Mark 8:2-9 (ESV)
“I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with Me now three days and have nothing to eat. 3 And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” 4 And His disciples answered Him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?” 5 And He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” 6 And He directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, He broke them and gave them to His disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. 7 And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, He said that these also should be set before them. 8 And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. 9 And there were about four thousand people. And He sent them away.”
It is very obvious from the passage that Jesus has compassion for those that continue with Him. This shows His heart. Jesus did not want to send folks away into danger. Jesus nourishes us so we will not faint… even in desolate places. Take that literally, figuratively, and spiritually if you like.
What’s up with 7 loaves and 7 baskets full of pieces left over? Why the number 7?
I personally have trouble taking the number 7 as some kind of coincidence in this passage. It is not. This number has symbolic meaning in the Bible in many passages. It means “complete” as I believe is noted in this passage.
Jesus brought forth complete nourishment from extraordinarily little. He fed 4000. There were also leftovers from what He put before the disciples to feed the crowd. More could be fed later. A further thought might be… if Jesus can bring forth so much to satisfy thousands from 7 loaves… imagine what He can do with seven baskets of bread!
There is enough IN Christ Jesus since what He offers is from the complete God (7) for all who stay with Him. He Himself is the Bread of Life. He completely satisfies. Surely that is the complete message, right?