In one week, all four members of our family became sick. As hard as I tried to keep all the balls in the air, several dropped. It’s humbling to realize how fragile and fallible we really are. It is hard to admit we have needs that we can’t meet ourselves. Self-sufficiency is a stubborn and sneaky (dare I say?) sin, a particularly problematic form of pride.
Today’s passage is the only miracle recorded in all four Gospels. The story occurs at a ministry low point for Jesus. He had been rejected by His hometown (Matt. 13:53–58) and His cousin had been killed (14:1–12). The opposition against Him was escalating.
Jesus withdrew by boat to a solitary place. The implication is that He needed some time to mourn, to attune His heart with His Father’s, and to gather the spiritual strength for His next phase of ministry.
The only hiccup was that Jesus was still very popular. Crowds followed Him on shore and were waiting when He landed at a remote spot along the coast. Only Matthew explains that the estimate of 5,000 did not include the women and children who were also there, so the actual crowd may have been 10,000 or more (v. 21).
Despite His own desire for solitude, Jesus moved among them with compassion and healed the sick. When evening was near, the disciples approached Jesus. The people were hungry, so the disciples recommended that He send them away into the nearby villages to purchase food (v. 15).
Jesus, however, said the people should stay. He intended to feed them Himself. Taking their limited resources, He miraculously multiplied them into an abundance. Everyone ate and was satisfied, and they collected twelve baskets filled with leftovers.
>> Our Savior knows our needs. He knows you are human, hungry, and helpless. Even so, He looks at you with love. Are you feeling empty today? Look to Jesus. He alone can satisfy your deepest needs.
In loss, in physical pain, in exhaustion, You know what we feel because You have felt it Yourself. Comfort us, fulfill us, teach us the meaning of living for You. You do not protect us from pain, but You do help us through it.