The Feeding of the Five Thousand

Today’s reading is Matthew 14:13-21Open Link in New Window

Here is today’s reflection by Ian.

Right at the beginning of this reading, we have again, a word often used to describe Jesus’ reaction to those around him. He had ‘compassion’ on them… compassion—love that is moved to action, to a response…

And it can’t have been easy for Jesus—in grief having heard about John’s death, and wanting to be alone. Yet despite this, Jesus ministers to the crowd around him.

So often, through his Holy Spirit, God ministers to those around us in unexpected ways and at unexpected times… in grief… when it’s not ‘convenient’—‘in and out of season.’

Even when we are overwhelmed, God can enable us to reach out to others.

I know there are times in my life when in spite of the difficulties of others, it is they who have ministered and given to me—and for you too.

So let’s look at three particular aspects of this passage.

Firstly, Jesus challenged his disciples.

Look at the disciple’s reaction. They wanted to send the people away. Jesus wanted to help them. In a way, the disciple’s reaction was a logical and reasonable response. But it wasn’t a compassionate response.

Sometimes, we can justify our response/lack of response, with logic and reason… But are we responding with compassion to those around us as we do?

I remember in my last parish, the very strong views by a materially very comfortable person, on the many reasons why it was always a waste of time to give to any emergency appeal—the money never got there—the help was misused, there is always corruption…

He denied himself the experience and act of being compassionate—and yes often faithful too with circumstances so unknown and far away.

Jesus ‘gave’ to the disciples, in order that they might give to others. Just as Jesus ‘stretched’ the loaves and fish, he challenges us to ‘stretch’ our faith.
Are you stretching your faith—and how can you stretch it this coming week?

Secondly, Jesus had confidence in God.

Just look at what the disciples actually said. ‘We have nothing here but… we have only…’

NB the half empty/half full… A relative of mine—things are always ‘a nightmare’… great holidays are first relayed to us via the dreadful journey home, life is lived with the worry of all the disasters that could happen—rather than lived in the grace of the LIFE that Jesus brings.

Jesus accepted what God had given him. He accepted what was available. And just look at the sequence of events here. Jesus actually asked the people to sit down (as if for a banquet), before the food was actually multiplied. He then ‘looked up to heaven’ rather than to the small amount in his hand, and trusted God for his grace and provision. That’s living life with the cup of faith more than full.

Through Jesus, God can meet our very deepest needs.

What are your deepest needs today?

Go on trusting him each and every day. And if you are wondering how this is so, let’s look at Jesus next action, because…

Thirdly, Jesus committed everything to God
(breaking the bread)

Jesus broke the bread (NB when did Jesus do this in particular? At the Last Supper) In this act which foreshadowed the Last Supper, we have a reminder of how Jesus own body, broken for us, is the way in which Jesus does meet our deepest need—our need for reconciliation with God, our need to be completely loved and cared for, our need to know meaning and purpose in our lives… fulfilled in knowing Jesus.

So today, look upwards to heaven. Take what God gives, and believe in his love for you… There is only one person who can meet our real and deep needs. Jesus Christ.

There will be a video version of the service.

Share this on Facebook