HE’S DOING IT AGAIN!
Lord, You are our great provider.
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.
Some theologians have critiqued some forms of Christianity for focusing on “meeting our needs” instead of glorifying God. Give thanks today that Jesus does both!
Crowds come to Jesus—just as he sits down to rest (29,30). Drawn to Jesus in all their varied needs and helplessness, the suffering are laid at his feet (30). There is no better place to bring people than to the feet of Jesus. He heals them, and God gets the glory. We have met people caught up in theological niceties (1,2). By contrast, Jesus gives himself to the needy as a servant in action.
Jesus is concerned for physical well-being. There are hungry people around, and he wants to see them fed. Deeper lessons can be drawn from this miracle, but Jesus provides no motivation for this miracle other than that these people “have nothing to eat” (32). The incarnated Jesus has a concern to feed the hungry, a continuing need throughout the world where millions of people live below the poverty line and where food banks motivated by Christian values express the heart of Jesus.
The need also provides an opportunity for a display of regal power. Jesus repeats his earlier feeding of 5,000 people, though his disciples again fail to recognize that Jesus can handle this need (33). Somehow, having witnessed the power of Jesus in the past, we fail to recognize that he can do it again! He displays his power once more, multiplying the food, satisfying the hungry and with plenty left over. The recounting of the stories of the feeding of the 5000 and 4000 (the former sitting in all four gospels, the latter in both Matthew and Mark) reinforces the importance of these miracles in understanding Jesus. He is the Creator who manipulates the material world for his good purposes, providing food as the covenant-keeping God. His authority is suffused with kindness.
Why do you think the feeding miracles are contained six times across the gospels? What particularly do they say to you about the Lord Jesus and your discipleship?
Lord, give me insight into the gospel accounts which display Your ability and willingness to feed humanity.