During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, 2 “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. 3 If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.”
4 His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”
5 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.
“Seven,” they replied.
6 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people, and they did so. 7 They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. 8 The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 9 About four thousand were present. After he had sent them away, 10 he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha.
Jesus was with the Gentiles a little longer. During those Gentile days he had a crowd gather around him to hear his teaching and they stay with him in a remote region even when the food runs out. Jesus takes the opportunity to show his provision again, but his disciples have not yet understood his ability to provide. This story may just emphasize that God provides in Jesus every provision that we need. However, it may emphasize that Jesus’ provision is for everyone, Gentiles as well as Jews. 7 is a number of completion in Jewish thought. Also, N.T. Wright tells us that the number 70 was used to represent Gentiles. The wilderness may be emphasized to show need, but it may be that this is like God’s provision for the people of Israel as they wandered in the desert in Exodus.
The question then rises, are you following Jesus so fervently that you are desperately hungry for his provision. In affect we are all desperately hungry, but many of us try and satiate our hunger with chocolate, television, or sex. This just leads to dissatisfaction and an increased hunger. Playing computer games to satisfy our hunger for more, is like drinking salt water to satiate our thirst. We need to satisfy our needs by developing a relationship with Jesus. We develop that relationship by following hi wherever he leads and listening to his teaching. We let that relationship wane by keeping ourselves busy and working too hard.
Let our lack of satisfaction lead us deeper into our relationship with you. Help us to keep asking, seeking, and knocking on doors until our relationship flourishes.
- What details set this story apart from the feeding of the 5,000?
- Do you think this story emphasizes Jesus’ care for Gentiles?
- How are the disciples changed by this experience do you think?
- Are you following Jesus so intently that the events of your life around you are secondary?
- How can you go to Jesus about something where you need his provision?