Here is a helpful look at Luke 9:7-20 and some thought out questions to help you reflect on Lukes take on these series of events. Please take time to read the passage and to prayerfully reflect on what God may be saying to you.
7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, 8 others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. 9 But Herod said, “I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” And he tried to see him.
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
10 When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, 11 but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.
12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”
13 He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” 14 (About five thousand men were there.)
But he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.”15 The disciples did so, and everyone sat down. 16 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. 17 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
Peter Declares That Jesus Is the Messiah
18 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”
19 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”
20 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.”
After the disciples came back from being sent out by Jesus to enact the kingdom of God by His authority in the surrounding towns, they travelled to a town called Bethsaida.
The crowds of course find out where He went and show up in the thousands, and its as though they are so captivated by Jesus that they forget to plan for the day. They need food and lodging but don’t seem to be thinking about either.
Who is this Jesus that is so captivating?
King Herod too was asking that question with great curiosity, as we see in verses 7 to 9.
He asks who this Jesus is and the people reply that maybe He is John the baptist come back to life or Elijah or perhaps another prophet?
Notice, that these same things are essentially repeated in verses 18 to 20 when Jesus asks the disciple who they think that He is.
Then Peter, gives another possible answer.
“You are God’s Messiah!”
And he’s right.
Why do you think that Luke bracketed the story of feeding the five thousand with this question about Jesus Identity?
Who is Jesus to you?
An interesting, wise teacher or philosopher like Socrates or Plato? Someone to philosophically/theologically debate about?
The answer to your ailment? Or a means to fill your stomach?
An entertainer or magician who gives you something to talk about and satisfy your desire for something sensational?
What does it mean if, like Peter, you believe he is the Messiah?
What are the implications for your life?
What were the implications for Peter and the other disciples?
How did it effect and shape their lives?
Though we don’t have Jesus here in physical form for us to follow, the implications and effects should be the same for us as they were for the disciples because through His Spirit He is just as alive to us as he has ever been any time in history.