The Word This Week

Matt 14:13…

The feeding of the five thousand is the only miracle contained in all four Gospels.

It is that important.

According to the Gospels of Mark and Luke, the disciples had returned from being sent out by Jesus to all the towns He would be visiting to share the word of the coming kingdom. Further, it had been reported to Jesus by the disciples of John the Baptist the news of John’s death by beheading at the hands of Herod.

Jesus saw the need to retreat for some much-needed rest and reflection.

The multitudes of people saw it differently. They followed on land to the location Jesus had chosen. Rather than being put off by the massive crowd pressing in on them in the time they desired to be alone with God, Jesus had compassion on the great crowd and healed their sick.

As the hour became late, the disciples urged Jesus to send the crowd away so they could get something to eat. Jesus told them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

This must have been flabbergasting for His disciples. He had just sent them away to do ministry on their own while taking no provision for themselves. The ministry lesson was intended to teach them God would provide for their needs if only they would depend upon Him to do so.

But this was different. A fresh challenge to their faith. How could God possibly feed this massive crowd? It’s one thing for God to provide for two disciples on the road, both housing and food, (although even this seems frankly amazing to those who have never placed their dependency completely upon God’s provision…) Having now experienced God’s provision for their needs first-hand, what would their response be to Jesus’ command to them to provide for the needs of others?

And we must also note the provision is for five thousand “men.” (This means the crowd was actually much larger than five thousand when women and children are included.)

What the disciples were thinking as they headed into this greatest of ministry challenges yet faced by them is exactly what each of us sense when we are called and sent into the ministry battlefield by Jesus.

Learned here – and why this is so important to all believers and servants of Christ – is true ministry always requires faith and absolute dependency upon Jesus Christ alone. Anything else will leave the people hungry no matter how many resources you may personally possess to throw at the problem.    

Pastor Bill