Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
(Matthew 14:15-21 ESV)
Today we finish reading the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. This is the only miracle of Jesus that is recorded by all four gospel writers, which testifies to its importance. There is a lot to learn from this passage.
Jesus healed the people until it was evening. By this time they were certainly hungry as the disciples noted. But the place was desolate. So they suggest Jesus send the crowds away to buy food.
The disciples had been with Jesus for well over year at this point. They had seen Him perform miracle after miracle, including who knows how many in just the preceding hours. Yet their solution to feeding the people was ordinary. They considered only their circumstances and what they had, which wasn’t much. They didn’t consider that Jesus could miraculously feed the massive crowd. Their understanding of Jesus was very limited.
All the disciples had were five loaves and two fish. Yet Jesus used that small amount to miraculously feed thousands of people. When we bring what we have to Jesus and put it in His hands, He can take what little we have and turn it into so much more. What may appear to be a hopeless situation is never hopeless when we have Jesus.
Notice also that Jesus taught the disciples to do things in an orderly manner. Feeding this many hungry people without organization would have been a disaster. The people would have selfishly jostled for position, probably resulting in injuries. So Jesus has the the crowds sit down on the grass. This kept the situation calm and also let the people know that Jesus had the situation under control.
Everyone ate and was satisfied. No one got less than they wanted. Jesus provided for 100% of their needs. Certainly, any one who puts their life in Jesus’ hands will ever be disappointed either. In fact, there were twelve baskets of food left over. Not coincidentally, this was one basket for each of the disciples to carry.
The biggest lesson here is that we should trust God to take care of our needs. When the disciples suggested Jesus send the crowd away He responded, “They need not go away”. When Jesus is around we don’t need to look anywhere else for solutions to our problems. We don’t need to look to government, or family, or alcohol, or sex or any number of other “solutions”. Jesus is all we need.
All we have to do is give Him what talent and resources we have. In our own hands they amount to little. But in His hands, they can accomplish more than we could imagine.
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