Feeding of the 5,000

I’m preaching this Sunday at SAFMC from Matthew 14:13-21. If you’ve ever wondered what Jesus is like, this is a great passage. He’s compassionate, self-sacrificing and powerful. He meets us in our scarcity and brings His abundance. He is so outside our world, yet participates in such a practical way, seen in the beautiful dichotomy between miraculous healing and the hospitality of serving dinner.

More on that Sunday.

But here’s my question: do you see the miracle in the feeding of the 5,000? A few loaves and fishes become dinner with leftovers for a rather large crowd. For most, the miracle is in the divine multiplication of bread and fish, as if God somehow made it so that cutting bread in half would result in four halves, etc. But for some, the miracle is that people decided to get their secret stash of food out and share, but only after seeing the compassion of Jesus on the people.

In one hand, the miracle is God and God alone, and a literal multiplication of food.

in the other hand, the miracle is the response of the people being less selfish and actually sharing the food they were hoarding for themselves.

What do you think? A literal, miraculous multiplication of bread and fish? Or, was it the miracle of humans being less self-centered?

I’m really interested to hear what you think. You’ll help this pastor (points to self) in sermon preparation.
Thanks for commenting here or on Facebook.

3 comments

  1. Well, being someone who was raised in the church, I tend to believe that the Bible says what the Bible says. If that argument still allows for “wiggle room,” take a look at Matthew 15:32-39, which is the account of Jesus feeding the 4,000. Sure, not a whopping 5,000, but 4,000 is still pretty impressive. Sure, there were 7 loaves and a few fish here… but 7 fish, unless they are whale-like, still aren’t going to feed 4,000 peeps. Here’s the thing. Jesus himself said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat.” (v. 32) The account talks about how there were 7 baskets left over, AND that the total number was 4,000 men, besides women and children. (ESV, which is arguably one of the more accurate translations.)

    Now, here’s the thing that solidifies this for me: Jesus is never wrong. He, Emmanuel, God in human form, said that the crowd did not have any food. I think that if the crowd, in this case, had food that they were stashing away, Jesus would have known it. He wouldn’t have been duped into saying “they have nothing to eat.” These “stories” aren’t written to work the life of Jesus into a believable story, to make him sound better than he was (is). They are true accounts, to help us not only learn more about our Lord and his compassion and plan for us, but also to know of some of the miracles that he performed. Why should we need to know these? Well, in John 14:12 Jesus tells us that “whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”

    So that is my 2¢. Hope you either are inspired, or can wrangle up a debate with me. 🙂

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