A Retelling of Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
Jesus has just found out that his good friend John has been murdered so he’s decided to go to a solitary place, by boat, to get away from the crowds. He needs to spend some time to himself and rightly so. Jesus had been busy serving others and he just needed some downtime to begin processing his grief.
The crowds catch wind of this though and they begin to follow him along the shore. There’s just something about Jesus that draws the people in no matter what is happening any given moment. When Jesus lands on shore, he sees that the crowds had amassed and even in the midst of his own grief, he has compassion on them and begins healing their sick. Jesus really did live to serve others. To love others. Even in the face of his own suffering. I think it can be said that compassion is something not born out of convenience, but inconvenience. Compassion is sacrificial in nature.
The place that Jesus has chosen to be alone in but that the crowds had followed him to was remote, and remote in the sense it wasn’t a 5 minute drive to go get groceries. Jesus really had chosen to get way but the crowds had followed him and now it was beginning to get late. The disciples knew there wouldn’t be enough food to take care of the people so they come to Jesus and told him, “Jesus it’s getting late and we don’t have any food to feed the people, send them away.”
But instead, Jesus says no, and sends the disciples to scrounge up whatever they can find. A few loaves of bread and a couple of fish. There’s no doubt the disciples came back to Jesus feeling defeated but then something miraculous happens. Jesus blesses the food, thanks the Father for the provision and then sends the disciples out to feed this crowd in the thousands. And miraculously, No one walked away hungry that night.
There are two things we can learn from this story. Something about the crowds that had followed, and something about Jesus himself. The crowds, those who had followed Jesus even to this remote place, no doubt they were following Jesus because even in moments of death, Jesus was still pursuing life, he was still compassionate towards others. There something about this that just speaks to the human soul.
And Jesus? If you want to know what true love looks like? Look no further than Jesus. He’s the perfect image of selfless love. The disciple known as beloved John was surely there that day and I can’t help but think to myself. This must be just one of the many stories that caused John to write later in scripture that…
God is love.
Reflections on Matthew 14:13-33
**How does this story help us love God more? **Jesus truly puts us first, and even in ways we’d might consider unhealthy, Jesus put the people first ahead of his own grieving.
**How does this story help us love others more? **To follow Jesus, is to follow one who lives a life of selfless service towards others. There was nothing Jesus could truly gain personally by being compassionate towards others. He was compassionate because he is love. Clothing ourselves in Christ means we make selfless service a part of our walk with God.