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Based on Mark 6:52 we notice the disciples' observations of previously Feeding 5,000-men from 5-Loaves during [Mark 6:41-44] was considered "hard-hearted" since the disciples did not recognize Jesus of Nazareth as a supernatural "Christ" (Messiah) instead of a Prophet of YHVH like Elisha. So Jesus (after helping feed 5,000 men from 5-Loaves) has to prove he has greater power than normal prophets of YHVH by "walking on the sea" in [Mark 6:49].

  • Yet prior to Jesus' walk on water (instead of on dry land by parting water like most Neviim of YHVH), Were the disciples really hard-hearted in their pre water walk view of Jesus being similar to a Navi like Elisha?

  • Why [should] the feeding of 5,000-men from 5-Loaves be more miraculous or divinely Authoritative [to Jesus' Disciples] than Elisha's feeding of 100-men from 20-Loaves?

[Mark 6:52] "For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened." ( 6:52 οὐ γὰρ συνῆκαν ἐπὶ τοῖς ἄρτοις ἦν γὰρ ἡ καρδία αὐτῶν πεπωρωμένη )
  • The disciples seem to innocently recognize Jesus of Nazareth as a Prophet of YHVH (like Elisha) - since אֱלִישָׁע Elisha had performed a similar miracle in 2 Kings 4:43.
[2 Kings 4:43] "His attendant replied, “How can I set this before a hundred men?” But he said, “Give it to the people and let them eat. For thus said YHVH: They shall eat and have some left over.” (וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ מְשָׁ֣רְת֔וֹ מָ֚ה אֶתֵּ֣ן זֶ֔ה לִפְנֵ֖י מֵ֣אָה אִ֑ישׁ וַיֹּ֗אמֶר תֵּ֤ן לָעָם֙ וְיֹאכֵ֔לוּ כִּ֣י כֹ֥ה אָמַ֛ר יְהֹוָ֖ה אָכֹ֥ל וְהוֹתֵֽר)

Why were Jesus' disciples hard-hearted in [Mark 6:52] for supposing Jesus' 5-Loaves for 5,000 men was equally miraculous and divinely Authoritative as Elisha's 20-Loaves for 100-men [2 Kings 4:43]?

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  • See also John 6:26.
    – Lucian
    Sep 27 at 19:48
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Thank you for the question: Why were Jesus' disciples hard-hearted in Mark 6:52 for supposing Jesus' 5-Loaves for 5,000 men was equally miraculous and divinely Authoritative as Elisha's 20-Loaves for 100-men 2 Kings 4:43?

Part of the answer to this would be in determining the meaning of "hard-hearted" in the Scriptures. We first find the term in Exodus, when it is seen that Pharaoh, despite the signs performed, refused to submit to God. I think we can agree that this is a nice definition of hard-hearted: to be presented with Truth and to choose to ignore it.

As you point out, the disciples of Jesus had witnessed (on several occasions) miracles greater than those performed by Elijah or Elisha. Thus they should have determined that He was not merely a prophet, but The Prophet (as concluded by many of the people fed in John 6:14), the one who was spoken of by Moses (Deut. 18:15, Acts 3:22). Jesus performed miracles and signs that were prophesied to be accomplished by the Messiah (such as the curing of those born blind, Isaiah 42:18, Matthew 11:5). While they did confess Him as the Messiah (Matthew 16:18 e.g.) they still had practical doubts (Mark 16:13-14)

Hope this speaks to your question.

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  • The quantitative statement : "the disciples of Jesus had witnessed (on several occasions) miracles greater than" is close to the answer. | Why based on the scale of a miracle should the disciples have viewed Jesus as a Messiah instead of a Prophet? Sep 27 at 19:20
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    Thanks for the clarification. Perhaps one other point might be that the meaning of Messiah (anointed) includes prophet (c.f. 1 Kings/3 Reigns 19:16). So I would not suggest that their in error to see Him as prophet, but that perhaps it is their expectations.
    – Brainardo
    Sep 27 at 20:25
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Mark 6:

52 For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.

They were slow to understand the nature of Christ.

Luke arranged the events as followed. Jesus spoke in Luke 9:

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.)

Right after the feeding of the 5000, Luke continued:

18 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”

19They 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.”

Peter did finally learn that Jesus was greater than Elijah.

In context to the disciples' hard-heartedness: "Why would the feeding of 5,000-men from 5-Loaves be more miraculous or divinely Authoritative than [Elisha's] feeding of 100-men from 20-Loaves?"

I think you are giving too much credit to the disciples' intellectual prowess at this point in their lives. They were uneducated fishermen. They were not analyzing this comparison. They were not thinking. That's why Jesus had to continue to teach them and show them more signs. They were hard-hearted in the sense that they were slow to understand.

Barnes:

Their heart was hardened - Their "mind" was dull to perceive it. This does not mean that they were "opposed" to Jesus, or that they had what we denominate "hardness of heart," but simply that they were slow to perceive his power. They did not quickly learn, as they ought to have done, that he had all power, and could therefore allay the storm.

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  • In context to the disciples' hard-heartedness : "Why would the feeding of 5,000-men from 5-Loaves be more miraculous or divinely Authoritative than [Elisha's] feeding of 100-men from 20-Loaves?" Sep 27 at 17:01
  • Good point. I added :)
    – Tony Chan
    Sep 27 at 17:11
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Most of the time, we think of a person with a hard heart as being someone who is in terrible rebellion to God. While it is true that a person like that does have a hardened heart, in this instance, the Word is referring to the disciples’ hearts being hardened because they were “sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered” at Jesus walking on the water.

The word “hardened,” as used here, means to make calloused, unyielding or cold in spirit, or insensitive to. The disciples were not God haters, but rather they had become so sensitive to the natural world and its limitations that they were overwhelmed to see Jesus supersede these laws. Therefore, they had hardened hearts (Mark 8:17).

MARK 8:17 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened?

So we see that, in this case, a hardened heart was simply being more sensitive to or dominated by natural thinking than by supernatural thinking. If we use this Bible definition of what a hardened heart is, then all of us have areas where we are hardened (or insensitive) to God.

If they had kept their thinking stayed on the miracle they had just seen Jesus perform (the feeding of the five thousand), then they wouldn’t have been amazed to see Jesus walking on the water toward them. After all, He had constrained them to get into the ship (Matthew 14:22) and was therefore responsible for them.

He also was just a short distance away from them and was in the same storm they were, so they knew He was aware of their situation. They should have been expecting Jesus to come and save them, even if He had to walk on the water to do it. Certainly, a man who could feed five thousand men (not including women and children) with five loaves and two fish and have more left over when He finished than when He started could walk on water too.

But their hardened hearts kept them from perceiving spiritual truths and kept them dominated by only natural thinking, which was completely inadequate to solve their problem.

MARK 8:18 Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?

So then … “Why [should] the feeding of 5,000-men from 5-Loaves be more miraculous or divinely Authoritative [to Jesus' Disciples] than Elisha's feeding of 100-men from 20-Loaves?

For this exact reason - that they were dominated by only natural thinking. ‘Natural thinking’ is fully sourced from your 5 senses. They witnessed (saw, with their natural eyes) the feeding of the 5000. Elisha’s account needed them to to step outside of their ‘natural reasoning’ - but their ‘hearts were hardened’. (Belief requires ‘seeing spiritually’).

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  • The conclusive statement : "Certainly, a man who could feed five thousand men (not including women and children) with five loaves and two fish and have more left over when He finished than when He started could walk on water too." is interesting, because it uses logic. -- The same logic could apply to power which rested on Elisha. | The point of the question was : Why [should] the feeding of 5,000-men from 5-Loaves be more miraculous or divinely Authoritative [to Jesus' Disciples] than Elisha's feeding of 100-men from 20-Loaves? Sep 27 at 19:09
  • ‎@חִידָה Fair point - I’ve added an amendment to add clarity.
    – Dave
    Sep 27 at 19:28

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