Feeding the 5,000

The focus of this blog is on Matthew 14:13-21. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”

Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

“Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

In this account, we are told that the disciples suggest a reasonable solution to problem. There were many people that needed food, and the quickest way to get this done was to send the people out on their own. In order to understand the tremendous amount of food that is required to feed 5,000 people, it is fair to put in into perspective. The average person eats about a pound of food each meal. In simple math, we are talking about 2.5 tons of food! Of course, this is a very rough estimate, but the point is to understand the enormity of the miracle.

The disciples were obviously taken aback by the request from Jesus. How were they supposed to do that with the supplies they had on hand? Upon thinking more into this passage, we can see that the disciples were not equipped to feed that many people on short order with the provisions they had on hand. Then Jesus turned their minimal provisions into food that satisfied everyone with a prayer of thanks to God.

You see, this passage teaches us a few lessons on how to effectively disciple. First, we are only equipped with our worldly things in our human form. What we possess alone is inadequate for discipleship and ministry. Then Jesus gave the disciples the ability to feed the crowd through Him. Jesus equipped the disciples with enough to feed and satisfy the people. This is firm reminder that it is okay to be limited in our ability to disciple because Jesus insists that we rely on Him to edify those we encounter. Finally, we see a demonstration of faith in action from Jesus when he looks to Heaven and gives a prayer of thanks. With the trinity, we are gifted the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. When we quiet our protests and inadequacies, then we can be guided by the Holy Spirit to do and say what is necessary and Godly to call His people into faith.  There is a direct relationship in our ability to disciple and minister to others in need of God’s perfect love between ourselves and the Holy trinity.

Let us remember that we are capable of great things when we quiet our hesitations and bridge the gap of inadequacy through faith in Jesus Christ our Savior. When we’re not sure what to say, then it may be a time just to listen. When we fear we’ll say the wrong things, we must trust that everything works according to God’s good and perfect will. We must rest and trust in our faith that even if you are only able to reach one person, God can turn that into many through Jesus Christ.

Matthew 18:20 tells us, “For where two or three are gathered, there am I with them.” That means it just takes a one on one conversation for the presence of our Lord. Allow Him, even in the smallest of numbers or groups to work miracles. Be a vessel this week for the Lord and watch what He can accomplish through each one of us who are faithful.

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