In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?” And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.
Comment: This incident seems to have happened in the region of Tyre and Sidon on the Sea Coast. The healing of the deaf man with poor speech, as we read in Matthew’s gospel was not an isolated event and many people were drawn to what was a three day teaching and healing event. As in the other feeding story there was no readily available place in this desert for the people to get food. So Jesus took the initiative and in compassion for the mass of people asked His disciples to sort things out. On this occasion there were four thousand people. This time the mass seems to have been about 4,000 men plus others (as described in Matthew’s gospel), whereas in the prior instance there were 5,000 men plus others. Some people have argued that this event is the same as the previous one but the writer some how got mixed up a bit. This makes the Bible anything but reliable, which I believe it is. Here Jesus is in a gentile area, the previous time was in a Jewish area. Jesus has just healed a gentile child. Is this a way of symbolically showing that Jesus meets the need of both Jews and gentiles? A statement which is the truth. Or is it just a sign of His great compassion for our physical as well as our spiritual needs? Raising questions and not giving the answer excludes rote learning, but makes diligent searching for the answer necessary. This has a lot to be said for it. And as we look at isolated events in the context of the whole we do get answers!
Prayer: As I search, please open my eyes to the true answers of the questions of life.