THOUSANDS OF HUNGRY MOUTHS
“Lord, with You nothing is impossible. May it be to me according to Your word” (Luke 1:38). Grant me the faith to trust You.
Read Matthew 15:29–39
Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand
29 Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. 30 Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. 31 The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.
32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”
33 His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?”
34 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.
“Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.”
35 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. 37 They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 38 The number of those who ate was four thousand men, besides women and children. 39 After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan.
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectAre you willing to allow Christ to do any work in or through you?
Jesus and his disciples have traveled inland, heading towards the western shores of Lake Galilee. This is the region near Magadan (39), still deep in Gentile territory. And maybe this provides a clue to the placing of this story so soon after another very similar story in chapter 14. Critics sometimes accuse Matthew of duplicating his material by rebadging the same story, but there are some notable differences. It’s also important to note that Mark uses both accounts in his Gospel (Mark 6:35–44; 8:1–10), and both writers are careful with their material.
It’s Matthew’s use of an ordinary noun that explains his purpose in this story. After the vast crowd has been fed, Matthew tells us that the leftovers filled seven baskets. The word for basket here (spyris) is different than the one used in 14:13–21 (kophinos). The spyris was a large basket (big enough to carry a man) and used by Gentile merchants, unlike a kophinos, which was a smaller Jewish bread basket. Following on from the healing of the Phoenician woman’s daughter, here is another example of Jesus reaching out to a group despised by many Jews and yet equally in need of hearing and receiving the good news that the King has come for them also.
Is there a group of people you have felt God’s tug to reach out to? Maybe a people-group or an age-group? What can you do today?
Lord, I praise You that You are the God who feeds and provides. For daily bread and the gift of Your Holy Spirit, I praise You.