Wednesday 30 October 2019

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 ad 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 Wednesday 30 October 2019

Psalm: Psalm 89:19-37


Both Matthew and Mark include two accounts of Jesus feeding the multitudes: first he feeds five thousand and later four thousand. In many ways the two accounts are similar, but clearly the authors of Matthew and Mark thought it important that both were included. Some have chosen to focus on the differences between the two texts to find the significance of including both. The location of the miracles has suggested the 5000 were Jews and the 4000 Gentiles. Some have argued that the number of loaves is significant: five for the books of the Torah and seven for the days of creation.

However, Jesus does not articulate any special symbolism to either event. Rather they both seem decidedly practical: people need food so Jesus feeds them. Perhaps the inclusion of both miracles simply points to the extent to which Jesus cared for the human needs of his followers. It was not unusual for Jesus to feel compassion.

In the UK today, rising numbers of people are hungry. Foodbank usage continues to increase with the Trussell Trust reporting a 19% annual increase in 2018-19 and a 73% increase over the last five years. This disproportionately includes people who have a disability or health condition, lone parents, and families with three or more children.

In many cases it is the church who fills this gap by operating a local foodbank or running a summer holiday club for children who rely on their free school meals. Like Jesus, we can demonstrate our compassion for people who are hungry in practical ways that demonstrate God’s care for all people.


To Ponder:

  • What do you think is the significance of including both feeding miracles?
  • Take a look at the Joint Public Issues Team’s resources on poverty and inequality and reflect on the role of the church.
  • How can we respond to food poverty?
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