Feeding of the Four Thousand
(Mark 8:1-10 Matt 15:32-39)1 IN those days again, when there was a great multitude, and had nothing to eat; calling his disciples together, he saith to them: 2 I have compassion on the multitude, for behold they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat. 3 And if I shall send them away fasting to their home, they will faint in the way; for some of them came from afar off. 4 And his disciples answered him: From whence can any one fill them here with bread in the wilderness? 5 And he asked them: How many loaves have ye? Who said: Seven. 6 And taking the seven loaves, giving thanks, he broke, and gave to his disciples for to set before them; and they set them before the people. 7 And they had a few little fishes; and he blessed them, and commanded them to be set before them. 8 And they did eat and were filled; and they took up that which was left of the fragments, seven baskets. 9 And they that had eaten were about four thousand; and he sent them away. 10 And immediately going up into a ship with his disciples, he came into the parts of Dalmanutha.
Against Seeking Signs, the Sign of Jonah11 And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, asking him a sign from heaven, tempting him. 12 And sighing deeply in spirit, he saith: Why doth this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, a sign shall not be given to this generation. 13 And leaving them, he went up again into the ship, and passed to the other side of the water.
The Leaven (Yeast) of the Pharisees14 And they forgot to take bread; and they had but one loaf with them in the ship. 15 And he charged them, saying: Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod. 16 And they reasoned among themselves, saying: Because we have no bread. 17 Which Jesus knowing, saith to them: Why do you reason, because you have no bread? do you not yet know nor understand? have you still your heart blinded? 18 Having eyes, see you not? and having ears, hear you not? neither do you remember. 19 When I broke the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took you up? They say to him, Twelve. 20 When also the seven loaves among four thousand, how many baskets of fragments took you up? And they say to him, Seven. 21 And he said to them: How do you not yet understand? 22 And they came to Bethsaida; and they bring to him a blind man, and they besought him that he would touch him. 23 And taking the blind man by the hand, he led him out of the town; and spitting upon his eyes, laying his hands on him, he asked him if he saw any thing. 24 And looking up, he said: I see men as it were trees, walking. 25 After that again he laid his hands upon his eyes, and he began to see, and was restored, so that he saw all things clearly. 26 And he sent him into his house, saying: Go into thy house, and if thou enter into the town, tell nobody.
Peter's Confession at Caesarea Philippi27 And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi. And in the way, he asked his disciples, saying to them: Whom do men say that I am? 28 Who answered him, saying: John the Baptist; but some Elias, and others as one of the prophets. 29 Then he saith to them: But whom do you say that I am? Peter answering said to him: Thou art the Christ. 30 And he strictly charged them that they should not tell any man of him.
Jesus Foretells His Passion31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the ancients and by the high priests, and the scribes, and be killed: and after three days rise again. 32 And he spoke the word openly. And Peter taking him, began to rebuke him. 33 Who turning about and seeing his disciples, threatened Peter, saying: Go behind me, Satan, because thou savorest not the things that are of God, but that are of men.
“If Any Man would Come after Me”34 And calling the multitude together with his disciples, he said to them: If any man will follow me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel, shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 For he that shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation: the Son of man also will be ashamed of him, when he shall come in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. 39 And he said to them: Amen I say to you, that there are some of them that stand here, who shall not taste death, till they see the kingdom of God coming in power.
Gospel Harmony on Mark 8
Feeding of the Four Thousand
(Mark 8:1-10 Matt 15:32-39)Matthew proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: “And when Jesus had departed from thence, He came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there. And great multitudes came unto Him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them; insomuch that the multitudes wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel. Then Jesus called His disciples unto Him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat,” and so on, down to the words, “And they that did eat were four thousand men, besides women and children.”(Mt 15:29-38) This other miracle of the seven loaves and the few little fishes is recorded also by Mark, and that too in almost the same order; the exception being that he inserts before it a narrative given by no other,—namely, that relating to the deaf man whose ears the Lord opened, when He spat and said, “Effeta,” that is, Be opened.(Mark 7:31-8:9)
In the case of this miracle of the seven loaves, it is certainly not a superfluous task to call attention to the fact that these two evangelists, Matthew and Mark, have thus introduced it into their narrative. For if one of them had recorded this miracle, who at the same time had taken no notice of the instance of the five loaves, he would have been judged to stand opposed to the rest. For in such circumstances, who would not have supposed that there was only the one miracle wrought in actual fact, and that an incomplete and unveracious version of it had been given by the writer referred to, or by the others, or by all of them together; so [that we must have imagined] either that the one evangelist, by a mistake on his own part, had been led to mention seven loaves instead of five; or that the other two, whether as having both presented an incorrect statement, or as having been misled through a slip of memory, had put the number five for the number seven. In like manner, it might have been supposed that there was a contradiction between the twelve baskets and the seven baskets, and again, between the five thousand and the four thousand, expressing the numbers of those who were fed. But now, since those evangelists who have given us the account of the miracle of the seven loaves have also not failed to mention the other miracle of the five loaves, no difficulty can be felt by any one, and all can see that both works were really wrought. This, accordingly, we have instanced, in order that, if in any other passage we come upon some similar deed of the Lord’s, which, as told by one evangelist, seems so utterly contrary to the version of it given by another that no method of solving the difficulty can possibly be found, we may understand the explanation to be simply this, that both incidents really took place, and that they were recorded separately by the two several writers. This is precisely what we have already recommended to attention in the matter of the seating of the multitudes by hundreds and by fifties. For were it not for the circumstance that both these numbers are found noted by the one historian, we might have supposed that the different writers had made contradictory statements. (St. Augustine Harmony of the Gospels 2.50)
Against Seeking Signs, the Sign of Jonah
(Mark 8:11-12 Matt 16:1-4; 12:38-42 Luke 11:16, 29-32)Matthew continues as follows: “And He sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magedan;” and so on, down to the words, “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it but the sign of the prophet Jonas.”(Mt 15:39-16:4) This has already been recorded in another connection by the same Matthew.(Mt 12:38) Hence again and again we must hold by the position that the Lord spake the same words on repeated occasions; so that when any completely irreconcilable difference appears between statements of His utterances, we are to understand the words to have been spoken twice over. In this case, indeed, Mc also keeps the same order; and after his account of the miracle of the seven loaves, subjoins the same intimation as is given us in Matthew, only with this difference, that Matthew’s expression for the locality is not Dalmanutha, as is read in certain codices, but Magedan.(Mark 8:10-12) There is no reason, however, for questioning the fact that it is the same place that is intended under both names. For most codices, even of Mark’s Gospel, give no other reading than that of Magedan. Neither should any difficulty be felt in the fact that Mc does not say, as Matthew does, that in the answer which the Lord returned to those who sought after a sign, He referred to Jonah, but mentions simply that He replied in these terms: “There shall no sign be given unto it.” For we are given to understand what kind of sign they asked—namely, one from heaven. And he has simply omitted to specify the words which Matthew has introduced regarding Jonas. (St. Augustine Harmony of the Gospels 2.51)
The Leaven (Yeast) of the Pharisees
(Mark 8:14-21 Matt 16:5-12 Luke 12:1)Matthew proceeds: “And He left them, and departed. And when His disciples were come to the other side, they forgot to take bread. Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed, and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees;” and so forth, down to where we read, “Then understood they that He bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.”(Mt 16:5-12)These words are recorded also by Mark, and that likewise in the same order.(Mark 8:13-21) (St. Augustine Harmony of the Gospels 2.52)
Peter's Confession at Caesarea Philippi
(Mark 8:27-30 Matt 16:13-20 Luke 9:18-21 John 6:67-71)Matthew continues thus: “And Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi; and He asked His disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am? And they said, Some say that Thou art Jn the Baptist; some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets;” and so on, down to the words,” And whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”(Mt 16:13-19) Mc relates this nearly in the same order. But he has brought in before it a narrative which is given by him alone, —namely, that regarding the giving of sight to that blind man who said to the Lord, “I see men as trees walking.”(Mark 8:22-29) Luke, again, also records this incident, inserting it after his account of the miracle of the five loaves;(Luke 9:18-20) and, as we have already shown above, the order of recollection which is followed in his case is not antagonistic to the order adopted by these others. Some difficulty, however, may be imagined in the circumstance that Luke’s representation bears that the Lord put this question, as to whom men held Him to be, to His disciples at a time when He was alone praying, and when His disciples were also with Him; whereas Mark, on the other hand, tells us that the question was put by Him to the disciples when they were on the way. But this will be a difficulty only to the man who has never prayed on the way.
I recollect having already stated that no one should suppose that Peter received that name for the first time on the occasion when He said to Him, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.” For the time at which he did obtain this name was that referred to by John, when he mentions that he was addressed in these terms: “Thou shalt be called Cephas, which is, by interpretation, Peter.”(Jn 1:42) Hence, too, we are as little to think that Peter got this designation on the occasion to which Mc alludes, when he recounts the twelve apostles individually by name, and tells us how James and Jn were called the sons of thunder, merely on the ground that in that passage he has recorded the fact that He surnamed him Peter.(Mark 3:16-19) For that circumstance is noticed there simply because it was suggested to the writer’s recollection at that particular point, and not because it took place in actual fact at that specific time. (St. Augustine Harmony of the Gospels 2.53)
Jesus Foretells His Passion
(Mark 8:31-33 Matt 16:21-23 Luke 9:22)Matthew proceeds in the following strain: “Then charged He His disciples that they should tell no man that He was Jesus the Christ. From that time forth began Jesus to show unto His disciples how that He must go into Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders, and chief priests, and scribes;” and so on, down to where we read, “Thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”(Mt 16:20-23) Mark and Luke add these passages in the same order. Only Lc says nothing about the opposition which Peter expressed to the passion of Christ. (St. Augustine Harmony of the Gospels 2.54)
“If Any Man would Come after Me”
(Mark 8:34-9:1 Matt 16:24-28 Luke 9:23-27 John 12:25)Matthew continues thus: “Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me;” and so on, down to the words, “And then He shall reward every man according to his work.”(Mt 16:24-27) This is appended also by Mark, who keeps the same order. But he does not say of the Son of man, who was to come with His angels, that He is to reward every man according to his work. Nevertheless, he mentions at the same time that the Lord spoke to this effect: “Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”(Mark 8:34-38) And this may be taken to bear the same sense as is expressed by Matthew, when he says, that “He shall reward every man according to his work.” Luke(9:25-26) also adds the same statements in the same order, slightly varying the terms indeed in which they are conveyed, but still showing a complete parallel with the others in regard to the truthful reproduction of the self-same ideas. (St. Augustine Harmony of the Gospels 2.55)