10 On their return the apostles told him what they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a city called Beth-sa'ida. 11 When the crowds learned it, they followed him; and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God, and cured those who had need of healing. 12 Now the day began to wear away; and the twelve came and said to him, "Send the crowd away, to go into the villages and country round about, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a lonely place." 13 But he said to them, "You give them something to eat." They said, "We have no more than five loaves and two fish -- unless we are to go and buy food for all these people." 14 For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, "Make them sit down in companies, about fifty each." 15 And they did so, and made them all sit down. 16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 And all ate and were satisfied. And they took up what was left over, twelve baskets of broken pieces.
Meditation: How do you treat those who make unexpected demands on you? When Jesus and the disciples sought a lonely place to regroup and rest, they found instead a crowd of more than five thousand people waiting for them! Did they resent this intrusion on their hard-earned need for privacy and refreshment? Jesus certainly didn't but welcomed them with open-arms. Jesus put human need ahead of everything else. His compasion showed the depths of God's love and concern for all who are truly needy. Jesus gave the people the word of God and he healed them physically as well as spiritually. We can never intrude upon God nor exhaust his generosity and kindness. He is ever ready to give to those who earnestly seek him out. Do you thirst for his saving word and for his healing power?
Why did Jesus command his disciples to do what seemed impossible-- to feed such a large and hungry crowd when there were no adequate provisions in sight? Jesus, no doubt wanted to test their faith and to teach them to rely upon God for their provision. The signs which Jesus did, including the miraculous feeding of the five thousand signified that God the Father had indeed sent his only begotten Son as the anointed Prophet and King for his people. Jesus' feeding of the five thousand is the only miracle recorded in all four gospels. What is the significance of this miracle? The miraculous feeding of such a great multitude pointed to God's provision of manna in the wilderness for the people of Israel under Moses' leadership. This food foreshadowed the true heavenly bread which Jesus would offer his followers. Jesus makes a claim only God can make: He is the true bread of heaven that can satisfy the deepest hunger we experience. The feeding of the five thousand shows the remarkable generosity of God and his great kindness towards us. When God gives, he gives abundantly. He gives more than we need for ourselves that we may have something to share with others, especially those who lack what they need. God takes the little we have and multiplies it for the good of others. Do you trust in God's provision for you and do you share freely with others, especially those who lack?
"Lord, you satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts and you feed us
with the finest of wheat (Ps 81:16). Fill me with
gratitude and give me a generous heart that I may freely share with others
what you have given to me."