Jesus returned to the Sea of Galilee and climbed a hill and sat down. A vast crowd brought to him people who were lame, blind, crippled, those who couldn’t speak, and many others. They laid them before Jesus, and he healed them all. The crowd was amazed! Those who hadn’t been able to speak were talking, the crippled were made well, the lame were walking, and the blind could see again! And they praised the God of Israel.
Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.”
The disciples replied, “Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?”
Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?”
They replied, “Seven loaves, and a few small fish.”
So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces. He gave them to the disciples, who distributed the food to the crowd.
They all ate as much as they wanted. Afterward, the disciples picked up seven large baskets of leftover food. There were 4,000 men who were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children. Then Jesus sent the people home, and he got into a boat and crossed over to the region of Magadan. (Matthew 15:29-39)
Don’t get bored! The story of feeding the four thousand sounds very much like the story of feeding the five thousand—so much so that we might be tempted to think it’s the same story. What purpose do two very similar stories serve?
After healing the first blind man, people were amazed. After the hundredth, it probably didn’t feel so remarkable any more. How many demon expulsions happened before the disciples started yawning?
God fed the huge crowd of Israelites in the wilderness every day for forty years. What Jesus did with four thousand was much the same. The Jewish people of Jesus’ day expected the Messiah to feed the masses, so that’s what he did. It took willful hardheadedness for the religious establishment to conclude, in the face of all Jesus did, that he was not, in fact, the Messiah.
It is easy for us to grow so familiar with Jesus that we lose sight of how marvelous he is. Every day, lives are saved, homes restored, sins forgiven, relationships mended. One person’s miracle is much like another. The blessings of God surround us. Don’t get bored!