We’ve all read the story about Jesus feeding the 5,000 – most of us have probably read it more than once. But something I failed to think about until it was pointed out by one of my professors was this: Jesus also fed the 4,000.
Sure, I knew Jesus fed the 4,000 as well, but I never thought about it very deeply.
The feeding of the 5,000 is in all four gospels (Matt. 14:15-21; Mk. 6:35-44; Lk. 9:12-17; Jn. 6:4-13), and right after Jesus feeds the 5,000 the crowds seek to make Jesus their king – Jesus prevents them and then when they seek him again on the other side of the lake Jesus speaks to them about the true bread of life (basically confronting them with the fact that bread is not really what they need), causing many to leave.
But not much time passes before something quite amazing occurs…
“And Jesus called His disciples to Him, and said, ‘I feel compassion for the people, because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way…’ and He took the seven loaves and the fish; and giving thanks, He broke them and started giving them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people…And they all ate and were satisfied” (Matthew 15:32-37 also see Mk. 8:1-9).
Jesus feeds the people again, and almost (at least from what I can gather) in the same area as before – maybe even the same people. Why did Jesus feed them? Simply because he had compassion for them.
Often I will help someone who is poor monetarily, I might help them, maybe even more than once. But eventually I’ll come straight out and talk to them about how really none of the money I give them will really solve the problem that they have – nor does it solve the problem I have, rather they need and I need a Savior – and therefore I explain the gospel to them.
But after that I tend to loose my heart of compassion when I see them again, if in fact I had one to begin with. For I told them what they needed and they did not want it.
But I read of Jesus – he feeds, he speaks the truth, and he feeds again – out of compassion, his compassion never fails – he loves them even though they are hard to love.
May I learn from him, and not continue to justify my own selfish actions.
There is more to be drawn from this I’m sure, but that is as far as I will go today.