Monday 17 October 2022

Bible Book:

And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. (v. 20)

Matthew 14:13-21 Monday 17 October 2022

Psalm 81


The theme of this week's Bible readings is 'Doubting and Trusting'. There are few better examples to illustrate that than this story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 – and let’s not forget the number could be much higher, as there were many thousands of women and children not counted by the author but just as important to recognise.

The disciples are practical and realistic. They’d had a busy and probably long day, but as so often seemed to happen, things turned out in unexpected ways. They’d gone to a deserted place (v.13) but it didn’t stay quiet for long. The crowds were quick to follow. The obvious thing was to suggest people should walk back home while it was still light to their villages and towns for their evening meal. 

Imagine, therefore, how the disciples must have felt when Jesus suggested that instead they should feed this enormous crowd with the meagre resources they had with them. It was a recipe for chaos and disgruntlement among the crowds and most would have had serious doubts that this was a sensible thing to do. And yet Jesus invites them and us to trust him, to go beyond our comfort zone and lived experience and take a risk through a leap of faith.

This is much more than a story about feeding hungry people at a big picnic. It invites direct links back to Old Testament heroes such as Moses who fed the hungry and demoralised Israelites in the desert with manna and quails (Exodus 16:1-36); Elijah who was fed by a poor woman who suddenly had a never-emptying food jar (1 Kings 17:8-16); and Elisha feeding 100 people with 20 barley loaves (2 Kings 4:42-44). In each case, those on the receiving end are being invited to trust in God and God’s messenger. Luke’s audience are intended to see Jesus in the same light as these great and holy people of the past.

We are, though, also through this story invited to look forward to the events in the Upper Room in Jerusalem when Jesus shares his last meal with his disciples. The disciples will again be invited to put aside their doubts and trust in Jesus, and they will not be able to imagine what that would mean for them – or indeed for us today.

To Ponder:

  • How do we share this passage with those struggling to cope with rising heating costs and cost of living pressures?
  • Give thanks for all those who contribute to and volunteer for food banks and other charities working in your community.


Lord, today we pray for the United Nations World Food Programme and other agencies and individuals working to alleviate hunger and famine around the world.


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