Jesus is in Gentile territory right now. I believe He and His disciples are still in the Decapolis. Jesus’ primary mission is to the House of Israel, but He personally expands His reach to the Gentiles too. He started this Gentile trip in Tyre and Sidon then came to the Decapolis.
Early on in Jesus’ time in the Decapolis He healed the man who was deaf and had a speech impediment. We looked at that healing yesterday. After He healed this man Jesus told him to keep the miracle quiet. Well, he didn’t. The more Jesus tried to hush him up the more he spread the news.
Jesus has now been with an ever increasing crowd for three days. Some of the people in attendance have come from a great distance just to hear Him and have Him minister to them. I’m assuming this crowd started growing as our previous recipient of Jesus’ help kept telling everyone about what Jesus did for him. I can’t blame him for his excitement. His healing was also obvious to those who knew him and of course they would want to know how and what happened.
For three days people have come from far and near. For three days Jesus has ministered in word and deed. For three days what food was brought has been consumed. The place they are in is far from any town or amenities.
I wonder what Jesus’ disciples have been thinking about this growing crowd. Have they been worried about feeding them? Have people begun to complain about hunger? How much food was there during the other two days? Was Jesus’ message so awesome that they didn’t even notice their hunger for the past three days? Or were the people so desperate to get to Him that they would wait however long it took?
Whatever the case, Jesus felt for these people. He cared for them as much as He did for the huge crowds in Israel. It was time to serve dinner to the Gentiles, just like He did for the Jews. This shows Jesus’ love for all. He really came for all, and this is how He chose to begin establishing that mandate.
When Jesus ask His disciples how much bread they had, did they remember back to the feeding of the 5,000 or were they wondering what He was up to? Were they just as blown away by today’s miracle as they were the other feast? Did they hesitate one moment when asked to surrender what food they still had? They certainly didn’t have enough for their own group, let alone enough to make a dent in the hunger of this huge crowd! But they gave EVERYTHING they had to Jesus and let Him do with it as He saw fit. They held nothing back when He asked for it.
Had anyone in this crowd heard about how Jesus fed the other crowd? Had anyone been part of that group? When Jesus instructed everyone to sit down, what did they all think was going to happen? Did they think they were getting ready for another lesson? When Jesus stood in front of them with the seven loaves of bread, what were they all thinking about?
I noticed something in reading Matthew’s account of this miracle and Mark’s account. Matthew says of both times Jesus fed the crowd: Jesus blessed the bread (and fish), broke it, gave it to His disciples, who gave it to the people. Mark tells us both times that: Jesus blessed the bread (and fish), broke it, gave it to His disciples, who set it before the people. So I’m wondering how the people get the food. Was it placed where the people had to come and get it or was it handed to them? I heard one person say that they were taught that Jesus kept breaking the bread and passing it to the disciples. I think that would have taken less faith on the part of the people to receive it that way. It would have looked like Jesus had a never ending supply He kept dipping into. If the disciples had to take a broken loaf and keep breaking off pieces they would have been sharing the miracle with the people as they walked among them. If the people had to come forward and take a piece from the piece set before them, they either had to be very hungry or have faith in what Jesus had planned for them. If they had to go get it themselves, did they need to be encouraged to take that first step? Were there people who held back, out of politeness? Once they saw there was still more available, did they then decide to partake too?
Oh to have been there and actually seen that miracle take place! After everyone was fed, Jesus’ disciples collected the leftovers again. This time there were seven baskets full. Everyone was satisfied, physically and spiritually again.
Lord Jesus, thank You that You don’t leave any of us hungry. We may not always have enough physical food, but You always provide a FULL meal for us spiritually, if we make the effort to get it. You don’t place it in our hands very often. You wait for us to get up and get it. You have all we could ever want and it is ours for the taking. Thank You that You prepared it so I could enjoy it on so many levels. You wrote it in entertaining and exciting story format and You also wrote it with deeper meanings, when I really get searching.
Thank You that You showed us in word and deed that You came for all of us, not just for a select few. Thank You that You included me in Your plan of salvation. Thank You for welcoming me into You family. I am excited to finally be welcomed home. Not so excited that I hasten the trip, but looking forward longingly to be fully embraced by Your loving arms, which I know is waiting for me as soon as I arrive. THEN we can find that bench and have long discussions together.