Feeding of the Five Thousand
We start today with just thinking about the feeding of the 5,000 and our first slide shows us where the miracle is recorded in the Gospels. We can see that every Gospel writers tells us about Jesus performing a miraculous feeding.
The Feeding of the Five Thousand
- Matthew 14:13-21
- Mark 6:32-44
- Luke 9:12-17
- John 6:1-14.
There some variations in details in the accounts but that is what we would expect from a genuine recounting of an event, different people reporting different features of the incident. For example in John we read that the food used belonged to a boy
The Feeding of the Four Thousand
- Matthew 15:32-39
- Mark 8:1-10.
There are also separate accounts in Matthew and Mark of another feeding miracle. It seems reasonable to assume that there must have been more than one miracle if the same person recorded it twice. Remember though that numbers are not important, indeed in our story we can see that the 5,000 referred only to the men, so there might have been over 10,000 fed!
Let us have a quiz and from the answers we can learn about the story.
1. What did Jesus feel for the crowd - COMPASSION
Jesus had recently heard of the death of John the Baptist. He was upset and takes time in his grief to be alone. Yet when he sees the need around he offers his help freely. He thinks of others before himself. Perhaps there is a lesson for how we should expect to respond to adversity ourselves. We too are most blessed when we care for others.
2. The crowd were hungry, Jesus told the disciples to feed them. How would they have felt - SCARED
We perhaps feel the same when we look at what we think God would want to have us do. It may be that we wonder how we can cope with the relationships we have with our families or others, our job, or indeed the Christian witness to which we feel called. Perhaps we are frightened by the challenge of life which God has laid before us. We should do well to remember that this is a feeling which the disciples shared- many times!
3. The disciples found barley leaves and two of something else - FISHES
We usually say fish, not fishes- but fishes is how we slightly older folk think of them. We are told in the Gospel of John that a lad had these. The lesson is perhaps that we should recognise that anybody can be used in God's work and we should all be willing no matter what our age, to be used by Jesus.
4. How might a boy feel if the disciples took his lunch from him? - UPSET
I do not know many boys who would be pleased at loosing their lunch. If God asks us to give what we have away perhaps we would feel the same. The boy did not know that everybody would be fed, he was just 'asked' for his food and probably he was upset. How do you feel at God's call for you to give generously of what you have.
5. How many basket were left over? - TWELVE
We should remember that twelve was an important number. The gospel writer would have wanted to make the point that there were enough baskets to have one for each disciple, one for each tribe of Israel
6. What did Jesus do with the loaves and fishes? - he BLESSED them
When we offer our meagre resources to God and he blesses them we can know that God will change the value of them and increase their worth. It doesn't matter how small or insignificant we think our gift is, when Jesus blesses what we offer it becomes a powerful too in his hands.
7. What happens when we trust in the mercy of God? - there are leftOVERS
Essentially God always lives up to his promises. We can know that there will always be sufficient for us if we trust in God. God is generous with us. This may be a difficult message for us to grasp. Why does Jesus make more wine than they actually need, did he have to make so many jars. Why did the woman have to lavish perfume on Jesus, and would half a bottle not have been sufficient.
No, Jesus is generous and we are called not to be resentful but to do the same.
So there are perhaps three points which come out of the reading today
- God wants us to be involved in his work and we are never too young/or old to offer our gifts to Jesus
- Even very modest gifts can be used by Jesus for miracles, we must share.
- God cares for our needs generously