Matthew 14:13-21 (NIV)
When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
All four Gospels record “the miracle of feeding the 5000,” so we can assume it is very significant. I tried to ponder its essential meaning, in regard to myself and to “Christian Communities.” Additional to the understanding that such a miracle can be only from God I came to the following thoughts and conclusions.
After he had heard about John the Baptist’s death, Jesus wanted to withdraw “to a solitary place,” but the people followed him. When Jesus saw the crowd “he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” Here as in other Scripture it is shown that we, the people, and our well-being are God’s loving concern, and Jesus acts accordingly.
On that day, as evening approached, the disciples suggested to Jesus he send the crowd away to find food. Jesus said: “You give them something to eat,” knowing full well they could not do this unless through him. The disciples had seen Jesus do miracles before, but at this point they were at a loss. “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
Christ took the bread and fish, he looked up, gave thanks, broke the bread and gave it and the fish to his disciples that they should give it to the people. And “they all ate and were satisfied.” And there were “12 baskets full of pieces left over.”
Since Jesus had the disciples distribute the food they became his agents; and the disciples had to put their trust in Jesus to receive from him what they could give to the people.
We too can and should put our trust in God (Christ), for whatever we have to offer (time, money, talents, etc.) – even if it seems very little and insignificant to us – God can use it to the best. But we have to offer it in a sacrificial and obedient spirit, in willingness to subdue to God’s will and to serve, not our wishes, but His purpose. Then God may not only fill our needs but shower lavishly His gifts on us.
Dear God, in your all-enveloping love and care for us, fill us with the compassion, wisdom, and strength we need to be of meaningful service to you in our personal and communal lives. Let not our self-righteousness overwhelm the righteousness that comes from you through your grace and mercy. Dear Jesus, always brighten our paths with your light, so it will be easier for us to follow you wherever you want to lead us. In your precious name I pray. Amen.