Jesus Feeds Four Thousand – by Ritchie Way

Jun 9, 2015 1530

FeedingGreat crowds came to Jesus, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, those who could not speak, and many others. They put them at Jesus’ feet, and he healed them. The crowd was amazed when they saw that people who could not speak before were now able to speak. The crippled were made strong. The lame could walk, and the blind could see. And they praised the God of Israel for this.

Jesus called his followers to him and said, “I feel sorry for these people, because they have already been with me three days, and they have nothing to eat. I don ‘t want to send them away hungry. They might faint while going home. ”

His followers asked him, “How can we get enough bread to feed all these people? We are far away from any town. ”

Jesus asked, “How many loaves of bread do you have?”

They answered, “Seven, and a few small fish. ”

Jesus told the people to sit on the ground. He took the seven loaves of bread and the fish and gave thanks to God. Then he divided the food and gave it to his followers, and they gave it to the people. All the people ate and were satisfied. Then his followers filled seven baskets with the leftover pieces of food. There were about four thousand men there who ate, besides women and children (Matthew 15:30-38 NCV).

Earlier Jesus had fed five thousand Jewish men, plus women and children, with 5 small buns and two fish. This time he fed four thousand Greek men, plus women and children, with seven small buns and a few fish. After the Jewish people had eaten their fill the disciples gathered up twelve baskets of leftovers.

After the Gentiles had eaten their fill the disciples gathered up seven baskets of leftovers (Matt. 16:9-10). Twelve is a kingdom number: 12 patriarchs, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles, etc. The Jews were chosen to be God’s kingdom. Seven (sheba) is the number that signifies a covenant relationship. The Gentile Naaman entered into a covenant relationship with the Lord after dipping seven times in the river Jordan. The Gentile Luke wrote a Gospel—the only one with the stories of the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan—for the Gentiles who were coming to Christ. This Gospel has seven divisions based around Jesus’ seven Sabbath miracles. Through his teaching of the good news to the Gentiles, and through his miracles, Jesus was preparing his disciples for the time when the gospel would be proclaimed to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. Later Peter, who had been called to proclaim the good news to the household of the Roman centurion, Cornelius, confessed, “I now realise how true it is that God does not show favouritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right” (Acts 10:34-35).

The Gentiles were attracted to Jesus, not just because of the miracles he worked among them, but also because of his teachings. These people were so engrossed with Jesus’ words of wisdom that they remained with him in the open for three days, even though they had run out of food. Jesus’ mission among them helped prepare his disciples for a much wider outreach after Pentecost.

Jesus’ words have the power to feed, heal and transform today, just as they did two thousand years ago.

– Ritchie Way

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