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8. Miracles and Peter's Confession
1In those days, when there was again a great multitude, and they had nothing to eat, he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, 2I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: 3and if I send them away fasting to their home, they will faint on the way; and some of them are come from far. 4And his disciples answered him, Whence shall one be able to fill these men with bread here in a desert place? 5And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven. 6And he commandeth the multitude to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he brake, and gave to his disciples, to set before them; and they set them before the multitude. 7And they had a few small fishes: and having blessed them, he commanded to set these also before them. 8And they ate, and were filled: and they took up, of broken pieces that remained over, seven baskets. 9And they were about four thousand: and he sent them away. 10And straightway he entered into the boat with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha. 11And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, trying him. 12And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation. 13And he left them, and again entering into the boat departed to the other side. 14And they forgot to take bread; and they had not in the boat with them more than one loaf. 15And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod. 16And they reasoned one with another, saying, We have no bread. 17And Jesus perceiving it saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? do ye not yet perceive, neither understand? have ye your heart hardened? 18Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? 19When I brake the five loaves among the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve. 20And when the seven among the four thousand, how many basketfuls of broken pieces took ye up? And they say unto him, Seven. 21And he said unto them, Do ye not yet understand? 22And they come unto Bethsaida. And they bring to him a blind man, and beseech him to touch him. 23And he took hold of the blind man by the hand, and brought him out of the village; and when he had spit on his eyes, and laid his hands upon him, he asked him, Seest thou aught? 24And he looked up, and said, I see men; for I behold them as trees, walking. 25Then again he laid his hands upon his eyes; and he looked stedfastly, and was restored, and saw all things clearly. 26And he sent him away to his home, saying, Do not even enter into the village. 27And Jesus went forth, and his disciples, into the villages of Caesarea Philippi: and on the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Who do men say that I am? 28And they told him, saying, John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but others, One of the prophets. 29And he asked them, But who say ye that I am? Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ. 30And he charged them that they should tell no man of him. 31And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, and the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32And he spake the saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. 33But he turning about, and seeing his disciples, rebuked Peter, and saith, Get thee behind me, Satan; for thou mindest not the things of God, but the things of men. 34And he called unto him the multitude with his disciples, and said unto them, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35For whosoever would save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's shall save it. 36For what doth it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? 37For what should a man give in exchange for his life? 38For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of man also shall be ashamed of him, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
Our Lord Jesus encouraged the meanest to come to him for life and grace. Christ knows and considers our frames. The bounty of Christ is always ready; to show that, he repeated this miracle. His favours are renewed, as our wants and necessities are. And those need not fear want, who have Christ to live upon by faith, and do so with thanksgiving.
Obstinate unbelief will have something to say, though ever so unreasonable. Christ refused to answer their demand. If they will not be convinced, they shall not. Alas! what cause we have to lament for those around us, who destroy themselves and others by their perverse and obstinate unbelief, and enmity to the gospel! When we forget the works of God, and distrust him, we should chide ourselves severely, as Christ here reproves his disciples. How is it that we so often mistake his meaning, disregard his warnings, and distrust his providence?
Here is a blind man brought to Christ by his friends. Therein appeared the faith of those that brought him. If those who are spiritually blind, do not pray for themselves, yet their friends and relations should pray for them, that Christ would be pleased to touch them. The cure was wrought gradually, which was not usual in our Lord's miracles. Christ showed in what method those commonly are healed by his grace, who by nature are spiritually blind. At first, their knowledge is confused; but, like the light of the morning, it shines more and more to the perfect day, and then they see all things clearly. Slighting Christ's favours is forfeiting them; and he will make those who do so know the worth of privileges by the want of them.
These things are written, that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. These miracles of our Lord assure us that he was not conquered, but a Conqueror. Now the disciples are convinced that Jesus is the Christ; they may bear to hear of his sufferings, of which Christ here begins to give them notice. He sees that amiss in what we say and do, of which we ourselves are not aware, and knows what manner of spirit we are of, when we ourselves do not. The wisdom of man is folly, when it pretends to limit the Divine counsels. Peter did not rightly understand the nature of Christ's kingdom.
Frequent notice is taken of the great flocking there was to Christ for help in various cases. All are concerned to know this, if they expect him to heal their souls. They must not indulge the ease of the body. As the happiness of heaven with Christ, is enough to make up for the loss of life itself for him, so the gain of all the world in sin, will not make up for the ruin of the soul by sin. And there is a day coming, when the cause of Christ will appear as glorious, as some now think it mean and contemptible. May we think of that season, and view every earthly object as we shall do at that great day.