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Wednesday Bible Study
Rev. Dr. Howard L. Woods, Jr.
Rev. Dr. Howard L. Woods, Jr.
Wednesday, June 8, 2022

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The Son of Man Sends Forth His Disciples (9:1–11)

Luke 9:8 and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had risen again. :9 Herod said, “John I have beheaded, but who is this of whom I hear such things?” So he sought to see Him.

Others guessed that it was Elijah or one of the other prophets of the OT.

Herod tried to quell his anxiety by reminding others that he had beheaded the Baptizer. But the fear remained. 

The power of a Spirit-filled life! The Lord Jesus, the obscure Carpenter of Nazareth, caused Herod to tremble without ever having met Him.

Never underestimate the influence of a person full of the Holy Spirit! 

Luke 9:10 And the apostles, when they had returned, told Him all that they had done. Then He took them and went aside privately into a deserted place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.

When the apostles … had returned, they reported the results of their mission directly to the Lord Jesus. Perhaps this would be a good policy for all Christian workers. 

Too often the publicizing of work leads to jealousy and division.

G. Campbell Morgan comments that “our passion for statistics is self-centered, and of the flesh, and not of the Spirit.” What are your thoughts? 

Our Lord took the disciples to a deserted place adjoining Bethsaida (house of fishing). It seems that there were two Bethsaidas at this time, one on the west side of the Sea of Galilee and this one on the east. The exact location is unknown. 

Luke 9:11 But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing.

Any hopes of a quiet time together were soon shattered. A crowd of people quickly gathered. 

The Lord Jesus was always accessible. He did not consider this an annoying interruption. He was never too busy to bless. 

In fact it specifically states that He received (or welcomed) them, teaching them about the kingdom of God and healing those who needed it.

Feeding of the Five Thousand (9:12–17)

Luke 9:12 When the day began to wear away, the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.”

As evening drew on, the twelve became restless. So many people needing food! An impossible situation. So they asked the Lord to send the multitude away. How like our own hearts! In matters concerning ourselves, we say, like Peter, “Command me to come to You.…” But how easy it is to say concerning others, “Send them away.” How can we apply this to our lives?

Luke 9:13 But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people.”

Jesus would not send them away to the surrounding villages to get food. Why should the disciples go off on tours to minister to people, and neglect those who were at their own doorstep? Let the disciples feed the crowd. They protested that they had only five loaves and two fish, forgetting that they also had the unlimited resources of the Lord Jesus to draw on.

Luke 9:14 For there were about five thousand men. Then He said to His disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of fifty.”:15 And they did so, and made them all sit down.

Luke 9:16 Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude.

Luke 9:17 So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.

This incident is filled with significance for disciples who are charged with the evangelization of the world. The five thousand represent lost humanity, starving for the bread of God.

The disciples picture helpless Christians, with seemingly limited resources, but unwilling to share what they have. The Lord’s command, “You give them something to eat” is simply a restatement of the great commission.

The lesson is that if we give Jesus what we have, He can multiply it to feed the spiritually hungry multitude. 

The world could be evangelized in this generation if Christians would surrender to Christ all that they are and have. That is the enduring lesson of the feeding of the five thousand.

Peter’s Great Confession (9:18–22)

Luke 9:18 And it happened, as He was alone praying, that His disciples joined Him, and He asked them, saying, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”

Immediately following the miraculous feeding of the multitude we have Peter’s great confession of Christ at Caesarea Philippi.

Did the miracle of the loaves and fishes open the eyes of the disciples to see the glory of the Lord Jesus as God’s Anointed One?

This incident at Caesarea Philippi is commonly acknowledged to be the watershed of the Savior’s teaching ministry with the twelve. Up to this point He has been patiently leading them to an appreciation of who He is and what He could do in and through them. Now He has reached that goal, and so He henceforth moves on determinedly to the cross.

Jesus prayed alone. It is not recorded that the Lord Jesus ever prayed with the disciples. He prayed for them, He prayed in their presence, and He taught them to pray, but His own prayer life was separate from theirs. What are your thoughts?

Following one of His seasons of prayer, He questioned the disciples as to who the crowds said that He was.

Luke 9:19 So they answered and said, “John the Baptist, but some say Elijah; and others say that one of the old prophets has risen again.”

Luke 9:20 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.”

James Stewart’s writes He began with the impersonal question—“Whom do men say that I am?” That, at any rate, was not difficult to answer. For on every side men were saying things about Jesus. A dozen verdicts were abroad. All kinds of rumors and opinions were in the air. Jesus was on every tongue. And men were not only saying things about Jesus; they were saying great things about Him. 

But Jesus was not content with that recognition. People were saying that he was John, Elijah, Jeremiah. But that meant that he was one in a series. It meant that there were precedents and parallels, and that even if he stood first in rank, he was still only primus inter pares, first among his equals. 

But quite certainly that is not what the Christ of the New Testament claimed. Men may agree with Christ’s claim, or they may dissent from it; but as to the fact of the claim itself there is not the shadow of a doubt. Christ claimed to be something and someone unprecedented, unparalleled, unrivaled, unique.


Hinson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 121). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
MacArthur, J. F., Jr., MacDonald, Farstad, Believers Bible; Hinson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 2195). Nashville: Thomas Nelson