March 25th 2009

Why Did Jesus Feed The 5,000?

“When he saw them coming, he was overcome with pity and healed their sick.”
Matthew 14:14-21 (The Message)

John the Baptist was dead.
Jesus withdrew to a private place, but the crowds heard and followed him.
Jesus saw all these men who were desperate and leaderless.
They followed him out of all their towns and villages for miles. Years of oppression had beaten them down.
They wanted a Moses, a Joshua or Gideon, a Samson- – or anyone to free them now. This was a man who spoke with authority, a man of God who could heal them too. Hadn’t John the Baptist indicated this was the long-awaited Messiah?

The day wore on. They were miles from any villages.
He taught them more, and they patiently stood. He took pity on them, hungry as they were.
Some of his disciples said he should send them away to the villages so they could go to buy some food. Jesus then told his men to give them something to eat, but the men replied they didn’t have the money!
One of his disciples, a man called Andrew, found a lad who had two fish and five small loaves, but quickly added it was such a small amount to deal with this crowd.
Jesus told them to sit on the grass in ranks by the hundreds and fifties, then gave thanks and broke the bread, as well as the fish.
He gave his disciples the food to hand out and the whole crowd- – 5,000 men (not counting all the women and children) ate until they were full.
Afterwards there was still enough for each disciple to gather a whole basket of leftovers!

Jesus knew the crowd wanted a Messiah as a “military” leader to free them from Rome, but his purpose for coming was to die for the sins of all and rise from the dead so that people can be forgiven and receive the gift of eternal life.

No, his kingdom was not of this world.
He did not do what they seemed to expect. Rather, he did something they did not expect.
He had compassion and pity on them, because he was God in the flesh. The manifestation of his love was pity.  Healing and feeding the crowd was the evidence of this.

Father, please help us to show this kind of compassion and pity for others in trouble and need.

Study by Duncan McLean

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