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Just and Merciful Father, help me to lean my life in the direction of your will. Grant me guidance, strength, and peace.
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)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
As I read your Word today, Lord, give me the courage to allow your Word to read me. May I know real nourishment for my soul.
Had you been proofreading Matthew’s Gospel you’d be forgiven for assuming you’d read this earlier. The similarities with the feeding of the 5,000 are remarkable. However, Mark’s account of this same story leaves no doubt that this is an additional incident.1 However, the more compelling proof is that Jesus explicitly tells us that these were separate events.2 The feeding of 4,0003 in ‘the region of the Decapolis [10 Greek cities]’4 suggests that there would have been more Gentiles present than Jews and may explain why Matthew mentions that ‘they praised the God of Israel’ (v 31). After the encounter with the Gentile woman, are we seeing yet another glimpse of the future promise invading the present?
We observe such a clear display of the kindness of Jesus as he cures those with disabilities, has compassion for the weary, and feeds the hungry. As with the 5,000+, the crowd leaves, having encountered the healing power of Christ and having been strengthened through the breaking of bread. We should notice, once again, the foreshadowing of the Last Supper in Jerusalem in these accounts of feeding thousands.
Isn’t it interesting how so many of the accounts that detail the miracles of Jesus end with a meal? In her prophetic song, which overflowed with ancient Messianic promises, the words of Mary (the mother of Jesus) looked forward to the day when: ‘He has filled the hungry with good things’.5 We can only speculate about Mary’s presence on any of these occasions to see the fulfillment of her prophetic song. However, whether on the shore in Galilee or on the mountainside of a neighboring area, the hungry are fed. We must be thankful that Jesus continues to satisfy the hunger of those who seek him today.
‘But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.’6
Ever-loving God, I thank you for your amazing grace. Give me a heart of love for the marginalized and disadvantaged I meet on life’s journey.
1 Mark 7:31 2 Mark 8:19,20 3 If this was the number of men, the total number would have been larger 4 Mark 7:31 5 Luke 1:53 6 Titus 3:4,5
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