Jesus Feeds Five Thousand
(Matthew 14.13-21; Mark 6.30-44; John 6.1-14)
10The apostles came back and told Jesus everything they had done. He then took them with him to the village of Bethsaida, where they could be alone. 11But a lot of people found out about this and followed him. Jesus welcomed them. He spoke about God's kingdom and healed everyone who was sick.
12Late in the afternoon the twelve apostles came to Jesus and said, “Send the crowd to the villages and farms around here. They need to find a place to stay and something to eat. There is nothing in this place. It's like a desert!”
13Jesus answered, “You give them something to eat.”
But they replied, “We have only five small loaves of bread and two fish. If we are going to feed all these people, we will have to go and buy food.” 14There were about 5,000 men in the crowd.
Jesus said to his disciples, “Tell the people to sit in groups of 50.” 15They did this, and all the people sat down. 16Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. He looked up toward heaven and blessed the food. Then he broke the bread and fish and handed them to his disciples to give to the people.
17Everyone ate all they wanted. What was left over filled twelve baskets.
Throughout this entire passage we see how Jesus cared for people.
First he cared for the apostles when they came back from their first missionary trip. I can imagine they were gathered around him, talking all at once, laughing, excited, and anxious to share everything they had seen and experienced. This is what my kids are like when I pick them up from summer camp. They talk so fast their mouths can’t keep up!
Jesus wanted to give them his full attention, so he took them away so they could be alone. A time to debrief, listen, talk, understand and connect.
Verse 11 starts with “but.” There’s nothing like a knock on the door during family time to make me want to groan. I suspect the disciples might have felt like groaning when all these people showed up during their alone time. Not Jesus. He cared for these clamoring crowds by welcoming them, teaching them and healing them.
We see the apostles “peopled out” in verse 12. They were ready to have Jesus to themselves. They wanted to do the logical thing and send the people away. Not Jesus. He cared for the hungry masses by feeding them.
Jesus also cared for the tired apostles. He had told them to feed the crowds, but they didn’t know how. You’d think that after being given authority over demons and diseases this would have been an “easy” miracle, a “no-brainer.” But it wasn’t. So Jesus did it for them. He didn’t scold them or berate them. He cared for them by generously showing them, again, that he is God and he cares for his people.
In the midst of our tiredness, our hunger, our weaknesses or our failures, we can be assured that Jesus’ heart attitude toward us is that of care.
Dear Jesus, You are the very essence of love and it is your kindness and care for me that draws me to you. Show me today how to care for those around me so that I might live out your command to love others as myself. In Jesus’ name. Amen.