The Miracles of Jesus
March 17, 2021
Jesus feeds 4000, plus women and children
Matthew 14:29-39; Isaiah 3:4-6
Over my 25 years in ministry, I attended many mass events. The biggest event I ever participated in was the National Youth Gatherings, put on by our church body, The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, every three years.
I attended my first gathering in 1995. Above, you can see a photo from the last conference I attended in 2016. The gathering usually had an attendance of anywhere from 25,000 and 32,000 high school students and adults.
On our last evening, before the gathering ended, we would end with an entire worship service, including the partaking in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. To this day, it still amazes me how organized communion was. Generally, all attendees would be communed within about 45 minutes. It was quite a sight to see, as well as being an uplifting experience. Imagine receiving communion with 30,000 people at the same event. We were communing with God, as well as communing with each other.
Today’s devotion seems to bring us back to a previous miracle of Jesus, but there are some subtle differences.
“Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there. And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel. 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.”
And the disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” And Jesus said to them,
“How many loaves do you have?”
They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” And directing the crowd to sit down on the ground, 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. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over. Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. And after sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan.”
As I said, this miracle seems familiar, doesn’t it? It reminds us of the feeding of the 5000. Let’s look at the differences:
- This time there were seven small loaves of bread and an undetermined amount of fish.
- Jesus does have the people sit down as He did before.
- Jesus said a prayer as He always does
- This time the disciples distributed the food, not Jesus
- Once again, plenty of food for everyone, with leftovers
- This time the disciples collected seven baskets of leftover food
- Finally, this time Jesus sent the crowd away immediately
The feeding of 4000 people is a big deal. But there’s more to this miracle because there were many more done.
“Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there. And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel.”
It’s easy to get caught up in the miracle of feeding 4000 men plus women and children and look past the three verses earlier.
The crowd brought the lame, the blind, crippled and mute, as well as many others. And what did Jesus do? He healed them ALL!
Now, remember this was Gentile territory; most of these people were not Jews. But they believed that Jesus could heal (faith), and He did just that. And, “They glorified the God of Israel.”
This crowd of people, including people healed, recognized that this healing came from the one True God.
When Matthew conveys this story to us and uses the words he does, it’s for a purpose. Matthew is telling us that Jesus is the Messiah and is fulfilling scripture:
“Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.”
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.”
Right here, in this series of miracles, Jesus was fulfilling the scripture. He was showing the people and the world that He is the one true Son of God. He was sent to do everything He did, with His ultimate accomplishment being dying on the cross for yours and my sins.
Dear Jesus. You are the one true savior of the world. Thank you for the many miracles you performed for so many people while you were on earth. We believe you still perform miracles every day as answers to our petitions. Thank you for your love and sacrifice. Amen.