained.

Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 344-5

Your weekly seasons of prayer will not qualify any one of you for your great and solemn responsibilities, if, after these seasons, you feel that your work is done, and, having looked into the great moral looking glass, you go away and forget what manner of man you were. It is not merely one day of service that will suffice for the soul's need. You must be constantly coming to the storehouse to feed on the flesh and blood of the Son of God. Religion is not to be cheapened in 1896 or 1897. TM 344.1

Those who are partakers of the divine nature are to come out from worldly influences, from empty festivities, and sit down with Christ, in heart communion with their Redeemer. Cease your unbelieving worry. When the anxious disciples saw the hungry multitudes beside the sea, impossibilities arose in their minds, and they questioned, Shall we go to the villages and buy, to give them to eat? Just so in the several conferences many now ask, Shall we send to Battle Creek for someone to come and hold meetings with us and revive us and feed us? What said Christ? No. He commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass in companies of fifty and one hundred. They obeyed orders, seating themselves in long lines on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fishes out of the hands of the lad, and, looking up to His Father, He asked His blessing upon the meager supply. Then He put into the hands of His disciples the food to be distributed. The scanty provision grew under the hand of Christ, and He had constantly a fresh supply for His servants to distribute to the hungry multitude, until all had a sufficiency. Then the word came, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” There was a surplus of food gathered up. TM 344.2

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Ellen G. White
The Ministry of Healing, 45-50

All day the people had thronged the steps of Christ and His disciples as He taught beside the sea. They had listened to His gracious words, so simple and so plain that they were as the balm of Gilead to their souls. The healing of His divine hand had brought health to the sick and life to the dying. The day had seemed to them like heaven on earth, and they were unconscious of how long it had been since they had eaten anything. MH 45.1

The sun was sinking in the west, and yet the people lingered. Finally the disciples came to Christ, urging that for their own sake the multitude should be sent away. Many had come from far and had eaten nothing since morning. In the surrounding towns and villages they might be able to obtain food. But Jesus said, “Give ye them to eat.” Matthew 14:16. Then, turning to Philip, He questioned, “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” John 6:5. MH 45.2

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Ellen G. White
Education, 107-8

Parents and teachers should aim so to cultivate the tendencies of the youth that at each stage of life they may represent the beauty appropriate to that period, unfolding naturally, as do the plants in the garden. Ed 107.1

The little ones should be educated in childlike simplicity. They should be trained to be content with the small, helpful duties and the pleasures and experiences natural to their years. Childhood answers to the blade in the parable, and the blade has a beauty peculiarly its own. Children should not be forced into a precocious maturity, but as long as possible should retain the freshness and grace of their early years. The more quiet and simple the life of the child—the more free from artificial excitement and the more in harmony with nature—the more favorable it is to physical and mental vigor and to spiritual strength. Ed 107.2

In the Saviour's miracle of feeding the five thousand is illustrated the working of God's power in the production of the harvest. Jesus draws aside the veil from the world of nature and reveals the creative energy that is constantly exercised for our good. In multiplying the seed cast into the ground, He who multiplied the loaves is working a miracle every day. It is by miracle that He constantly feeds millions from earth's harvest fields. Men are called upon to co-operate with Him in the care of the grain and the preparation of the loaf, and because of this they lose sight of the divine agency. The working of His power is ascribed to natural causes or to human instrumentality, and too often His gifts are perverted to selfish uses and made a curse instead of a blessing. God is seeking to change all this. He desires that our dull senses shall be quickened to discern His merciful kindness, that His gifts may be to us the blessing that He intended. Ed 107.3

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 364-71

This chapter is based on Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:32-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-13.

Christ had retired to a secluded place with His disciples, but this rare season of peaceful quietude was soon broken. The disciples thought they had retired where they would not be disturbed; but as soon as the multitude missed the divine Teacher, they inquired, “Where is He?” Some among them had noticed the direction in which Christ and His disciples had gone. Many went by land to meet them, while others followed in their boats across the water. The Passover was at hand, and, from far and near, bands of pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem gathered to see Jesus. Additions were made to their number, until there were assembled five thousand men besides women and children. Before Christ reached the shore, a multitude were waiting for Him. But He landed unobserved by them, and spent a little time apart with the disciples. DA 364.1

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Cross References
Jesus' Ministry in Galilee and Journey to Jerusalem