Friday 08 March 2013

Bible Book:

"Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, 'I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.'" (v. 32)

Matthew 15:32-39 Friday 8 March 2013


We are still on the mountainside, where Jesus is healing all those who are broughtto him. The noise is tumultuous as people praise the God of Israel(verse 31). As the crowds continue to grow andas miracles continue, we discover that they have been there forthree days.

Then follows an account which is familiar and yet beware ofcomplacency. The number don't always match up to our expectations.This is not an account of the feeding of the 5,000, but 4,000 (pluswomen and children).There are not five loaves and two fish. This isthe account of seven loaves "and a few small fish" (v. 34). Andinstead of twelve baskets left over symbolising the twelve tribesof Israel, there are seven baskets collected - a symbol ofcompletion.

Once again, Matthew's Gospel is demonstrating that Gentiles (nonJews) have a place in the kingdom of God. They are welcome to feasttogether and invited to participate in the hospitality of theMessiah.

This is a passage which challenges the way in which we readScripture. Our tendency may be to translate this miracle to thefeeding of the 5000, and miss the subtlety of the numerical detail- and so miss the point that Jesus fed lots of people more thanonce!

This passage also challenges the way that we understand andpractice hospitality. How many times have you spent three days withneedy people? How many times have you offered to feed a large groupof people? What does welcome, hospitality and compassion mean toyou?

To Ponder

  • What does it mean for Jesus to have compassion?
  • What don't we read this miracle more often?
  • Who can you eat with this week?

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