Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 60
Matthew:14:13-21 Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:14:1-12 John the Baptist Beheaded
What is God doing?
"He departed thence by ship into a desert place apart"
All four gospels record this event each with additional particulars nkjv@Mark:6:32-44 nkjv@Luke:9:10-17 nkjv@John:6:1-15. This event follows the disciples returning from there miracle giving anointing being sent out in pairs; it was while they were sent out that the disciples of John the Baptist visited to tell Jesus of the sudden fate of the great prophet. Luke places this in a area near to the city of Bethsaida. This is believed to be near where the Jordan river pours into the sea of Galilee (Tiberious), the home of Phillip Andrew and Peter. Desert place identifies it as uncultivated ground used for grazing according to the ISBE dict:isbe Bethsaida .
"Was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick"
Part of the compassion felt was because He saw them as sheep not having a shepherd. You can imagine the sight of it as the crowd seems to follow no matter where He goes, this time they are running along the shore line trying to keep up. In the crowd there are always the sick, many sick, enough to take up the majority of the day. We have previously considered that the nation of Israel (what is left of it) is under a curse of double measure failing to keep up their end of a conditional covenant made with God in the time of Moses. During this time the nation has had many great and holy things doubly blessed upon them, but because of the continual disobedience they now hold these holy things with most unholy hands which causes them disproportional disease and sickness. Had there been true shepherds along the way for the people of Israel the chance would have been better for them not having failed their word so greatly.
"They need not depart; give ye them to eat"
There is a bit more of a discussion with the disciples recorded in the other accounts. Phillip is tested by Jesus attempting to estimate the cost of feeding five thousand men plus their women and children. I have often wondered if there was even such a place that they could go to purchase this enormous amount of food locally even had they had the money. Having that tremendous dilemma in mind, you can imagine the ridiculous sight of five bread loaves and two small fish.
"Bring them hither to me"
This Holy Shepherd however is not encumbered by the curse of broken moral promises, blessing not only comes upon Him doubly but also infinitely being obedient and wholly given to the Father's will as He is. We have long said that what Jesus sees from the Father, that He does and that He is doing. Bring them hither to me! You will notice the divine use of human agency. What the men are able to bring to Him, that He is able to miraculously use.
"He commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude"
Other accounts further that He had them sit in precise numbers in rows and columns so as to give the disciples easier access, better perception of the scope of this miracle, order to the potential feeding chaos. Jesus then blessed and gave thanks to the Father, broke then again through the vehicle of human agency distributed the offering to the masses organized across the hillside.
What is man doing?
"When the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities"
Each one of these persons follows for their own reasons. More and more they sense the opposition building politically around Jesus, even the Herod in Jerusalem has taken notice now, yet they continue to come. I guess when you are desperately sick you take that change. Some we notice are beginning to take a more political stance themselves wanting Jesus to become their new king, but for all the wrong reasons.
"When it was evening, his disciples came to him"
Perhaps we can see a difference in compassions. God's form is to do something for them here and now, their form is to send the people off to fend for themselves; theirs is more a concern for the hour and His is more a concern for their current human condition. They do not know of His power and resource though they experience it daily, at least not enough to practically apply it.
"We have here but five loaves, and two fishes"
Remember now that the twelve themselves have just returned from a long mission. They had just experienced the power of miracles first hand: through their own hands. They had also relied solely upon the grace and sufficiency of God working it's power again through human agency. They have just experienced this same thing on a smaller scale, now to see it operate on the grander "Son of Man" scale.
"And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full"
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
I think that there is a lot that we need to reconsider about true compassion in relation to the immediacy of resource and proper course. The command of Jesus is to love God and love one another. The faith of Jesus is that God's grace is sufficient in all things. The proper consideration is not so much all that we do not presently have, better it is on all that do have (as little as that may seem to be) placed into God's blessing hands. God appears to be more than willing to include the participation of human agency on both ends of the supply chain to get things done just as long HE is in the supply chain from beginning/center/end as the very supply.
Next: devotion:Matthew:14:22-36 Jesus Walks on the Water