The Gospel of Matthew: a commentary & meditation 
 
"When they saw the dumb speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing"

Scripture: Matthew 15:29-37

29 And Jesus went on from there and passed along the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain, and sat down there. 30 And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the dumb, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, 31 so that the throng wondered, when they saw the dumb speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel. 32 Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days, and have  nothing to eat; and I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way." 33 And the disciples said to him, "Where are we to get bread enough in the desert to feed so great a crowd?" 34 And Jesus said to them, "How many loaves have you?" They said, "Seven, and a few small fish." 35 And commanding the crowd to sit down on the ground, 36 he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the  crowds. 37 And they all ate and were satisfied; and they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over.
Meditation: No one who met Jesus was left untouched.  They were either attracted by his love and miraculous power or they were repelled by his claim to divinity.  Jesus' miracles demonstrated the power of God and the magnitude of his mercy. Should we be surprised to see Jesus making what seemed to be impossible demands upon his disciples?  When the disciples were confronted by Jesus with the task of feeding four thousand people many miles away from any source of food, they exclaimed: Where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them? The Israelites were confronted with the same dilemma when they fled Egypt and found themselves in a barren wilderness. Like the miraculous provision of manna in the wilderness, Jesus, himself provides bread in abundance for the hungry crowd who came out into the desert to seek him. The gospel records that all were satisfied and they took up what was leftover.  Are you satisfied with God's provision for you?

In the multiplication of the loaves and fishes we see a sign and a symbol of what God always does.  God knows our needs and he cares. When God gives, he gives in abundance.  The gospel account records that the leftovers from the miraculous meal was more than seven times the amount they began with.  Seven is a symbol of completion and wholeness. When God gives, he gives until we are satisfied. When God works for his people he gives abundantly -- more than we could deserve and more than we need. He nourishes us with his life-giving word and with the bread of heaven. In the kingdom of heaven God will feast us at his banquet table. Do you hunger for God and his kingdom?

Lord, you alone can satisfy the longing and hunger in our hearts.  May I thirst for your kingdom and find joy in your presence. Give me the true bread of heaven and nourish me with your life-giving word."


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(c) 2002 Don Schwager