Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 64
Matthew:15:29-39 Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:15:21-28 The Faith of the Canaanite Woman
(see also: kjv@Mark:8:1-9)
What is God doing?
"I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way"
Three days of healing is a lot of healing. One might calculate by the number fed at the end that there would have been a few thousand persons healed; that accounting for those many that brought the needy out to the mountain. The number might in fact be larger assuming that not everyone would have stayed to the third day and not everyone would have shown up the first. We would have to account for the sleeping accommodations which were likely not the best and for lavatory facilities. No matter how many that the final total was we can see that such an event was a massive undertaking involving the constant work of the disciples and their recruits, not to mention the real heavy lifting performed by Jesus. (Remember that we once had considered that Jesus may be taking these ailments into Himself)
I think it amazing that there were this many people needing, this many helping, this many staying and this many left hungry including women and children. What they saw and did for three days must have been just as wondrous as the miracle of the feeding. I would imagine with the size and spread of the crowd that a flow had to be organized and maintained and that there had to be singing and prayer and scripture readings dispersed amongst them to keep them in right spirits. Being on the slope of the hill there would be occasional opportunity to see the master and the joyous response of the current individuals one by one receiving.
"How many loaves have ye"?
I guess the better question is how many loves would it take? I cannot begin to comprehend the number. I am thinking along the lines of a modern French bread loaf four to five people per loaf with a modest portion? That is a nearly a thousand loves for just the men. As with the previous feeding of five thousand the initial source is derived from what the disciples had present with them.
"He took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude"
He took from everything that they had available and made more out of it; much more. Note that He again offered up what they already had. The pattern is obvious.
"They took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full"
From what they already had God multiplied it to where there was more than enough.
What is man doing?
"Great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet"
From previous discussions you know of my theory that the shocking numbers of people in this day and age in Israel needing healing are a result of the double curse brought by sworn oath to Moses that the nation would keep the law and worship no other but Yahweh. They once did and were doubly blessed, they now don't and are doubly cursed, they have not for quite some time and thus have sick and lame and possessed coming out of the woodworks.
"The multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel"
I would imagine that no matter how many times that you saw it, such healings would be a glorious wonder; especially seeing the reaction of those released. Seeing however does not complete the experience. Jesus would later say that had they not seen Me do what no other man ever did that they would have not sin, but having now seen they have no excuse having seen and hated both Me and my FATHER. It is also said that this people worships ME with just their lips, but their heart is far from ME. It may not be all of these people, nor to the fullest extent, but we all do take what is true and corrupt it in various ways and directions as we do with all things.
"Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude"?
By now the disciples should already know the routine: He takes what you have and offers it up to be much more. Elsewhere they seem to have the ability to host large crowds down. I am sure that it is a lot of work, but the work is largely what they are able to do by their own determination and resources. Perhaps you get so locked into that way of doing things that you forget: "Oh ya, we've been taught this lesson before".
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
"They that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children"
The lesson I suppose is that ministry and outreach are a whole lot of work and a whole lot of hours. Yes it is the Lord's work and He is the attraction, but there is always that which we are called to do alongside that in the aid of facilitating all that. There is definitely those tasks involved that we can work and maintain by our own resource and ability, but with all that said, there is always a point where our own effort and possession is no where near enough and for that we must simply offer what we have thankfully to God to be miraculously made to be enough and even exceeding. There is always to be that stamp of approval needing to be placed upon the outreach.
I think that we all know this, we simply all to often forget it needing to be so.
Next: devotion:Matthew:16:1-4 The Demand for a Sign