Feeding the Five Thousand
This is one of the most famous miracles that Jesus performed. So much so that it’s recorded in all four gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Before we dive into it, we need to understand what had just occurred that broke the heart of Jesus.
John the Baptist, a cousin of Jesus and the one who “prepared the way” for Him, had just been killed. Once Jesus heard this sad news, He withdrew by Himself. But, in typical fashion, the crowds heard He was near, so they followed Him. Even in the midst of His own grief, Jesus had compassion on these who came to see Him and healed the sick among them.
Matthew tells us that the crowds stuck around for most of the day. So, the disciples came to Jesus and suggested that He “...send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves” (Matthew 14:15 NLT). Instead, He told His disciples to give them food, but they claimed to have very little—only five loaves of bread and two fish.
The people were brought to Jesus, and then He blessed the small food offering. He gave the 12 disciples some food to pass out. We read that the people got more than just one helping—they ate as much as they wanted. And the most profound part is that there was still some left. What started out as a small amount of food ended up providing leftovers for the disciples.
According to Matthew 14:21, there were 5,000 men who were fed. But scholars have said it’s likely this amount didn’t include women and children. So, it’s probable that the crowd was actually 15,000 to 20,000 in number—maybe more.
Today’s Takeaway: Be a Giver
In this story, the disciples clearly couldn’t get past the amount of food and the amount of people—they just didn’t match up. One of the most profound thoughts from scholars is that the miracle of multiplication didn’t happen until the disciples began to distribute the food. They would have probably preferred to have seen a large buffet line set up so that their doubts could be quenched. But, that’s not what Jesus planned. He wanted their faith to increase.
This is often how we respond in our own giving. We see our financial status and think, “I can’t afford to give.” So, we wait until we have enough, and before we know it, we never end up giving or making a difference in our church, our communities, or in people’s lives.
We all possess something to make a difference. The little boy who only had five loaves and two fish gave what he had and look what Jesus did with it. May we bring what we have to Jesus, and trust Him to multiply it for His purposes. Let’s not wait until we think we have enough.