EPISODE TWO: Messiah orders the Twelve to accompany Him on a boat trip to a secluded place on a mountainside next to Bethsaida.
- The crowd follows Messiah because of His miracles
- After these things
- Nisan 1-7
- House of the Fisherman (Bethsaida)
A large crowd follows the Messiah:
After these things the Salvation of Adonai (Yeshua) went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias). A large crowd followed Him, because they saw the signs (attesting miracles) which He was performing on those who were sick. The miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 men (and an estimated 5,000 women and children) is the only sign recorded in all four of the Jewish Gospels (besides the resurrection of the Messiah). This fact alone points to its importance. The significance of the sign was expounded by the Lord in a long discourse. The miracle was spectacular. It caused a peak in the people’s messianic hopes. But in its aftermath many of His followers no longer followed him.
After these things:
“After these things.”
As discussed previously, on Nisan 1 Herod Antipas had killed the prophet of the Most High Yochanan Ben Zechariah Ben Aaron. After preaching the good news (besorah) of the Messiah throughout Galilee and hearing about Yochanan’s execution the disciples immediately returned to the Messiah. The time between Yochanan’s arrest and execution was about six months; from the fall month of Tishri to the spring month of Nisan. Although we do not know when the disciples were first sent on their preaching mission throughout Galilee, we do know that their mission concluded at the execution of the prophet Yochanan on Nisan 1. From the 1st of Nisan (Rosh Chodashim, “the head of the months”) the disciples rushed to tell the Messiah Yeshua the tragic news. After delivering the news of Yochanan’s execution by beheading and an an account of their mission the Messiah decided to transit to a remote place in the northeast side of the Sea of Galilee to be alone with His disciples. Multitudes of people were following the Messiah. Consequently, His private location was discovered, and a crowd was assembling nearby there.
These events occurred during the week of Nisan 1-7 (3789, 29 CE).
The time-frame is one year before the Messiah’s death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven. As stated previously, the Nisan 1-7 window of time is the same as that of the future annual observance of the cleansing of the Temple. The future 1,000 year Golden Age of the Messiah’s rule on earth will involve a new festival that will occur annually at this time. This new festival will occur annually at the beginning of the spring month of Nisan just a few days before the annual observance of Pesach (Passover, Nisan 14-21). There will be two opportunities to participate in the cleansing of the Temple. The 1st cleansing of the Temple will occur on Nisan 1. The 2nd cleansing of the Temple will occur on Nisan 7.
House of the Fisherman (Bethsaida):
Bethsaida is mentioned more times in the Four Faces of Ezekiel (Four Jewish Gospels) than any other city with the exception of Jerusalem and Capernaum. The name “Bethsaida” possesses a double meaning. It can be taken to mean “house of the fisherman” or “house of the hunter.” The first spiritual meaning appears to be the best fit, since the Messiah had said:
בּוֹאוּ אַחֲרַי וְאֶעֱשֶׂה אֶתְכֶם דַּיָּגֵי אָדָ!”פ“
Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men!
Bethsaida (בֵּית צַיְדָא) was the birthplace of at least three of the Messiah’s early disciples. These disciples are Peter, Andrew and Philip. Peter had relocated to nearby Capernaum. I expect Andrew likely moved as well. However, it appears Philip continued to live at Bethsaida. Prior to the feeding of the 5,000, Yeshua turned to Philip and asked him where they should buy bread. Philip was asked this question because his hometown was just down the hill. Therefore, he was the one who would have known where all the nearby bakeries were. Two recorded miracles of the Messiah occurred in the region of Bethsaida. The first miracle was the feeding of the 5,000 men (plus women and children) and the second miracle was the healing of a blind man just outside the city of Bethsaida. In regard to the healing of the blind man:
And they came to Bethsaida. And they brought a blind man to Yeshua and implored Him to touch him. Taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around.” Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly. And He sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.”
It is important to note that just before the just referenced miracle of the healing of the blind man the Messiah had miraculously fed 4,000 men (plus women and children). We will be studying this narrative later as it pertains to the miracle feeding of the 5,000. However, it seems appropriate for now to report what transpired in the miracle feeding of the 4,000. The narrative of the feeding of the 4,000 is as follows:
“In those days, when there was again a large crowd and they had nothing to eat, Yeshua called His disciples and said to them, “I feel compassion for the people because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come from a great distance.” And His disciples answered Him:
“Where will anyone be able to find enough bread here in this desolate place to satisfy these people?”
And He (the Messiah) was asking them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven.” And He directed the people to sit down on the ground; and taking the seven loaves, He gave thanks and broke them, and started giving them to His disciples to serve to them, and they served them to the people. They also had a few small fish; and after He had blessed them, He ordered these to be served as well. And they ate and were satisfied; and they picked up seven large baskets full of what was left over of the broken pieces. About four thousand were there; and He sent them away. And immediately He entered the boat with His disciples and came to the district of Dalmanutha. The Prushim (Pharisees) came out and began to argue with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, to test Him. Sighing deeply in His spirit, He said, “Why does this generation seek for a sign? Amen I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” Leaving them, He again embarked and went away to the other side. And they had forgotten to take bread, and did not have more than one loaf in the boat with them. And He was giving orders to them, saying,
Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Prushim and the leaven of Herod!
They began to discuss with one another the fact that they had no bread. And Yeshua, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.” “When I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?” And they said to Him, “Seven.” And He was saying to them, “Do you not yet understand?” And they came to Bethsaida. And they brought a blind man to Yeshua and implored Him to touch him. Taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around.” Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly. And He sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.”