A DESERT PLACE
Mark 6:31 And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. 32 And they departed into a desert place by ship privately. 35 And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed:
The Holy Spirit has clearly stamped upon this passage of scripture that which is His issue. The Great Shepherd of the sheep has summoned his flock in order to feed them in a desert place. And we also have the words, to eat recurring some four different times in this passage as well. (See Mark 6:31,36,37.) Also the word eat is seen in verse 42.
Let us know that our title phrase would better be translated, a desert-ed place. For it was most certainly not a “desert” as we would readily think of, with nothing but sand, scorpions and bleached bones. For in John 6:10 we read that it had much grass. And in Mark 6:39 it speaks of the green grass.
In fact, that Greek word desert is also translated wilderness. Consider Revelation 12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. 5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
Satan is said to be watching the Incarnation in order to kill the Son of God along with the other children whom Herod commanded to be slaughtered. (Matt. 2:16). Then we read, after Christ’s establishment of sovereign rule over all nations, of his ascension. Hebrews 1:3 …when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; And he has gone to the cross to prepare a place for his Bride, the church. And that place is termed, the wilderness, or as our first English word, a desert-ed place.
And do not fail to take note of the purpose for that wilderness dwelling. It was that they should feed her there! Notice in Mark 6:36-38 the difference between religion’s mind set from that of Christ’s in the feeding of souls: Mark 6:36 Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat. 37 He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? 38 He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see.
Religion says, “We have no bread. Let them go away and secure their own bread, or it will cost us!” Religion states, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; (James 2:16). But Christ states, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. (John 7:37). He insists, “They need not leave. You have enough right here to give them to eat, if you only had eyes to see it.” To have Christ is to have all the supply that the true church requires! John 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
Our Lord speaks to His Father concerning our being sheltered while living in the world, but our being kept from its evil. John 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
The deserted place is one of spiritual growth! Luke 1:80 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel. It is a place of a variety of spiritual influences, provided for spiritual maturing. Mark 1:12 And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. 13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him. For there, the believers are given to face the powers of darkness in order to exercise themselves in the usage of their spiritual weapons of faith. And these battles mature them, for they grow in spiritual confidence. Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Philippians 1:28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
It is also a place of accountability! Luke 7:24 And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind? 26 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. 27 This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. For what are we doing in this wilderness if it is not to come to God’s Christ; the One to whom the “messenger” introduced us? That is the only reason for the Forerunner’s existence! He was not shaken by the winds of popular opinion! He presented to us, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world! And we have only this wilderness journey in which to come to Him, and embrace Him as Lord and Savior.
It is also a place of sincere, ardent prayer. That same Greek word is also translated into the English word, solitary! And this is to provide us a place of communion with the Lord! Mark 1:35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. The fearful influences of the deserted place will be of great influence to drive us to edifying communion with Christ!
And then it is a condition that provides more spiritual children. For it is also translated into the English word, desolate. Galatians 4:27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Galatians 4:19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, 1 Corinthians 4:15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. The deserted place is a place suitable to the travail of urgent gospel labor for the birthing in of those quickened by the Spirit!
Note that the Apostle Paul states, I travail in birth “again.” For he had done so while present with them, and now continued in a longer enduring labor until he was assured that Christ was formed in them. Galatians 4:13 Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. 18 But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.
The Three Meals: Within the confines of this event we are introduced to three different meals. First that is Herod’s “supper.” This is a natural meal for the feeding of the flesh. Mark 6:21 And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee;
We all have to eat in order to provide “fuel” for the strengthening of the body. 1 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. 8:8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.
But this particular supper is an apt warning to extravagance. For as the food and drink began to satisfy the flesh, it also began to dull the appetites. Therefore greater excitement was required to ‘keep the party going.’ And the result of that was the killing of the spiritual man! For the result of Herodious’ daughter dancing before Herod and his guests was the execution of John the Baptist. Extravagance is always the enemy of spirituality.
And what is one of the things occurring in Noah’s day that shall also be going on in the days of the coming of the Son of man? Does not Matthew 24:37-39 instruct us that it was eating and drinking? And what was the result of that? They knew not! There is nothing wrong with physical eating. But to do so without a consciousness of God, as Noah’s world sadly learned, is to be suddenly caught in judgment without remedy.
The second meal is Christ’s spiritual meal. For we read in John 6:4 And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. This event of Christ stating, Give ye them to eat, was just before Passover. And that is what the reality of this event is all about. The people of Israel were spared from the smiting of all the firstborn throughout all Egypt by having the blood of a sacrificial lamb on their doors, and by eating its flesh within their dwellings.
Exodus 12:7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. 8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
Exodus 12:13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. 14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.
With this Passover feast in their minds, these who had sat on the green grass, feeding from the blessed and multiplied loaves and fishes are taught that Christ is their Bread, and his blood is their life! John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. 52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
The word “soul” has its meaning from the word, “appetite.” As soon as the child is delivered from it’s mothers body, it is cast back upon her breast for its food. The Lord God ‘designed’ it that way in order to show that the spiritual birth – being borned again – requires that soul (that spiritual ‘appetite’), to then constantly feed from Christ for his spiritual nourishment! John 6:57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
The third meal is Christ’s natural meal. In John 6:9 we read of five barley loaves, and two small fishes: And Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance defines that Greek word here for fishes as “a relish to other food (as a cooked sauce), (dried and salted as a condiment).” We can relate to anchovies that are used to add flavor to our pizza. These were small fishes in abundance in that area. And they were that which the “lad” had for his lunch, along with the breads made of barley, the poor peoples bread. And yet the Lord used them to feed 5000 men, besides women and children. And since he had healed them, they all had healthy appetites.
And then we find this same Greek word for these small fishes in another lesson for his disciples at the end of his earthly ministry, after his resurrection and prior to his ascension. John 21:9 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. 10 Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. 13 Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. In each of these verses the same Greek word is used to denote the small fishes like the lad had for his lunch!
The disciples had been out on the same lake fishing without any success, as the Lord was again watching them on shore. He tells them to cast their net on the right side of the ship, and they immediately catch a hundred and fifty three great fish! Then they recognize that it is the Lord. He then gives them the glorious invitation, Come and dine. And what does he have for them on the fire but the same little fishes with which he fed them and the 5000.
Here is now a second opportunity for them to receive the spiritual meaning of the miracle, without hardening their hearts! (Mark 6:52). He had told them at the outset of his calling that he would make them to become fishers of men. Only he can make one to be so. He alone can direct the gospel net (Matt. 13:37), to the “right side” of the ship. And that which they would catch would be the great fish of the souls of mankind. But having fed them with the small little fishes when they arrived on shore, he reminded them again that he is their supply. He is their sovereign sustainer. And he would keep their hearts stable before him for this work by his wise supply. “…feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD?” Prov. 30:8,9. For he, alone, is our Bread!
Pastor Gene Breed, June 21, 2014